Forget downsizing - it's time to rightsize your home
July 28, 2014 / Written by Rich Harvey
The word "downsize" often has a negative connotation attached to it, as if growing older means you're under pressure to trade in your castle for a condo.
But going from big to small is the wrong way to look at it. After all, moving into a smaller property may not always be the right decision. No, instead of downsizing, older Australians would be wise to focus on rightsizing - that is, purchasing property that is suited to their specific wants and needs.
Small, big or anything in between, a home tailored to your circumstances is what you should be after. Like in the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, it's all about weighing your options and choosing one that feels just right.
Is rightsizing right for me?
Unfortunately, Australian property owners are not going to receive a piece of mail one day that tells them now is the time to rightsize. Instead, you'll need take stock of your current living situation and ask yourself some questions.
The first question you need to be honest with yourself about concerns whether or not you truly use all the rooms in your house.
Have your children's rooms remained empty for quite some time? Do you and your spouse really need multiple bathrooms? How often do you actually eat in the dining room? When was the last time your guest room was used?
There's nothing wrong with having room to stretch, but a couple living in a large family home also leaves the door open to a lot of wasted opportunity. Because at the end of the day, rightsizing isn't just about finding a property that better suits your needs, it can also be a smart financial decision.
Saving money with smart lifestyle choices
Even if you've fully paid off your mortgage, a large home comes with built-in expenses that don't get any cheaper as you age. From regular maintenance to the cost of heating a larger home, property owners know that significant assets can come with costs of their own.
Selling that asset can not only give you the money you require for a home that better suits your needs, it can also provide you with a sizeable contribution to your retirement fund. Along with a reduction in maintenance and utility costs, rightsizing could be a big boon to your pocketbook.
Future-proofing your decision
If you decide rightsizing makes sense for you, the last thing you want is to trade in one home for another that might not suit you down the line.
With this in mind, it's important to future-proof your decision with a little forward planning.
First and foremost, think about the size of your household. If you're single or part of a couple, chances are a townhome or large apartment could fit your lifestyle even better than a detached house.
Also think about how often you receive guests, and what the chances are that a friend or relative may take up residence in your home in the future.
Next think about what household amenities are important to you. From open plan kitchens and storage space to laundry facilities and home gyms, rightsizing doesn't mean doing without.
It's also essential to consider your location. How close will you be to cafes and shops? Is proximity to public transport a must?
While things like local schools may have been a major factor in the past, now is the time to think about what amenities make the most sense for your current lifestyle.
Get a helping hand
Finding a new property that fits just right can be easier said than done, especially if it's been a while since you've found yourself on the hunt for a home.
Fortunately, a qualified buyers agent will work tirelessly on your behalf to find real estate options that fit your criteria.
From prestige apartments to suburban homes, it's a good idea to allow experienced buyers advocates to give you a leg up on your rightsizing journey.