People opt to downsize for a variety of reasons, but often for financial reasons or to make sure their property suits their needs as they age.
However, it's not quite as simple as just deciding to move to a smaller place. If you're moving for financial reasons, a compact apartment could cost as much as your large family home, depending on the location. Meanwhile, if you're moving to prepare for retirement, a small apartment may require new furniture that fits the shape and size, and doesn't pose mobility hazards.
Here are 5 things to really think about before making the decision to downsize.
The key here is to do some research in the early stages, before you make any decisions. Look at the types of places you think you might want to move to, and find out how much they're going for right now.
Do some calculations to make sure you understand what associated expenses are likely to total – such as stamp duty, solicitor fees and removal costs, so you understand how much the move will save or cost you.
If you're hoping a move might help you lower your utilities and day-to-day costs, find out what you can about the energy efficiency of the property, local transport links and costs, and expenses such as ground rent or strata fees.
When you've been in the same house for a long time, and maybe even watched your family grow up there, it can be very difficult to leave. Start to think about how you can manage this before you make any firm plans. Perhaps you can get rid of some things you no longer need through garage sales so you don't have to deal with as much when it comes time to move.
It's hard to see things that have been in your life for many years get given away, so try to think of it as an opportunity for a new adventure or fresh start.
Some people find the idea of losing extra rooms quite daunting, but try thinking about how much space you use for little more than storage? Having three spare bedrooms for occasional guests that generally function as storage rooms doesn't necessarily count as space you need. You can always host guests in smaller spaces, with sofa beds so that you still get the space to use when they're not with you.
Similarly, as much as you might love your huge garden, if you really only use the deck, or are struggling to keep up with the maintenance, you probably don't really need all that space. Downsizing might allow you to have a small but cosy outdoor area that you find easier and cheaper to manage, while still being able to host guests on occasion too.
Why you're moving is important, and you should keep it in mind throughout your decision-making process. Make a list of what's essential to you, such as that you need to cut your daily costs in order to live comfortably in retirement, or you're currently too far from the amenities you see yourself needing in retirement.
You may want to be closer to family or closer to shops so that you know you can eventually live without a car and won't have to walk too far if it becomes difficult in the future. Maybe you just no longer want to clean and maintain a large property.
Especially if you want this move to be the last time you have to pack up, you need to find the property that gives you what your existing one doesn't.
If you're ready to start your Gold Coast property search, talk to the friendly team at Ray White Surfers Paradise now.