There’s a lot of media hype in Australia around downsizing, especially if you’re an older homeowner. There is logic in moving retirees into smaller residences to make way for high density living in and around Melbourne. Cynically however, this call is partly due to an oversupply of apartments in major Australian CBD’s in particular, which developers are becoming increasingly desperate to shift. Nonetheless, if you’re fully informed about the benefits and risks of selling up and moving to a smaller premises, the decision to do so can represent a major improvement to your quality of life. Read below for some of the factors that may impact upon your decision to reduce your square meterage.
Those with older houses in particular can most likely relate to the seemingly endless maintenance that’s required whether it’s on a double storey home or a single front terrace.From roofs, gutters, the lawn or fixtures: older houses need work. For this reason, many people say adieu to the responsibility of a large block and paying council rates.If you downsize to an apartment or unit however, these costs will be replaced by body corporate fees to pay for works in common areas and regulatory building requirements. Sometimes these can seem disproportionate given a building’s facilities (or lack thereof). Therefore, always get in writing the annual fees you will be required to pay and find out as much as possible about the body corporate that runs your building. Also inquire about additional major upgrade fees.Living in a mismanaged complex makes life a lot less enjoyable, where basic repairs take a long time and fees are not adequately reinvested back into facilities. Also on the topic of fees, don’t forget to factor in moving costs, stamp duty and real estate fees for a start if you do buy and sell property in order to downsize your home.
If you don’t like the idea of apartment living, an alternative downsizing option could be to move into a dual occupancy home. If building a new, there are many fantastic contemporary takes on the old granny flat that will maximize your living space and are ultra energy efficient. Whether it be modular or a more traditional type build, take the opportunity to configure a living space to be comfortable, flexible and well built. This will save money on running costs and time on arduous household maintenance.
The final consideration that isn’t as openly promoted in Australia is the concept of minimalist living. Perhaps it’s due to the vastness of our landscape or the cultural affinity with the Australian Dream of home ownership on the quarter acre block. Whatever the reason, the trend towards living with less is gaining popularity across advanced market economies such as the Tiny House movement in the U.S.A. This concept promotes downsizing as physically and mentally liberating as there is much joy to be found in owning less and cultivating fulfilment beyond excessive consumption. Downsizing could be your take on the minimalist way of life.