With their children grown and leaving for university, jobs abroad or homes of their own, an increasing number of people in their 50s and 60s are downsizing from big family homes to smaller, lower maintenance properties in security complexes – and if this is on the cards for you next year, you may be dreading the thought.
“Even owners who have been planning their move for years can find it extremely difficult to start packing when the time finally arrives to do so, and usually that’s not because they are scared of getting older, but because family homes are associated with so many memories and emotions,” says Rudi Botha, CEO of BetterBond*, SA’s biggest bond originator.
“In addition, even when empty-nesters can see the financial advantages of downsizing, they often worry that it will also entail a drastic change in lifestyle. And then of course there is the hard work of the move itself, especially when it means having to sort through 20 or 30 years’ worth of possessions to decide what to pack and take and what to sell, give away or discard.”
“However, we meet clients who are doing this every day, and have learned that there are quite a number of positive aspects to focus on that can make the change much easier and the move something to actually look forward to.”
The first of these, he says, is the relief from the high costs of maintaining a large property and keeping it in good condition. There is also less risk of having to replace or repair expensive components such as the roof, wiring or plumbing. “It’s important to remember that your home isn't getting any younger either, and that a property that gets run down because you no longer have the energy, agility or inclination to keep up maintenance will be harder to sell if you delay your move.”