The low down on downsizing

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Thinking of downsizing?

Many Kiwis look at their long-held family home as their retirement fund. This idea of cashing up and moving to provincial New Zealand can certainly work if you happen to live in Auckland or Wellington – where your large urban house can fetch a pretty penny, especially in these over-heated times.

But if you are thinking of selling up outside of the hot spots, then the financial benefit may be less than you think, and the choice of quality two-bedroom homes in the regions is also limited. All of which can make the reasons for cashing up, a little questionable.

So, what other reasons are there for downsizing, and what are the benefits?

  1. Saving money.
    Besides releasing equity, most homeowners look to downsize to reduce costs. A smaller house can mean lower rates and heating bills plus lower insurance and maintenance costs. Selling your more expensive home can also help you become debt-free, paying off a mortgage and even some of those hard-to-shift loans. interest.co.nz has a calculator to show you how much you could save by down-sizing with a calculator. Check it out here.
     
  2. Unwanted space.
    Rattling around in a large mansion when the kids have flown the coop is not a lot of fun and can actually exacerbate the feeling of loneliness. It’s also a lot of hard work, keeping all the rooms clean and dusted - ready for potential guests. So, moving to a smaller, more manageable home can make life a lot cozier and easier.
     



  3. Less maintenance.
    When you’re in your 50’s – painting the house and mowing large lawns isn’t too much bother. But once you hit retirement age, those muscles are just a little stiffer and you’ll soon want to see the back of maintenance chores. Finding a modern, maintenance-free home that requires very little day-to-day care is an attractive option as we age. 
     
  4. Less stress.
    Maintaining a large home and garden can be stressful. There’s always something needing attention and something that could go wrong. The trees and hedges need pruning, gutters need clearing and the paint cycle is endless. But with a modern two-bedroom build, there really is less to stress about. Perhaps just deciding where you go for coffee or lunch!
     
  5. Reducing clutter.
    People spend their lives collecting things. Whether cupboards full of clothes and toys or shelves stacked with books - never to be read again. Every home has boxes and boxes waiting for someone brave to clear them out. And it does take guts to let go of your life’s memories. But it’s a great feeling of freedom once you do.
     


  6. Lock up and leave.
    Retirement brings all sorts of opportunities for travel. There’s no need to ask the boss for leave – so the world is your oyster. Having a modern, easily kept home can really give you freedom without concern. No need to find house-sitters, engage gardeners. Just shut the door and get on with your next adventure.

 


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