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When is it time to downsize?

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019

If you’re an empty nester or recent retiree, downsizing might be weighing on your mind.

For most, it’s not a decision that’s made lightly. After all, your family home is more than just bricks and mortar – it’s an embodiment of everything you are and a symbol of all you’ve achieved.

But moving home doesn’t mean leaving behind the happy memories.

According to the Productivity Commission, about 20% of over 60s have downsized, and another 15% are planning to. With all the benefits involved, it’s no wonder that it’s on the cards for so many.

But how do you know when you’re ready to downsize? Here are 5 signs that it’s time to make the move.

You’re overwhelmed by maintenance

If you’re at the stage where chores are starting to intimidate you, it might be time to rethink your living arrangements.

According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), 26% of people choose to downsize because of an inability to maintain the house and garden.

Without the kids to handball the mowing to, it’s all up to you. Nobody likes to feel exhausted, and apart from draining your energy, maintenance costs can drain your bank account, too.

After downsizing, you might find you’re less tired, especially since you’re putting much less strain on your knees and back. And with fewer chores to do, you’ll have more energy for fun stuff like travel or golf. What’s not to love about that?

READ >> Home safety tips for seniors

You’ve got unused space

We all need room to move, but there is such a thing as too much space.

With no kids around, a 5x2 home may no longer fit your circumstances. If you’ve got guests rooms that do nothing but collect dust, downsizing might be worth your while.

At the end of the day, that empty space is still costing you money. Big family homes are worth more than smaller dwellings, and by downsizing, you’ll free up space for a young family to carve their lives and make memories.

Relocating is a big job, and after many years in the same home, you’ve probably got a lot of clutter to sort through. It’s a smart move to downsize before circumstances force you and your loved ones into the daunting task of packing and moving.

Your bills are unnecessarily high

Generally, the bigger the house, the more expensive it is on all fronts.

Greater mortgage payments, higher maintenance costs, bigger utility bills – all these expenses don’t have to be as high as they are.

While most downsizers aren’t necessarily motivated by financial gain, the benefits are nothing to sneeze at.

Selling your family home and moving to a smaller space means less electricity to power all those rooms, less fertiliser to keep your lawn green and less numbers to push on your calculator.

By freeing up money that’s tied into your house, you’ll have more to use toward enjoying your retirement! And isn’t that what you’ve worked all your life for?

Your home isn’t future proof

As you get older, it’s important to live in a home that’s designed for your circumstances.

Think about your priorities in the next 10 to 20 years. If your mobility isn’t what it used to be, there’s a chance you’ll need wider doorways and ramps, bathrooms with grab bars, and non-slip surfaces (that doesn’t include stairs!)

A fully accessible home is in your best interests, and as mentioned, it’s smart to make the move before you have to.

Many older Australians prioritise ageing in place, with added support from home care services. But that still needs to happen in a space to suit, so you can continue doing day-to-day tasks like showering and moving about the house.

Since many retirement villages are designed specifically with seniors in mind, and with much of the maintenance looked after by management, they’re a popular option for downsizers. Plus, retirement villages are perfect for meeting new people and enjoying on-site activities like lawn bowls or water aerobics.

READ >> 5 things to consider when choosing a retirement village

You crave the simple life

According to AHURI, the biggest reason for downsizing is lifestyle preference.

Decluttering can be a huge weight off your shoulders, and sometimes, there’s nothing better for the soul than starting afresh. A change of scenery often comes with a change of perspective, and your golden years are the perfect time to flip the script and prioritise your interests.

Many retirees are keen globetrotters, and with more time spent abroad, it makes sense to have less responsibility on home soil. With an apartment or retirement home, you can just close the door and go without worrying about who is going to water the lawn.

At Brightwater, we’re all about improving the wellbeing of older West Australians. That includes a northern suburbs retirement village in Madeley and up-and-coming contemporary coastal apartments in Beaumaris Beach – each complete with all the fun facilities and like-minded neighbours you could possibly want.

If you’ve already downsized, or if you’re completely comfortable where you are, we also provide home care services to support your health, home and happiness.

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