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The pros and cons of downsizing your home

Retirement Living Lifestyle
24 November 2020
older people by the pool

Got too much room? Would you like a smaller garden or not so many bathrooms? As we get older what we need from the place we call home changes and sometimes that means not needing such a big place.

Here we share some of the pros and cons of downsizing your home:

Benefits of downsizing

More money in your pocket

Selling the family home and downsizing to a smaller place may help to free up some of your money. It means you may have some extra cash to pay off your mortgage, to invest or spend on that holiday you’ve been planning.

Less maintenance

If you are still living in the family home where the kids grew up, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage, you may have more room than you need. A smaller place may be easier to maintain and less bedrooms and bathrooms means less time spent cleaning. Downsizing can give you the chance to declutter and think about the things you really want in your new home.

Cheaper to run

Heating and cooling a home can be expensive, so having a home with a smaller footprint means you could save money when the electricity and gas bills come around each quarter.

Improve your connections

Moving to a new place means you can choose to move closer to family, transport, services or the location that suits your needs. If your family has moved away from the area, maybe you find yourself no longer near the services you need, or perhaps you’d like a sea change – a move might be just what you need.

Disadvantages of downsizing

Smaller space

If you are downsizing it means there will be less space, so you might have to make some tough choices when it comes to your things – so the seven-seater lounge might need to be traded in for a two-seater sofa.

Having to let go

We often have an emotional connection when it comes to our homes and possessions, particularly if you’ve lived there for a long time, so it can be hard to let go.

Making your new space work

You might need to rethink how you go about doing the things you enjoy. If you like to entertain, then dinner parties may need to be smaller and you might not be able to have so many people stay. But if you’ve bought a new sofa, then there’s always the sofa bed.

New around here

If you are moving to a new area, it can take time to adjust to a new neighbourhood and establish new friendships. But making new friends and connections is part of the experience.

Other things to think about

  • Good design is important too: If you are looking for a new home, villas designed to meet your changing needs as you get older means that it can be your home for the rest of your life. We encourage you to look out for bathrooms and kitchens that are fitted out with stylish and safe fixtures and fittings such as hand rails that can be easily adapted to meet any potential future accessibility issues. Appliances installed at easy-to-reach height levels and minimal trip hazards are also important for this stage in your life. Some purpose-built retirement villages also feature safety and security technology such as built-in emergency response systems if you were to have a fall. Also, if you choose a retirement village to downsize to, common areas are looked after by the operator and they’ll even help with day-to-day maintenance in your own home, like changing light bulbs.

  • Costs: It’s important to make sure your new home suits your lifestyle, budget and level of independence. Costs to consider include: buying and selling in the same market; real estate agent fees; stamp duty; legal fees and furniture removal.
  • Before you do anything: MoneySmart says you should always seek independent advice before downsizing as it may impact your pension or government benefits. Also, consult a legal professional to review sale contracts and oversee property settlement too.

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