When small is a better fit

While a family home is full of memories, it is also usually full of unused objects that just take up space and energy. (Shutterstock)
While a family home is full of memories, it is also usually full of unused objects that just take up space and energy. (Shutterstock)

Durban - We usually think of people moving up the property ladder, from their first small flat to a townhouse and then to a family home.

With the trend towards multi-generational living and the need for space to accommodate adult children or ageing parents, that’s where many people stop their property journey.

But there are many others for whom taking a step or two down the property ladder makes very good sense due to increasing property rates and utility costs, said Berry Everitt, MD of Chas Everitt International property group.

An FNB estate agent survey shows that about one in four home sales are being generated by middle-aged owners seeking to move to a smaller, more secure and lower-maintenance property.

Everitt provides some sure signs that the time really has come to downsize:

Your youngest child just moved out

While a family home is full of memories, it is also usually full of unused objects that just take up space and energy.

So once the last of the fledglings has flown the nest, it may be a good time to move somewhere smaller. It may also be the right time to move closer to children or grandchildren who have moved far away.

You have unused rooms

If there are rooms you don’t use but still have to dust, maintain and pay rates on, you should consider downsizing to a home that is cheaper to run.

Your home is just too much work

No matter what your age, you have to ensure that your home is clean, maintained and paid for – whether you do the work yourself or pay someone else to do it.

And if you’ve reached the stage where you feel overwhelmed or just think you could use your time or money better, it’s time to go smaller.

You’re getting ready to retire

This is the usual reason to start thinking about downsizing as a smaller, less-expensive property can mean lower property taxes, insurance and home-loan repayments in order to stretch retirement savings.

Security and personal safety also usually become an issue at this point, which is why many choose to relocate to a gated estate or security complex.

You want more freedom

Many people see middle-age as the time when they should be free to travel more, indulge in new interests or just spend more time with family and friends. Moving to a smaller, lower-maintenance property can provide the financial and social freedom to do this.

- This story was first published in Weekend Witness Money.

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