5 top tips for preparing to downsize

December 7, 2022

Your home should suit your lifestyle, not become a burden on your to-do list. While a large family home with a big backyard might have suited you a decade or two ago, things may have changed in recent years. 

Whether you’re craving a low-maintenance courtyard, want to live closer to family or need a property with fewer stairs, you might be ready to downsize to a home that’s a better fit. 

But before you head to open homes and start your property search, there’s a stack of practical steps you can take to make this transition as smooth and stress-free as possible. Keep reading to discover five practical downsizing tips that will help you make your move with ease. 

Downsizing Tip 1. Consider your ideal lifestyle 

The best property purchases are made with your needs and lifestyle in mind. So before you start looking for specific property types or postcodes, it's important to take a step back and carefully consider what you need now and in the years to come.

Start by thinking about the challenges or pain points you’re facing with your current property. Is the backyard hard to maintain? Are you spending your spare time cleaning rooms you barely use? Do you wish you could drop by and see your family more often? 

Then, think about what you’d like to spend your spare time doing. Is there a sport you’d like to take up? What about picking the grandkids up from school a few times a week? Maybe volunteering or visiting the local cinema is something you’d like to do more often? 

Where you live has a big impact on your lifestyle. Being close to friends and family, local amenities (such as shopping centres, libraries and hospitals) and even public transport are all things that can help you unlock the lifestyle you want in this next chapter of your life. 

Downsizing Tip 2. Assess what type of property is right for you

Now you’ve got your location sorted, it’s time to consider what style of property is going to serve you best when you downsize. Typically, downsizers (like you) are ready to shed a few bedrooms and big backyards for easy access, low-maintenance properties. 

So, here are a few property types to consider if you’re thinking about downsizing:

  • Apartments: from top floor penthouses to oversized courtyard apartments, units can be a great option if you’re looking to downsize. With all the common areas taken care of by a strata manager, you’ll be able to focus on doing what you love (not sweeping leaves or mowing lawns). The catch? You will have to budget for strata fees and may need to get strata approval for any major renovations you want to do to your property.

  • Townhouse: if you want the feeling of a standalone property (without the maintenance), a townhouse is a great option. These properties usually come with strata fees, but these should be lower than large apartment complexes. Plus, you should have direct street access to your property (rather than needing to go up sets of stairs or shared elevators).

  • Standalone homes: if you want to skip strata altogether, securing a smaller standalone home can be a good option. Look for easy-care villas with small backyards or courtyards that will be easy to maintain. Newer homes can also be a good option as the chance of repairs or renovations will be much lower, too.  

The key is to consider what are the property features that are most important to you and look for homes that tick your boxes. 

Downsizing Tip 3. Declutter and downsize your belongings 

In some cases, downsizing can mean moving to a smaller property. To avoid the headache and expense of storage units, it's a good idea to declutter your belongings prior to moving. 

By spring cleaning your property and deciding what belongings are no longer needed, you can shed any unnecessary clutter and belongings before the moving van arrives. It doesn’t have to mean getting rid of sentimental items or all your personal belongings. Instead, decluttering means donating or discarding items that you forgot you owned or haven't used in years. 

Plus, you can use this as an opportunity to earn some extra money from your old furniture and belongings. By listing your unwanted items on online marketplaces (such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree), you can earn passive income from items you already own. 

Anything that you can’t sell online can easily be donated to your nearest charity shop too. This will make moving day much easier as you know you’re bringing over only the things you need and nothing you don't. 

Downsizing Tip 4. Factor in the costs of downsizing

No matter what property you’re moving into, there is a range of costs you need to consider. The best way to budget for these expenses is to get your head around them early and find the most cost-effective way to manage your move.

Some of the most common costs when downsizing include:

  • Moving costs: such as hiring removalists, cleaners, ordering moving boxes and transport costs.

  • Replacing furniture or appliances: if your new property doesn’t have enough room for your current belongings, you might need to downsize to smaller items.

  • Storage fees: if you aren’t able to bring all of your furniture and belongings with you, you might need to rent out a storage space for your extra items. 

The good news is that a bridging loan (like the one we offer here at Bridgit) can help you avoid a range of common downsizing costs. 

If you buy your new property before you’ve sold your current home, we can help you avoid the hassle and costs of multiple moves. That means no temporary living costs, no storage fees and significantly lower moving costs, too. 

Downsizing Tip 5. Assess your home loan and finance options 

Last, but not least, is the final element of preparing to downsize: assess your finance options.

There are a range of ways you can purchase your next property, from refinancing your current loan to accessing the equity in your existing home to purchase your next. 

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a Bridgit bridging loan is that we can help you navigate two settlements with less hassle and less stress. With a bridging loan you can:

  • Avoid paying double mortgages as we’ll pay your existing mortgage so you don’t have to worry about two sets of repayments at once.

  • No payments until loan maturity (or until you sell your existing property) to help you search on your terms and find your perfect home.

  • Enjoy the first three months interest-free to ensure you’ve got plenty of time to buy and sell on your terms. 

When it comes to downsizing, doing your research and planning ahead of time can help you have the smoothest transition possible. Plus, picking the most cost-effective loan option is what will help you make an easy, stress-free move on your own term. 

Ready to learn more about how a Bridgit bridging loan can help you as a downsizer? Learn more and get approval today. 

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