E2: How to Downsize

It’s a momentous decision that requires the biggest cull of our lives: if, when and how to downsize. Your home maybe practical now, but will it be in the future if you are not as physically able as you are now?

This episode of Your Two Cents Worth takes us through the process of downsizing with Jillian McGrath, senior consulting agent with McGrath Estate Agents. Jillian has helped many people to downsize over twenty-five years in the industry. She has also downsized herself from a house with three staircases to a more physically suitable home.

Jillian suggest making the move when you are physically well so you can take charge of the move and decision making about your possessions without relying on others. She explains it can be an emotionally challenging experience as you deal with memories and cherished possessions that may have to go. It should be considered as a process that can take a long time, so start while you are fit and well.

She suggests looking at what doesn’t work in your house first, list what you need in your future home and its location, for example proximity to shops and public transport. Importantly you need to ask if you or your partner could live alone in the property and the new location because sadly, that will be the likely case sometime in the future.

On the financial front, she recommends looking at what you can afford if you want to stay in the same suburb well before you decide to sell. Stamp duty implications of selling your home should be factored in. If you are moving to an apartment does it have lifts and easy access with shopping? A buyer’s agent to seek out suitable properties for a fee can be helpful in your search but check out their track records through your state’s Real Estate Institute.

Other tips are having a family meeting at the start of the process to explain your decision to downsize and arrange for your children to take any possessions they may be storing at your home. Then contacting local charities to see if they are interested in your furniture, books, tools, linen and other items. However, be aware that most charities only want undamaged good quality items. She suggests dealing with one room at a time, thin out the contents and work out what you can fit into your new space.

Finally, although you may be in good health it’s a good idea to make the move sooner rather than later so you can enjoy the remainder of your life without your home becoming an unmanageable burden, or a problem for your family in the future.

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