7 Steps to Downsizing for Seniors
It’s time to hit the refresh button!
As you get older, the decision to downsize can be one fraught with emotions, both good and bad.
On one hand, your family home feels empty now the kids have all moved out. The idea of parting ways with the house that raised your family feels wrong because it’s filled with beautiful memories.
On the other hand, starting over feels exciting to you. House cleaning and maintenance have become difficult, and the bills more expensive than they should be. After all, a home is not a place, it’s a feeling, as they say.
It’s time for a clean slate, a simpler life, a fresh start. Downsizing means cleansing and decluttering to make room for the new. It means cheaper bills and lower maintenance to live within your means. It means focusing your time and energy on you!
The downsizing process is a hectic yet exciting one, with lots to consider along the way. So, we have created a seven-step guide to help you through your journey.
1 – Location, Location, Location
Where will you live next?
Your fresh start might mean choosing a new neighbourhood, state, or country to discover. If the kids all relocated internationally, maybe you’ll want to be close to them. If you have a favourite vacation spot, maybe it’s time for a permanent vacation. Or, maybe it’s as simple as moving to a peaceful suburb near the ocean in the same city you know and love.
Whichever you choose, make sure you evaluate all your options and pick the location that will make you happiest.
2 – Tiny Home, Penthouse or Retirement Village?
You’ve picked your dream location, so now it’s time to choose which type of home you want to live in. The world is your oyster! Depending on your personality type, your interests, and your circumstances, you may prefer something different from the next person. But no matter what you’re after, you’ll find what is perfect for you.
One more thing to ponder, if you have health issues now, consider your health and mobility over time. A hilltop residence with a stunning beach view might not be practical if you need a cane or have a bad back. Consider a home with that same stunning view, but at sea-level instead. There’s usually a way to live your dream within your means!
3 – What About the Money, Honey?
Here comes the hard stuff.
Before officially hitting the refresh button on life, it’s important to review your plans from a financial perspective to ensure you can turn your dreams into reality.
If you’re retired or close to retirement, the proceeds from selling your home will help with your ongoing living expenses, in addition to your pension or superannuation. If you are mortgage-free and in a position to purchase elsewhere, consider renting out your current property as an additional income stream.
It’s worth seeking the help of an impartial financial advisor when considering your current and future income. They will help identify any tax implications or other financial considerations you should be aware of before making any finite decisions. For example, retirement villages and assisted living facilities often have guidelines for owning other properties.
4 – Get More Than You Gave
What is your property worth now? What will you get for selling your property? All it takes is a little bit of research.
Start by looking at recently sold properties on websites like realestate.com.au or domain.com.au located in your suburb with similar features to yours. How much did they sell for?
You can also purchase a professional valuation report from valuation companies like RP Data. If you sell with us at buyMyplace, you’ll have access to Market Comparison Reports powered by RP Data.
You also have the option of having a real estate agent or professional valuer to give you an indication. Remember, you’re not locked into selling your property with them by doing this.
Simply remember to set a reasonable sale price for your property and the market will respond accordingly.
5 – How Will You Sell?
Will you list your property with an agent? Or will you take control of your biggest asset and sell it yourself?
We understand there are certain circumstances where selling property through a real estate agent is the wisest option. However, it’s worth asking them about their commission rates since real estate agents average 3.25% of your property’s sale price in commissions, including 1% for marketing fees. On a $600,000 home, that’s approximately $20,000 taken out of your pocket and put into theirs.
Private real estate companies like us at buyMyplace provide all the tools you need to successfully list your property on the market. You’ll also have access to the same advertising opportunities as real estate agents, so you can sell your property like a pro. Plus, these marketing campaigns come at a fixed cost, so you’ll pay $0 commission, regardless of your home’s value.
6 – De-clutter
No doubt, the task of clearing out years’ worth of memories and belongings can be a daunting one. But if you’re downsizing, the reality is it can’t all go with you. Cleansing and decluttering are also crucial steps in making your home look its best for sale or for rent.
If you have bulky sentimental items, capture their memories in a photograph and consider passing them on to a family member who will treasure them as much as you did. Offer as many items as possible to family members and loved ones.
You can also lighten your load and make some side money by selling unwanted items online or at garage sales. Alternatively, donate those items to charity in good conscience. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, after all.
7 – Let the House Hunting Begin
Now you have all your ducks in a row – a neat, de-cluttered home and an idea of what you want for your next chapter in life. Get excited because it’s time to begin the search for your new place!
Unfortunately, the research never ends. Make sure you’re familiar with market conditions for where you want to purchase. If you’re moving to a whole new area or changing lifestyles, be sure to look at recent sales in your chosen area.
You might even purchase a suburb profile from RP Data. Suburb profiles indicate current, average property prices. They also provide demographic information, such as the age and interests of people in the area, which will ensure you are moving to an area of like-minded people.
The next chapter of your life is what you make of it! With a positive attitude, a sound plan, and friends and family to back you, it’s sure to be an exciting ride.