For most of our lives, we dream of having a bigger house – but once the kids fly the nest, our large family home often becomes too much to manage.
If you’re spending more time and money maintaining and caring for your home than you’d like, and have more space than you actually need, downsizing to a smaller property is definitely worth considering.
Downsizing is more than just moving house – it’s a huge lifestyle change. And because it often coincides with retirement, it can be a big adjustment. So how do you know if it’s the best option for you? Here’s five signs that the time is right to take the plunge and downsize.
A big consideration for most retirees is financial security – and selling the family home to purchase a smaller property is a great way to reduce debt and free up cash. Having some financial freedom in retirement allows you to travel or pursue new hobbies or interests, so you can make the most of the extra free time that retirement brings.
When you downsize, you’ll also cut your spending on electricity, as a smaller home requires less lighting, heating and cooling – and cheaper bills mean more money in your pocket.
Having a big property means lots of maintenance, both inside and out. For most retirees, as they get older it becomes harder and harder to keep up with all the cleaning and physical work needed to keep a large home in good order. Paying a gardener or cleaner to come and help out is an option, but it will add a fair chunk to your monthly expenses.
When you downsize, you can choose a low-maintenance property, that’s easy to look after. It could be a smaller house, unit or apartment, or even a brand-new home in a retirement community. Whatever you decide, make sure the upkeep is manageable for you. Consider your energy levels, physical health and how much time you want to spend on daily, weekly and monthly household chores.
If you have unused rooms in your house, not only is there more to clean, you’ll also waste money on heating, cooling and lighting the area. Of course, you can close rooms off, but you’ll end up with a stuffy and dusty space that will probably just end up accumulating clutter.
Spare rooms can be handy for extra storage, and those times when visitors stay, but if your empty rooms are not really necessary, you’re better off without them.
Having a smaller home can make a big difference to your day-to-day life as the years go on. As we get older, often our health and fitness levels can start to go downhill. By downsizing, and choosing a design that’s suited to retirement living, you can reduce the risk of injury, and make it easy to get around. Look for single-storey homes, preferably on a flat block, so you don’t need to worry about getting up and down stairs. Also, look for the smaller details, for example, easy access to cupboards and low maintenance gardens.
Lock and Leave
Retirement is a great time to travel – whether it’s a weekend getaway or a long-awaited journey to a far-away destination. When you have a smaller home and yard, it’s easier to organise care for it while you’re away. If you’re planning on being away a lot in retirement, you may even consider purchasing a home in a gated community, like Village Lifestyle Park, Traralgon, as it means you can “lock and leave”. The managers and residents will keep an eye on your house while you’re away, giving you the peace of mind that someone is looking out for your home while you’re not there.
So… Are You Ready to Take the Plunge?
Downsizing is a big decision – and one that will have a huge impact on your retirement and lifestyle. If you’re serious about it, start by crunching some numbers. How much can you sell your current home for? And how much do you need to spend to buy the retirement home of your dreams? You’ll also need to decide where you want to live. Staying close to family and friends is often the biggest factor, but make sure you buy somewhere suits you in other ways too, and has all the facilities and services that you need close by.
Over to You
Have you recently downsized and have some more tips to share? We’d love you to share!