For many people, downsizing is all about gaining freedom.
This includes freedom from maintenance chores by moving to a more manageable home and financial freedom by releasing equity from the family home.
For many people, downsizing can also involve the freedom to finally move to a neighbourhood where they can be closer to what’s important to them and improve their lifestyle.
But how do you decide your perfect downsizing neighbourhood?
For instance, do you look for a place in your familiar neighbourhood to downsize?
Do you move closer to the centre of the city with its arts precincts and abundant restaurants?
Would a regional city, a coastal town or a tree change work better?
It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to make up your mind.
Here we offer a house move checklist to help you find the best location for the new you.
What will your finances allow?
Before making any move, it’s important to do your homework to determine how far your finances will stretch when it comes to buying a new home, plus also funding your short and long-term lifestyle.
If you become a Downsizing.com.au member, you’ll get access to a free My Property Value service, to help understand your likely property value.
Deduct from this valuation any mortgage still owing, the agent’s selling fees, conveyancing costs, stamp duty payable on the next property, and the cost of moving there.
Get appropriate financial advice when considering downsizing.
If you receive a pension, it may be affected. Additional cash you collect as a result of selling the family home and downsizing could lead you to breach relevant asset limits and therefore impact your pension payments,
What is best – city, country or coast?
It depends on the lifestyle you want.
Some regional cities offer a cosmopolitan lifestyle, great places to explore and enjoy along with a lower cost of living and good health and other social infrastructure.
However, as they are also often strong employment centres which attract working singles and families, the property prices may be higher than less populated areas.
Research has found that downsizers who move to small regional towns have the highest satisfaction rates. However, keep in mind that you may need to travel for medical, dental, optometry and other services.
By the same token, Downsizing.com.au CEO Amanda Graham said that an increasing trend involved over 50s searching out a vibrant, inner-city lifestyle.
“A recent survey we conducted found that 32 per cent of downsizers described their dream downsizing location as being ‘urban convenience’, which was well above the 17 per cent who answered ‘relaxed rural setting’,” Ms Graham said.
“This shows that many over 50s are not just looking for peace and quiet but want to get out there and enjoy everything the city lifestyle has to offer.”
“The most popular location choice was ‘beachside holiday living’.”
Spend a bit of time in areas that you are considering before you make up your mind. If you can, do this at different times of the year. Try a regional city, a coastal town and a small country town.
Talk to the locals, try out the restaurants and visit any clubs, facilities or community groups you may be interested in. Think past the novelty phase when evaluating places; ask yourself if there is enough to sustain your interest for a long period.
Try to get an idea of how easy it would be to build networks and make friends.
Check out the services and whether you could easily get commodities you like or need.
Thinking ahead, a train service to the city may be very convenient in the future.
Would you be able to buy a cheaper place if you moved to a regional area?
The accepted wisdom with virtually any residential property purchase is that the further you are from the city, the less expensive property will be.
However, in recent times, regional property prices have recorded strong gains, due to more people willing to work remotely in a post-COVID environment.
Any downsizer thinking of moving to a regional area needs to also balance against other factors such as leaving behind familiar people and places.
Do you want to be close to family and friends or are you prepared to travel to see them?
On the other hand, it’s an adventure starting a new life.
This is a major consideration as circumstances may change in the future and you may not be keen to travel very much.
How do you find people with similar interests?
Choosing a coastal location would virtually guarantee you will meet people interested in fishing, sailing and marine matters.
Choosing a city location means that your contemporaries are likely to have similar cosmopolitan interests.
What kind of climate do you want to live in? Would a warmer area be better for your health and wellness?
There is, of course, no blanket answer to this question. It’s a very personal one and the answer depends on preferences, health and, surprisingly, some medications.
Downsizing.com.au helps your find the right location
Downsizing.com.au lists retirement living and downsizing-friendly properties across Australia.
We have a simple and sophisticated filter function which allows readers to search for exactly what they want.
To begin, enter your preferred location in the Search box on the home page.
When your locality searches are shown, go to the 'filters' tab in the centre of the page.
Click on this tab and start your search in earnest by ticking "rent or buy', 'your price range', 'number of bedrooms' and so on.
However, scroll down and you can search for much more, eg, 'onsite facilities', 'level of support available', 'property features' and more.
For a deeper dive into downsizing tips, try this story: Downsizing in Australia: important tips to help your move
Also, check out our Regional Guides if you'd like a more in-depth understanding of a specific area: