What to consider when choosing to downsize

As one gets older, materialistic items and having a large living space seems to take less priority. Hear more about Jim and Margaret’s story.

Jim and Margaret have decided to downsize since the youngest of their three children has moved to Melbourne for work, leaving them with an empty four-bedroom house on Brisbane’s northside.

Downsizing isn’t urgent because they have enough income to manage their expenses while they’re both still working. However, they’re looking forward to retiring in the next few years.

They’d like to move to the Sunshine Coast to take advantage of the relaxed lifestyle and easy access to beaches.

Before they put their house on the market, they do plenty of research and track the market trends so they can list their home at the right time to get the best possible price. At the same time, prices on the Sunshine Coast are rising, so they don’t want to wait too long before making the move. This helps Jim and Margaret decide on their ideal selling price and timeframe.

Fortunately, Jim and Margaret sell their house at a good price sooner than they anticipated. They haven’t found the perfect apartment on the Sunshine Coast yet, so they decide to rent in Maroochydore while they continue apartment hunting.

Three key considerations

Jim and Margaret are pretty openminded about the type of apartment they’d be happy to live in. However, they’re aware that there are three key aspects that are non-negotiable. Making these decisions before buying a property means Jim and Margaret are less likely to move in and then discover their new home isn’t quite right for them.

Jim and Margaret have had many discussions about how much space they’ll actually need now that the kids are living independently. They want to completely de-clutter, getting rid of all but their most treasured possessions. They also want to be able to invite their children and their families to stay with them on the Sunshine Coast, so they know they’ll prefer three bedrooms but storage space isn’t a big concern.

Jim and Margaret love cycling and bushwalking, and, in summertime, they love an early morning beach swim. They check out different parts of the Sunshine Coast and find a few locations that are close to cycling and walking paths as well as being close enough to drive to the beach. One of these locations is also near a cinema, which seals the deal for Jim and Margaret, who are avid film lovers. Deciding in advance what kind of location you want to live in can help narrow down your property search. If you love coffee shops and cultural activities like the theatre, then
you’re more likely to want to find an apartment in a city. If you want a quiet lifestyle with easy access to the beach, you’re better off looking for something along the Queensland coastline.

Selling the family home and downsizing is one of the most significant financial decisions Jim and Margaret have ever made. They do the sums and create a realistic budget so they can understand how much money they need to live on, how much discretionary spending they want to do, and how much they can afford to spend on an apartment. This lets them know that the brand-new development in Noosa isn’t quite right for them because, while the purchase price is just within their grasp, they can’t afford the body corporate fees.

We hope that their experience and lessons learnt can help you. Downsizing is a great approach to declutter your life and start anew, but remember to take these three factors into consideration when planning your downsizing adventure.

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