The family home.
It’s possibly seen a lifetime of dreams, renovation projects, milestones and memories. Watching the family grow through decades of holidays, school books, sports gear, pets, BBQs, graduations – the lot. At some point, those walls may have felt cramped and on the small side.
But now that the kids have flown the coop, suddenly you’re left with an empty house that feels too big.
Spare bedrooms that are hardly used, stairs that are becoming increasingly impractical to climb, and the headache of expensive repairs and overdue upgrades that you really didn’t count on at this stage of life.
To spend the money, or downsize to something easier?
At the right time, downsizing can be a great idea and a real opportunity. For many homeowners, it’s the natural step to free up money into retirement, lower your debts and bills, or avoid tedious home maintenance and stress altogether.
But while there’s obvious benefits to downsizing, it’s not the right option for everyone; there can be pitfalls, which are worth knowing ahead of any decision.
Perhaps the greatest misconception is that it’s the only option (it isn’t!). If you’re at the stage of considering or planning this new chapter, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of downsizing below – and what to do instead, if it’s not the right move for you!
Considerable financial benefits
Downsizing typically involves moving to a property that’s smaller in size or easier to maintain. If you’ve had your current property for a while, it’s likely to have increased in value – so the sale could mean paying off a remaining mortgage, investing, funding a retirement plan or making holiday plans.
While it’s expected that the next home will reduce your costs, this depends entirely on where you move to (and how big the property is). It’s also easy to underestimate the cost of a ‘downsize’ home; moving to a better suburb or closer to public transport, for instance, could present a premium that eats into the profits gained from your sale. So be sure to decide on your criteria ahead of selling, to have a clearer picture of the funds that you could potentially put away from the move.
Simplifying your lifestyle
Another reason for downsizing is to move somewhere that supports your lifestyle needs right now, which your current property may not be due to its scale or location. Selling to buy can provide the opportunity to consider a different area, whether for a lifestyle change, better options for transport and amenities, or to move closer to friends and family.
Of course, it also means the chance to choose something that you’ll enjoy with time – that could be a smaller (or larger!) garden, a single level layout or even closer proximity to local parks.
Less space for belongings
In most cases, downsizing means time to declutter. There’s likely to be less room in the next place, so it’s a good opportunity to remove anything that’s taking up valuable storage space. Of course, this may mean letting go of a lifetime of sentimental items from years gone by – certainly a con of moving to a smaller property.
Space restrictions for guests
In a smaller home, it may no longer be realistic to host that big family dinner, have the space for all the grandkids to roam, or offer a room for guests to stay.
While this could be a dealbreaker for some downsizers, it might just require a little ‘creative thinking’ to come up with a solution. For instance, buying a home near a park could serve as a perfect place to gather and for the grandkids to run around, as an alternative to buying a property with a backyard.
Emotional aspect of downsizing
Let’s be real, it can be hard to part with a home that has served you in the long run – hopefully filled with good family memories, and that you’ve made your own over time. But as much as you may want to keep it for this reason, it may no longer be practical to do so.
Making the transition to a new home can bring up all kinds of emotions – but don’t forget that it’s also a chance to create new memories, hobbies and life experiences.
Alternatives to downsizing
- Renting – a good option for those wanting to downsize, but unsure of where to move or not wanting to commit to one area
- Trading in an address for a caravan – certainly not one for everyone! An option for those seeking an adventure, travel or a temporary solution before making the next move
- Staying put – the best option until you’re sure of your next move! Some who have considered downsizing also choose to renovate and add equity to their existing home, which could also be an option if moving seems too daunting or difficult.
Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 | email@example.com