At and Seniors Housing Online we regularly get enquiries about downsizer homes available to rent. That’s not just because there's high demand for senior rentals from people who don't own a home - but there's also a lot of empty nesters want to try out living in a new area before they commit to buying a new home – and it can make a lot of sense.

We’ve noted in previous news that downsizers often want to enjoy a sea or tree change. That can involve a radical change of lifestyle and location. There’s nothing like living in a suburb to know what it’s really like, and renting for a while can help you decide if those dreams of a coastal lifestyle are matched by the reality.

The merits of renting before you buy also stack up if you’re staying in the same broader area but switching suburbs.

We speak with a lot of downsizers who are moving from suburban homes to be closer to the city – often favouring new apartments or duplexes. It’s a move that can take you closer to cafes, quality restaurants, cinemas and shops. But after decades of living in a rambling home, some people are uncertain about how they will adjust to an apartment.  Renting first is a great way to trial your new style of downsized living.

The drawbacks of renting first

Like everything, the try before you buy approach has downsides. It will mean moving twice, most likely with all your furniture, as fully furnished rentals are hard to come by.

It’s also important to think about the term of your lease. You don’t want to be locked into a lease only to see a great downsizer opportunity pass you by.

Do some groundwork

If the idea of renting first doesn’t appeal to you, take your time to explore a new location before committing. When you’re inspecting homes, look at the other interested buyers. They could end up being your neighbours.

Visit the area at different times of day. Some roads can be real bottlenecks during peak hour, and even quiet backstreets can become clogged with commuters looking for kerbside parking mid-week.

Check out the shopping and nightlife too. Does your favourite café become a little too lively in the evenings? Are the local shops enough for your needs, or will you need to head further afield for the weekly shop?

With some research you can get a good feel for what an area is like.  Ultimately though, even if you rent for a while first, there is really no substitute for living in your own downsized home.


Greg Oddy is Director of Sales and Marketing at and Seniors Housing Online.