Top 10 Tips for Downsizing in Retirement
Are you thinking about downsizing but you’re unsure about what the best options are? You’re not alone. With an increasing ageing population, many Australians are looking outside of the traditional retirement pathways. They’re considering all of the options that retirement living has to offer.
Whether you’re downsizing into a retirement village, an apartment or moving in with family, there are some big decisions to be made that can be really impactful. With some helpful tips and advice in collaboration with the team at MUVAL, the big move can be a little easier and less stressful when the time comes.
Tip 1: Choose the Right Location
Where are you planning on moving to? Many people are after a sea change or they’re looking at a new way of life. But there’s always matters to consider. Will you still be in close proximity to friends and family? If you’re looking at moving further away, is it easy for you to visit your loved ones and for them to visit you? For example, will you have a spare bedroom and bathroom that they can stay in? Or can they get to you easily via public transport? Infrastructure such as transport is really important to consider when choosing a new place to live.
Tip 2: Suitable Infrastructure
Looking at your future needs as you age is necessary if the property that you’re moving into is where you’ve decided to age in place. Considering whether there’s available public transport as well as ideal proximity to services is advisable when moving to a place you’re going to stay at as you get older. Being close to a doctor’s surgery, pharmacy and a supermarket are all significant.
Also look into safety. Are the streets and pathways well maintained? And do they have good lighting at night? Do you have to navigate stairs and dark corridors? Finally is the place secure and safe? Having good security where you’re moving to will give you peace of mind. You’ll also want to feel as though you’re comfortable around your neighbours and when moving around your suburb. Do your homework to ensure that it’s a safe suburb before you decide to change locations.
Tip 3: Consider the Lifestyle You Want
You’ve worked hard for all of those years and it’s your turn now. Downsizing usually means less work to do. There’s less house to clean and often there’s no more yard to mow. Free time is now yours, and you’re going to want to enjoy it. Many retirees now have time to enjoy long walks with each other and their pets. If you’re a pet lover, be sure to move somewhere where you’re allowed to have your pets with you.
You might move into your new place on your own, and life might change along the way. You might meet a new partner that you want to move in with you, or you could have a grandchild come and stay for a length of time. But remember that some villages don’t allow this. If you think that somebody might move in with you along the way then make allowance for this when choosing a place.
Furthermore, as your interests will change with age, so to may your health. To maintain quality of life, you might need to make renovations to your property in order to allow you to age in place. Some places don’t allow this. With that being said, be certain to find a home that will let you. After all, it’s your place and you should be able to have it the way you want it. Changing that old carpet, or renovating your bathroom should be your choice.
Tip 4: Know All of the Costs Involved
There are several fees and costs associated with downsizing and moving. There’s more to it than real estate agent fees and legal fees that are incurred from selling.
If you’re planning to downsize into a retirement village or over 55’s village there can also be additional fees, such as entry fees and other ongoing charges. The key is to do your homework first and make sure that you’ve got everything covered financially before the big move. You also need to consider the fees related to moving properties.
Tip 5: Reduce Your Removalist Fees
Removalist fees can really add up, even if you’re moving somewhere close by. If you’re moving locally, the costs are typically quoted by the hour. They can cost as much as $140 per hour depending on how many people the removalists put on to move your items.
But many people downsize and move further away. Some people move for a change of scenery or to be closer to family. If this is you and you’re planning on moving interstate or further out, removalists will quote by the cubic metre. This can add up to as much as $120 m3.
With the above in mind, you’re always going to be better off if you can reduce the amount of items that you’re moving with you. Normally if you’re downsizing you’ll need to reduce your furnishings anyway. You might want to sell some of your items on Gumtree or have a garage sale. Or you could consider offloading some of your items to younger family members that could make good use of them.
Tip 6: Save Money on Items Upstairs
Are there stairs at your existing home or your new home? If you’re moving items from upstairs or to upstairs then costs will go up with removalists. That’s why it’s a good idea to offload some of those bigger household items. When you sell your items privately, you’ll find that the buyers have usually arranged a suitable vehicle to collect the item from you.
If you really need to take items with you from upstairs, you might ask a couple of stronger, younger ones in the family that would be happy to shift items downstairs before the move. If this is possible it will again help save on costs if you’re not able to part with that special piece of furniture.
Tip 7: Make Sure That Your Furniture Fits
If you’re reducing the amount of items that you’re going to take with you, make sure that you find out the dimensions of the rooms at the property you’re moving into. There’s nothing worse than paying the removalist to move a truckload of furniture, only to find out that it won’t fit at the place that you’re moving into. Retirement villages and apartments commonly have smaller rooms than houses. That beautiful big dining table that you could sit your entire family at might not work in a downsized property.
Tip 8: Use it as a Way to Take Stock
As you downsize, use the opportunity to take a full inventory. This helps for so many reasons, especially because an accurate inventory can save more money than an estimate for removalists costs. Also with an accurate inventory, you’ll be able to look to try and reduce any house and contents insurance at your new residence. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have it for any future moves rather than continually guessing.
Tip 9: Talk to Centrelink About Your Pension
Are you a self-funded retiree or in receipt of an aged pension? If you receive any government funding and you’re looking to downsize, the surplus from the sale of your home might impact on your government payments. When your living circumstances change it’s advisable to notify the Department of Human Services as soon as possible, as the changes may impact on the payments that you receive. If you have any questions regarding the sale of your home and the financial impacts regarding government pensions, you can contact the Department of Human Services on 132 300.
Tip 10: Seek Financial Advice
Many people have surplus funds to invest from the sale of their home when downsizing. If this is the case for you it’s recommended that you employ a financial adviser to guide you through your investment options. Making good financial decisions will help with your quality of life and enhance your lifestyle.
These helpful tips will ultimately help you to save on your move when downsizing.