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By Liam Worth

Downsizing often marks the start of a new chapter in life.

The kids have finally moved out, and you’re feeling lost in the 5-bedder with the huge backyard that your family has called home for the past 18 years. Looking after the place is becoming a chore, and maintenance costs are through the roof.

Downsizing to an apartment can make real sense if you’re an empty nester or retiree, from both a financial and lifestyle perspective. It’s an opportunity to put your lifestyle first, by removing the clutter and focusing on what matters most.

But it is a big change, requiring careful planning.

We’ve put together some of the key benefits and considerations of downsizing to help you decide if now is the right time to take the leap.

Mortgage-Free Living

Over the time you’ve been living in your family home, it’s likely that you would have paid off most of the mortgage – while the property value would most likely have increased in value. Downsizing to an apartment could give you the opportunity to live mortgage-free, with the added bonus of access to in-house facilities including gyms and swimming pools.

Location, Location

You’ll be cutting your maintenance costs while buying more time to do the things you love: so choose a location that suits the lifestyle you want. Whether it’s close to the beach, near the shops, walking distance to the cinema – decide what’s most important to you as you wind down in retirement. You may also want to choose a location close to your family, so they’re around if you need a helping hand (or if you’re needed to look after the grandkids).

Lock Up & Leave

Ready to take on that outback road trip? Or just take off for the weekend? Downsizing to an apartment gives you the luxury of leaving at a moment’s notice. Apartment living is low-maintenance, so you don’t need to worry about who’s going to mow the lawns or clean the pool while you’re away. It also offers added security, so you just need to lock the door behind you and know that your belongings are safe.

Space is Everything

Moving to an apartment requires careful consideration of available space. Whether you’re buying off the plan or inspecting an existing property, getting a real sense of the dimensions you’re working with will help you plan your move. Make sure you examine the details in the floor plans, and visit the apartment as often as possible before deciding to buy. Can you see yourself feeling comfortable in the space? Is there room to move? Can you picture key belongings there?

Storage is Key

Consider choosing an apartment with built-in storage that allows you to keep what’s most precious (be ruthless when it comes to discarding what’s not). Innovative storage solutions are often part of an apartment’s DNA, as they’re designed to be more streamlined than houses. Plus, built-in storage may allow you to get rid of some unnecessary furniture, including bulky drawers and wardrobes.

Keep, Sell, Donate

On that note, one of the toughest things about downsizing is working out what to do with all your stuff. From huge pieces of furniture to family heirlooms, there won’t be enough room for everything in a smaller home, no matter how much storage it offers. Something that can be really helpful is dividing your possessions into piles marked ‘Keep’, ‘Sell’ and ‘Donate’. You can also rent a storage locker if time is pressing and just can’t bear to part with the antique sideboard yet.

Meet the Neighbours

Moving to an apartment means you’re going to be living much closer to your neighbours. Getting to know who your prospective neighbours are before you buy isn’t always possible, but it’s a great idea to introduce yourself when you move in. It could even kick off some new friendships, you may find yourself living next to people at a similar life stage, who’ll be close at hand when you feel like doing something spontaneous.

Making the decision to downsize is a huge step, so it’s important to know what you’re in for before you start looking.

Whether you’re ready now or still thinking it over, Ray White Forster Tuncurry can guide you throughout the process, so get in touch before you make your move.

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