What do you think of when you hear the word ‘downsizing’? For many, it evokes images of smaller homes with less rooms, or perhaps the ideal ‘lock and leave’. For some it is a smaller, more manageable block yet keeping a large home. You may be trading in the farm life for an easy care residential life. For others it is a smaller mortgage – or no mortgage at all. And then there are those for whom ‘downsizing’ equals participants on England’s Escape to the Country enthusiastically chatting about their need for a smaller home now that their children have flown the nest. But when asked for their wish-list for their smaller home, they invariably still need a minimum of five bedrooms, at least three bathrooms and multiple ‘reception rooms’ as the English call our lounge/living spaces. Seems like downsizing can mean different things to different people!
Whatever the image, or the reason, downsizing offers a long list of benefits. First and foremost, is probably the financial gain which can be achieved should you sell at the right time; the potential windfall possibly allowing you to pay out your mortgage, purchase a new residence and still have funds in the bank.
Downsizing is not just about home or property size either, it’s also about lifestyle like moving from an urban to regional lifestyle. I meet many urbanites looking to ‘downsize their lifestyle’ by moving away from the high cost of city living with skyrocketing education, dining and entertainment and general living expenses to our glorious region where housing affordability buys you more bang for your buck and general living costs are far lower.
Reducing expenses is a byproduct with obvious benefits. A smaller residence will mean a smaller (or no mortgage), lower general maintenance costs, smaller utilities bills given you have less space to heat and cool and while that may not be the driving factor in your decision, the planet will love you for it; lower Council rates and lower insurance premiums. That all translates to more money in your bank account.
And then there’s the garden. If you’re losing the love for garden maintenance on a palatial scale, then downsizing to a smaller block, or even a unit will give you a more manageable space and more free time for other hobbies or interests. Win-win!
Of course, there is downsizing for reasons other than choice and while these can be tough and difficult to navigate, if downsizing is forced upon you, try and put the circumstances in context, take the positives and allow yourself to create a new life. There’s no doubt that the financial savings, increased free time and more relaxed lifestyle that a smaller house provides are very tangible benefits. Look at downsizing as the first chapter in a new lifestyle. Embrace it. Love it. Live it.