Downsizing tips for seniors

Does your home seem too large for you now that the kids have left, or are you struggling to keep on top of maintaining a big home? Whatever your reason, you may be thinking about downsizing your home and moving somewhere better suited to your new lifestyle.

Decide on your retirement goals

Before selling up your house and moving on, you may like to think of what you wish to achieve with your retirement. This can include making some goals for your retirement and figuring out how you'd like to live.

Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Would you like a lifestyle where you’re within walking distance to shops and other amenities or are you happy to be a little further out in a more tranquil setting?
  • Do you want to be close to the beach, close to cafes, close to public transport?
  • What do you want to spend your days doing?

Answering a range of self-imposed questions could assist you in working out the type of place you wish to downsize to and could lead to some significant potential benefits as outlined below by Dr Diaswati, Chief Economist at PRD.

  • Updated building, layout, finishes and appliances
  • Smaller floor area to cover in terms of cleaning and maintenance.
  • Access to more amenities (BBQ area, pool, gym, children playground).
  • Potentially closer to an area of your choice for lifestyle.
  • Ability to receive assistance from the body corporate team.

Work out where you want to move to 

As many Australians get older, they may decide to move to a smaller home for less maintenance or to suit lifestyle changes. Adam Coward, Chief Revenue Officer for online removalist comparison and booking website Muval, confirms that older Australians are also looking to ‘downsize’ from larger capital cities to smaller cities.

According to Adam, the most popular interstate move enquiries for those aged 55+ since the start of 2021 have been:

  1. Melbourne to Brisbane
  2. Sydney to Brisbane
  3. Melbourne to Perth
  4. Melbourne to Tasmania
  5. Sydney to Melbourne
  6. Sydney to Perth
  7. Melbourne to Adelaide

“The major insight here is the general propensity for people over 55 looking to move from the two largest capital cities to smaller cities,” Adam says. “So there is certainly a ‘city downsizing’ that is happening where perhaps better value for money housing is available in both the capital and surrounding satellite cities.”

Once you’ve decided that your home no longer suits your needs, you'll need to work out what you are looking for instead. This means considering in which location you want to live and the style of home or apartment.  

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To rent or to buy

There are many debates regarding whether renting is better than owning in retirement or whether buying your own place trumps paying rent. The decision will largely depend on your personal circumstances and the goals you set for your retirement. You may like to buy a downsized home, or you may decide to rent a property to try out that style of living before committing to it. If you have travel plans, you might be looking for a home that you can rent out while you’re away, or you may wish to rent so that you can simply move on when your lease is up and find somewhere new when your travels end.

Declutter your space 

Trying to fit all the belongings from a 4-bedroom house into a 2-bedroom apartment can be a tricky task without incorporating outside storage, and you may be looking to declutter your home for the big move. Those looking to downsize may choose to hold a garage sale, donate their unneeded items to a charity shop, or give them to friends and family.

Choose how you want to move

You've decided on your retirement style and location, found a new home, and decluttered your space; now it's time to move. There are several different options to consider when moving, and figuring out which one best suits your needs can help make the process smoother. Some options include packing all of the items yourself, bringing in professionals to help you pack, or enlisting help from family and friends. When it comes to the moving part, you might like to bring in movers to simplify the process or hire a van and bring in a little help from loved ones to help move the heavier items.

Don't forget to make sure your new home and its contents are insured. Australia Post can provide Home and Contents Insurance options to help protect your home and items against the unexpected.  

The content of this article is provided for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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