If you’re one of the many older Australians who are choosing to downsize in retirement, you might be wondering where to start!
Whether you’re downsizing to reduce financial pressure, minimise home maintenance, or to relocate to a more desirable location, it requires a huge amount of planning and organising to make it happen.
Having a clear step-by-step plan to follow can make the move as stress-free as possible. In this article, we’ll share 5 simple steps to downsizing in retirement.
1. Find the Best Location
Start by deciding where you’d like to live. This can be a tough question to answer as there are so many possibilities! To help you narrow it down, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need to be near family and friends?
- Which facilities, services and activities do I need easy access to?
- Does the lifestyle in the city, country, or coast appeal to me most?
Consider how you’d like to spend your days in the coming years – do you plan to get out and about or relax and enjoy a slower pace of life? Many locations will offer the best of both worlds, so spend plenty of time researching and visiting the places on your shortlist to get a feel for it.
2. Choose the Right Type of Housing
Next, consider the type of housing – would an apartment, unit, or freestanding home suit you best? Apartments are usually the lowest maintenance option, but they also offer the least amount of space and privacy. Units are often larger and include a small courtyard, while freestanding homes generally include a fenced yard and more distance between you and your neighbours.
3. Independent Living or Retirement Community?
Over-55s villages offer retirees a lifestyle where they are surrounded by people of a similar age and have easy access to recreation facilities and activities. Residents can have a busy social life or enjoy the peace and quiet of a small community, while also experiencing the added sense of safety and security that a gated community offers.
Village living is not for everyone though, as some enjoy the diversity of life in the general community. If you’re on the fence about which is best for you, talk to friends and relatives about their experiences. You could also arrange a tour of suitable retirement communities to see the homes, visit the facilities and speak to the residents to get an understanding of what it’s really like.
4. Assess Your Finances
Whatever you decide about your preferred location and accommodation type, you’ll need to carefully assess your finances before making any decisions. Seek expert advice to help weigh up your options and understand the impact on your pension and other entitlements. Find out what your home is worth and do plenty of research to learn how much homes are selling for in your location of choice.
If you’re considering moving to a retirement community, it can be a good way to reduce your financial burden, especially if you move to a country location where homes are generally more affordable. But always be sure to seek expert advice regarding the contract, as the fees and charges vary greatly from village to village.
5. Declutter and Prepare Your Home for Sale
The next step is to declutter your home and get it looking its best before you put it on the market and move. Sorting through a lifetime worth of belongings can be a huge task, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time and organise some extra help if you need it. Work through your home room by room, deciding what you’ll keep, sell, donate, or throw away.
When it comes to sprucing up your home, a thorough clean of the house and garden is a must. A new coat of paint really brightens things up too. Talking to a real estate agent can also be a good way to find out if there is anything you can do to make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
Final Word on Downsizing in Retirement
Downsizing can be a great move, freeing up time and money to do more of the things you enjoy. But it’s a huge adjustment, so to be sure it goes as smoothly as possible, plan and research every step thoroughly.
When you find the right location and accommodation type and choose a home that’s a good fit for your lifestyle and budget, you’ll gain the maximum benefit from downsizing. And you’ll give yourself the best chance of enjoying a retirement living somewhere you love with the freedom to do all the things you’ve been waiting to do!
Over to You
Do you have a question or tip for anyone considering downsizing in retirement? We’d love to hear from you! Simply post a comment below or visit our Facebook page.
Want to know more about deferred management fees and other traps related to lifestyle villages? Download our FREE guide, 20 Questions You Must Ask BEFORE Choosing a Village.