When is the right time to downsize and what do I really need to consider?

Eventually, those of us who are getting on in years will all need to downsize in some capacity.

Whether it’s the camaraderie of a ‘lifestyle’ village you’re after or just a small townhouse on the coast, at some stage in life the demands of a large family home seem to get the better of most of us.

Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Genevieve Carrier, says there are certain signs the time may have come to downsize and differing levels of expectation of those who choose to do so.

“With good advice the transition can be fairly simple,” she says.

“It’s all about mapping out what your future needs are.”

The key to successful downsizing, says Ms Carrier, is advance planning and an honest assessment of your needs and goals.

“Some of the signs that you’re ready to downsize maybe that your adult children have already flown the coup and you are faced with a home with unused rooms and continual maintenance and cleaning that may become an overwhelming burden.

“The desire to travel and move on can also be key factors in most people’s decision to downsize their responsibilities.”

When downsizing your principal place of residence, the thought of what to do and how to do it in today’s property market can often be daunting.

She says it’s important to thoroughly understand your reasons for selling and take into account some important considerations.

“Realistically considering what your home is worth in today’s market and looking at what the real costs of downsizing might be are a good place to start.”

Ms Carrier says one of the biggest hurdles downsizers need to overcome is letting go of once treasured and prized belongings.

“This process can be a difficult and particularly emotional task for those who are faced with downsizing the things they may have lived with for decades,” she says.

Her advice is to start culling early – well before the ink is dry on your new compact home, villa or townhouse.

“Take stock of what’s really important to you and what you really could live without.

“Ask yourself when was the last time you actually used it and what purpose does it serve,” she adds.

As far as downsizing options go, Ms Carrier says it’s important to consider options such as access to transport, leisure facilities and the public amenities close by.

She says it’s wise to choose an area that allows you to spend more time in community spaces with friends and family and to make sure that there are restaurants and cafes nearby that will add rather than detract from your lifestyle.

Above all, Ms Carrier says, the key is to do your homework first.

“It is a big decision that needs to consider a number of factors however with the right plan in place and the right team helping you through the process you can make the transition smoothly and successfully.”