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Downsizing: 5 simple tips to get started

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Have you ever looked around the house and felt a bit overwhelmed by the clutter surrounding you? Do you dream of living a minimalistic lifestyle? Is excessive clutter around the house causing you stress and affecting how you live life?

Downsizing isn’t a new topic for many of us, especially to older people who are seeking a simple and more minimalistic lifestyle. It can be challenging at first to get used to the idea of owning less and living in a more compact space, but once you get started, the results can be really rewarding. For South Australians aged over 55 seeking a lifestyle change, these Covid-19 times of social distancing and home isolation mean now is the perfect time to begin planning your next move.

We have asked our Real Estate Services Manager, Nat Johncock who has come up with 5 handy tips for you to get started with downsizing and embarking on your next journey.

Decluttering

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Preparing for downsizing is likely to involve some form of declutter. While most people welcome the concept, the thought of having to deal with all your belongings collected over the years can be daunting.

Decluttering can be a long process which takes some commitment and time. The first step is always the hardest. It may seem overwhelming to look around and have no idea where to get started. That’s why we recommend you taking it one step at a time. But remember, there’s no need to rush doing everything in one day, or one weekend.

Here’s a tip: Break it down into different areas you would like to focus on each week and aim to get that specific space done, then move on to the next one. There may be a different amount of clutter in different areas. Maybe there is more to clear out in your kitchen than in your living room. Try listing each room down on a piece of paper, then prioritise them by marking from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least difficult and 5 the most difficult and likely to take the longest time to complete. Get started with the easiest one first to get an idea of how long it may take you to declutter the area, then work your way up to 5.

Expect emotional ties

Getting rid of things that you’ve had for so long isn’t easy, especially items that bring back memories of your family or loved ones. But remember, these are objects, not actual memories. Memories are in your heart and they will stay with you forever. It takes a bit of courage to throw away things that you no longer need to simplify your life. However, it doesn’t mean getting rid of everything; keep the important things that you would like to share with your grandchildren one day. If there are family photos that you would like to keep, go digital and have them scanned in a hard drive. That way, you can always go through them from your mobile devices, share them with others and they will be kept in a better condition.

Plan now

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Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most of us have spent more time in our own homes than ever before, which makes us see our homes in a new light, both good and bad. When it comes to retirement, it may become clear that our current home is not really a good fit for the future. And with extra time on your hands, this really is a good time to plan for your next home.

Downsizing from your large family home can lead to an affordable and easy lifestyle. You can spend less time looking after your house and more time doing the things you love. Think more time in the sun doing gardening and more time to spend on social activities such as attending an art group or a choir.

It’s also worth taking into consideration how well your existing home can accommodate your needs as you age. For example, limiting the number of steps or stairs in the home or considering a more convenient location close to public transport and facilities. Start by having a wish list of what you would like to have in your future space. Work on this list with your family and agree on what you like.

Budgeting

There can be a whole range of lifestyle reasons why downsizing is an appealing option. One key indicator that it’s the right time to downsize may be that your income no longer matches the expenses of your current house, especially if it’s starting to need a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

If you’re looking to free up some cash, downsizing to a smaller, easer-to-maintain home is a great option. It not only reduces the stress of having to look after the house, but it also brings you a more convenient and fulfilled lifestyle.

If you have a home to sell, it is a great time to obtain a market appraisal from a good real estate agent (preferably one which has been recommended to you by a friend or family member). Understanding the current value of your home is a crucial step in setting a budget for your next purchase. Real estate agents are still able to provide you with an appraisal during COVID-19 restrictions.

Virtual inspections

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Community restrictions on social gatherings has ACH Group experiencing a sharp rise in virtual inspections. Virtual tours are a great way of taking in key aspects of a property at any time of day or night. Virtual inspections help you inspect your favourite home simply and quickly. You can also invite friends and families to go on a virtual inspection tour to get a second opinion. With all this information and assistance now available at your fingertips, or at the end of a phone, making the move to your new home is very achievable in isolation. ACH Group now offers virtual inspections for most of our available units. New to virtual inspection? Try now.

With a smaller space and a lower maintenance lifestyle, you will have less responsibility in your life. It will free you up to spend more time doing things you love. It can be challenging at first, but rewarding once you are done. Decluttering your space, looking around for inspiration, and making a plan are things you can do to get started now. Remember downsizing is not the end of your lifestyle, it is a new beginning which can bring you great freedom.

If you want to learn more about your options and how best to plan for your next home in retirement, contact our Real Estate Services Manager, Nat Johncock on (08) 8159 3480 or 0418 834 943 or email njohncock@ach.org.au.