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  • Writer's pictureSimon Wendt

How to downsize your property without downsizing your life

If you are at that wonderful stage of life when you are beginning to think about retirement from full-time work and downsizing your property, you may be wondering how on earth people do it. A lifetime of memories, all your worldly possessions and the place you may have raised your family which has been called home for many years is something we all grow attached to, but you know that the time is nearing for a change of scenery.

We all grow accustomed to the way things are in our lives and because our homes are so emotionally tied in to our everyday lives, we can sometimes find it difficult to make the decision to downsize.

The good news is that the most difficult part of it is the decision-making itself. In our modern lives we are far removed from our nomadic ancestors who would up and go when our survival depended on it. These days however for many of us, it is an option and a decision to be ultimately made whether to stay in our current homes forever or to downsize into another residence.

Although the thought of downsizing may be daunting, there are several factors to consider to determine if it is right for you.

Firstly there is the practical element of ongoing upkeep of our homes. This includes domestic cleaning, building maintenance such as repainting, repairing services such as plumbing, electrical wiring, renovating dated fixtures and rooms and also garden maintenance like lawn mowing, weeding, sweeping, fertilising, edging and watering. For many people, a simplification of their lives is needed at some stage and there is a wish for less responsibility and a desire for more leisure time.

Secondly there is a financial aspect to the idea of downsizing. Whilst we have spent many years paying off our mortgage, we've also been lucky enough to have seen capital growth of our property's value. The problem for many home owners is that they are no longer needing all the space indoors and outdoors and there is a significant value attached to that space that is not being used anymore that could provide other benefits. Larger properties also attract higher council rates, excessive utility costs and overall higher expenses.

Downsizing your property is a great way of unlocking the unused value in your home and putting those funds to better use so you can make the most of your life. For many people it is a way to obtain a better way of life, for example; instead of having a big lawn and garden which is becoming a pain to look after, you can sell to the family buyer who is desperately wanting a big block for their kids. You can move in to a swanky new townhouse or apartment with a low maintenance courtyard and the designer kitchen and sparkling ensuite you have always wanted.

The new lower maintenance property you purchase will free up your time to do the things in life you never had the time for. Imagine all you could achieve with your free time if the responsibilities to your property were removed. In many cases these responsibilities are taken over by the owners corporation in the case of an apartment building or the manager in a retirement village.

For others the reason to downsize may be socially motivated. For instance some who find themselves living alone, realise that they enjoy the social aspect to retirement village living and find other people who share similarities to their own situation whom they can relate to. New friendships and relationships can bring a new and sometimes unexpected joy into the lives of people who had previously lived alone after children have moved out or partners or spouses have passed away.

Others yet simply crave a change of scenery after living in the same home year after year and just enjoy the idea of keeping life interesting or wish to get the type of property they have always wanted.

We all need the right sort of property to suit us for the particular time we are at in our lives. Downsizing your property certainly does not mean downsizing your life and for most people who undertake the move, it is a decisively positive experience that significantly enriches their lives.

For all real estate related information or advice, contact the author Simon Wendt, Licensed Estate Agent at Hockingstuart Mentone on 0407 040 706.

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