Here are some of the key topics discussed in the podcast. We’ve also created a checklist to help you decide whether you are ready to downsize.
Upsizing your home
The most common reason to look for a bigger home is if you have a growing family and need to trade in the two-bedroom flat for a three-bedroom house. For most it’s a budget-driven endeavour but there are other considerations, too. You may have to move further out from the city, which will increase commuting costs. A bigger home will also equate to higher running costs. And there’s more to it than just wanting everyone to have their own bedroom or an outdoor place for the kids to play. It’s all about fitting your needs to the property. A big backyard is a great thing but you have to commit to the time of lawn and garden maintenance or the cost of having it taken care of. The same thing goes for a swimming pool. Perhaps you don’t need a big block of land but a house near a park or a local aquatic centre? Remember you can upsize your living space and still have a manageable property, a four-bedroom townhouse with a low-maintenance courtyard may be what you need. Upsizing is not a one-size-fits all solution. And it pays to look ahead. You don’t want to swap a flat for a house that suits when your children are toddlers only for it not to fit your needs when they’re teenagers or young adults. And what if you need to bring your parents back home? Or will have grandkids one day?
Downsizing your home
Traditionally associated with empty nesters and retirees, downsizing isn’t just about moving to a retirement village or a smaller home because the kids are long gone. Many people downsize for the freedom it brings. If you don’t have a large home or garden to repair and maintain you have lower costs and more leisure time. And if you live in a complex, the maintenance of common areas and shared facilities, including recreational, are taken care of. This is such an attractive option, lifestyle wise, that there is growing trend for families to downsize from a house to living in a complex with a swimming pool and other facilities. Another option is to downsize from suburbia to the city, but as with upsizing, it is all dependent on your stage of life and needs. Take a good look at your home, assess how much space you really use and how much actually need. A common sticking point for downsizers is not wanting to give up their garage, as even though many complexes offer secure parking there is not the same easily-accessible storage. But there is a property so suit every need, so then a townhouse would be your go to rather than a flat.
The tiny house movement
When it comes to downsizing it doesn’t get much smaller than tiny houses! But what are they? Tiny houses are scaled-down homes on a big trailer. Built with timber or steel frames or from structurally insulated panels they are solidly constructed, unlike a caravan. And while they are on wheels, they are really designed for semi or permanent situations rather than as a roving domicile. You can move them but need a big truck and lots of money for fuel! Tiny houses have everything you’d expect in a normal home. The basic functions are all there, a place to cook, wash up, sleep and relax or entertain. When you get it down to the basics, you can get a beautiful, functional home in a space 2.5m wide by 6-9m long. They do vary in size but in general a livable space needs to be 5-8m long. According to Tiny Houses Australia, 70% of their followers are female and just over 50% are aged 25-55 which is comparable to other countries. There are a number of companies who can work with you on the design and build a tiny house for you. Based on size, you are looking at somewhere between 50K and 120K. To DIY you are probably looking at 10K to 50K, depending on your skills, materials and tradie labour. Substantially cheaper than the average house price!
And check out The BHG guide to homeownership.