Every step to take before downsizing your home

By Rachel Lane 
Noel Whittaker

You’ve likely poured heart and soul (and a fair bit of your savings) into perfecting your current home. The decision to downsize, then, isn’t just a practical one—it’s personal, often stirring a mix of sentiments. But let’s shift our perspective: downsizing is not just about moving to a smaller space; it’s about upsizing your quality of life.

Let’s start with the ‘why.’ What’s driving your decision to downsize? Are you longing for a fresh start by the sea or nestled in the tranquillity of the forest? Or perhaps you’re looking to simplify your life with a home that’s easier to manage, right in the heart of a community you love. Understanding these motivations is crucial—they’re the compass for your journey ahead.

Financial considerations often play a significant role. The prospect of clearing debts, unlocking the equity in your property, or just reducing those day-to-day costs can mean more freedom and flexibility. Imagine what you could do with more time and resources at your disposal.

When planning your move, it’s vital to look at the full financial picture. It’s not just about the sale and purchase prices; there are moving expenses to consider. Overlooking these can lead to unexpected financial shortfalls.

Your new location isn’t just a point on a map; it’s the backdrop for your future life. Who and what do you want nearby? Whether it’s family, community activities, or natural scenery, your preferences will guide your choice.

As you explore potential homes, consider your current lifestyle and the future. Do you need an extra room for a snoring partner or space for visiting family? Envision your daily life in these new surroundings, and think ahead—modern homes are designed to accommodate you as your needs evolve, ensuring comfort in the years to come.

Active community engagement can enrich your life significantly. If you’re considering a retirement community, take a look at their activity schedule. It’s about finding a balance between relaxation and engaging with a community that shares your interests.

Navigating contracts is also part of the transition. Whether it’s a freehold, strata, or a granny flat agreement, each comes with its own set of responsibilities and costs. And with granny flat arrangements—often family affairs—there’s an added layer of complexity and personal investment.

Then, there’s the financial nitty-gritty. Beyond the purchase price, remember to factor in the ongoing costs, such as stamp duty and body corporate fees, and perhaps even an exit fee. By breaking down these costs into categories—ingoing, ongoing, and outgoing—you’ll gain a clearer understanding of the financial commitment involved.

In essence, the logistics of downsizing—where you go, why you’re moving, and how much it will cost—are as important as the contractual details. Ultimately, it’s about how you spend your time and who you’re with that defines the success of your downsizing venture.

This article offers a glimpse of what you’ll find in the second edition of Downsizing Made Simple by Rachel Lane and Noel Whittaker. Curious to learn more? 

Buy a book, or explore the website further for calculatorsexercises and lots of helpful resources designed to assist you in your downsizing process.

*Note: This article provides general information and is not intended as specific financial advice. Please consult a professional who understands your unique situation before making any financial decisions.

The original article was published on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Rachel Lane and fellow finance expert Noel Whittaker are the authors of Downsizing Made Simple, the 2nd edition is out now. The Downsizing Made Simple website is here to guide your downsizing journey with great information, tools and easy-to-use resources.



The ultimate downsizing guide

Let Noel Whittaker and Rachel Lane guide you through the legal and financial maze, explain how a move can affect your lifestyle, superannuation, pension and benefits, and share some real life stories from readers.

Whether you’re moving to a townhouse or apartment in a strata title development, considering a granny flat or tiny house with family, looking at collaborative housing with like-minded people, or making the move to a retirement community, listen to the experts, and make it your best move.

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