The thought of swapping the maintenance of a larger home for a hassle-free future full of travel, friends and new-found freedom is a common theme for those considering downsizing.
After all, it makes little sense to stay in a place that has outgrown your needs and is more of a burden than anything else. Yes you brought the kids up here with many great memories, however now that the home has served it’s purpose, it might be time to move on.
If the kids have all grown up and finally moved out, there are many compelling reasons favouring the move to a smaller home. A recent Empty Nesters Survey found the initial benefits of kids leaving home included having a quieter (42.6%) and cleaner (41.4%) home and more than two-thirds of seniors reported an improved financial position.
However for others who opted to stay in the family home, some used the situation to their advantage. Almost a third of seniors turned the children’s rooms into a space to indulge hobbies, and about one in six are leasing to tourists, or students. But on the downside, the larger spaces can also contribute to energy costs literally going through the roof.
The average Australian home owner buys three to four properties in their lifetime. Traditionally, they trade up from their first home to a more substantial residence, and then downsize upon retirement.
Incentives are now in place to maintain this market cycle, with recently introduced downsizing provisions enabling people over the age of 65 to sell their home and put an extra $300,000 in super. But it’s a good idea to first factor in selling and buying costs (including moving) and talk to your financial advisor about how it could affect age pension entitlements (if applicable) by boosting your assets outside the home.
More than anything, downsizing requires a shift in mindset and the need to separate your wants from your needs. Decluttering is an essential and often the most stressful component of the transition.
Review your belongings on a room-by-room basis and decide what to keep, discard, donate or sell. Try to avoid duplication of items (especially in regard to kitchen items) and gradually reduce your pantry contents as well as your linen cupboard. Before removing items, email friends and family with a timeframe in which they can take advantage of your generosity.
For any leftovers, rather than adding unwanted items to land fill, try some neighbourhood recycling. A box labelled ‘Free stuff!’ – can help to offload excess books, toys, games or smaller items. What you no longer need might be of great value to others.
Larger and more valuable items can be sold online. First do some research to see what they might be worth by looking for similar items on sites such as Gumtree, eBay or Facebook marketplace. Garage sales can also be a good idea for easy-to-sell furniture, tools and bikes etc.
Given the reduced space at your new address, measure your furniture to ensure it will fit ok and try to use one statement piece in each room. It’s also vital to make the most of storage wherever you can find it – and there’s no shortage of potential solutions such as under beds, in cupboards, wardrobes and the most unexpected places. Also mount your TV on the wall, make the most of Wi-Fi technology, and utilise multi-purpose furnishings where you can.
Once you’ve moved in, stamp your mark on your new home, discover the benefits of the surrounds, and get to know your new neighbours but equally don’t forget the old ones.
Rest assured, embrace downsizing as an adventure and it will be the first step towards doing all the things you enjoy most in the next phase of your life.
If you’d like help with downsizing, decluttering and selling your home, we can help at no cost to you.
Click here to read our Downsizer Case Studies or below to book in a quick chat with us.