Why downsizing might make sense for you

couple unpacking after moving

David Toscano

Posted November 29, 2021


With the property market booming, is now the right time to make the move to a smaller home?

As the kids move out of home, personal circumstances change or retirement beckons, downsizing becomes a genuine consideration for many homeowners. In fact, according to downsizing specialists Homesuite, more than 50 per cent of Australians are aged 55-plus are actively considering downsizing.

And there’s little doubt that economic, social and cultural factors post the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria are making the idea of downsizing even more attractive.

In the last year alone, Melbourne’s median house prices has risen 16.2 per cent to more than $1 million, with sellers in control thanks to low interest rates and demand from buyers looking for bigger homes.

In addition, the federal government is also making downsizing more attractive with eligible homeowners able to contribute up to $600,000 per couple to superannuation from the sale of a home.

Despite clear financial benefits, before embarking on the journey to downsize it’s worth carefully considering the benefits and challenges of the move, says David Ginnane CEO at Homesuite.

“Downsizing is something that most of us think about some point in our lives, and even more so now given buoyant property prices, government incentives and the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We’re seeing many Victorians opting to downsize to make a tree or sea change, take advantage of working from home flexibility and improve their lifestyles,” he adds.

To make an informed decision about downsizing, here are some factors you need to consider.


Benefits of downsizing to a smaller home

Improve finances

For many, the choice to downsize eliminates the need for a mortgage and is an opportunity to free up some equity to grow savings, invest in superannuation, enjoy more travel experiences, or even help children enter the property market.

Fewer possessions to worry about

Living in the same home for decades means you’ve probably amassed quite a few possessions. As a consequence, downsizing can be the incentive homeowners need to reduce possessions and simplify life.

In fact, decluttering excess belongings can also benefit your mental health by making you feel calmer, happier and more in control.

And while decluttering may be emotional and exhausting for some, professional service providers such as Homesuite can make this process much easier by managing the whole process on your behalf.

Reduce living costs

A smaller home is easier to maintain, requiring less time, energy and resources to keep neat, tidy and in good working order, freeing up more time for other things.

In addition, moving to a newer and more modern home can reap efficiency benefits including solar power, energy efficient lighting and water-saving fixtures, that can all help to reduce the cost of living and your environmental impact.

Improve social networks

Whether you’re looking to make a tree change, sea change, or stay in the same suburb, downsizing gives you the opportunity to reassess where you want to live and who you want to live near, such as family and friends.

Couple packing boxes to move house

Take time to go through your belongings and declutter properly. Image: Getty


Things to consider before downsizing to a smaller home

Finding the right home

The key to downsizing is to know exactly what you want before you start looking for it.

Things like location may depend on family and community considerations, and desirable home or apartment features may depend on your lifestyle and health. Another consideration is whether your new home and location will cater to your lifestyle and health needs as you move into the next stage of your life.

Moving costs

Moving isn’t cheap and there are several costs and fees to consider before doing so.

Along with the usual legal fees and stamp duty, there are also costs to consider like cosmetic fix ups, conveyancing or more extensive home renovations to maximise your sale price.

Emotions and memories

If decades of your life have been spent in the same home, take the time to consider your attachment to your home and whether you’re emotionally ready to sell.

“Making the decision to downsize isn’t just about rational factors. It’s a proactive choice that can improve your finances, relationships, health and happiness,” says Ginnane.

“Downsizing is an exciting journey, but one that may require the help of a professional to coordinate the many steps and maximise your satisfaction from the change,” he concludes.

 


Thinking of downsizing? Homesuite makes it easier.
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RACV has partnered with Homesuite to help guide members through the property buying and selling journeys.