Downsizing on your own terms

Some of my clients make the very bold decision, whilst still very fit and enjoying life to the full, to sell their family home and move to a smaller, more manageable property.

These styles of homes are generally courtyard style homes, unit’s or villas with 2-3 bedrooms, ensuite and separate bathroom, they may be part of a small group, or within a gated community. They have a small garden and are allot easier to manage looking forward to retirement, or to lock up when travelling.

Downsizing and moving, provides them with the ability to make these independent choices whilst they are still relatively healthy and active, and with the security of knowing that when one of them dies, then the other will be very comfortable, safe and be able to manage the home on their own.

Too many times I see clients struggle with larger properties later in life, and then they became frail, ill, or one passes away, and the remaining partner can’t cope with the home or the emotional trauma and stress of selling and moving.

The process of downsizing can be an emotional one and when it is forced upon you, this emotion is often amplified and can almost become debilitating and far more stressful than it should be.

The observations that I have made from assisting clients and their families dealing with this process is that my clients that made the decision to downsize early made the right call.

Here are some tips that will help you start your downsizing journey and do it on your terms.

Begin the downsizing process early – allow yourself years, not weeks.

  1. Begin the downsizing process early – allow yourself years, not weeks. – Simplify your life and declutter stuff, that you no longer use or need. Start giving things away to those that may need them or be bold and order a mini-skip – you will find the entire exercise quite liberating.
  2. Research the areas/suburbs that you would like to move to – start looking at properties in these areas to gauge an idea of value; attend open inspections and auctions; check out the shopping, public transport, and social / entertainment options.
  3. Get family / friends involved – If you are close to your family, involve them in the process by asking them for their views on locations and types of property that you are considering.
  4. Know real estate values in your local area – monitor the local market; attend open inspections and auctions; start speaking to agents to see who you might like to deal with.
  5. Plan to get your own home in order – Invite a real estate agent in to give you some guidance on what you may consider doing (and not do) to prepare your home for a sale in the next few years.
  6. Know your numbers – Speak to a trusted financial adviser to understand the best financial solution for you when you do choose to sell then buy.

It is important to make mention that “downsizing” does not necessarily mean moving into a smaller home. In fact, it is very reasonable to consider maintaining the same sized home, or close to it, but having reduced grounds, requiring less maintenance and upkeep to worry about.

You want to enjoy your home, especially in your twilight years, free from the demands, and financial burden of spending many hours each week of maintenance and costly repairs.

What you may want, is to downsize your home to gain time to enjoy those things that you choose to do rather than must do. Additionally, a move to the right downsizer property could also relieve your ongoing expenses and may even free up some capital to take a holiday, upgrade your car or improve your overall retirement position.

Getting the right advice is crucially important, so before you put any plans in place ensure you speak with a trusted financial adviser, Christine specializes in these types of strategies and can provide you with the right advice to ensure you make informed financial decisions.

Many of my clients have downsized to reasonable sized homes, with much smaller land and a manageable garden that you can still potter around in and get great joy from.

Please note that this information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation, and needs.  It is strongly recommended that you do not act on any information contained before seeking personalised advice from a licensed financial adviser.

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