The 3 Steps to Downsizing to an Apartment
We all know that Australia has an ageing population. Specifically, by the year 2055, we will have a population of 40 million people, with 22.6% of those (that’s almost 9 million people) over the age of 65.
Of course, while the lifespan grows, so does the quality of life. Retirees are no longer bound to villages where they can receive access to care. More and more, the end of a career is met with a move which actually embraces social, financial, and lifestyle factors. The over 65 age group is taking up travel, hobbies, and an overall joie de vivre never before associated with our senior population.
City centres and inner suburbs are becoming more attractive to this age group. Once reserved for young professionals and students, our city streets are being favoured by senior generations, for their proximity to events and facilities, their community culture, as well as ease of transport. Apartment living offers a unique future for these Australians, but there are some smart tips and property investment advice to take into consideration.
STEP 1: Costs
How much do you have to work with?
Approach a number of agents to appraise your property to give you a realistic expectation before auction day. Remember, selling a family home can unlock home equity which can go towards your new property, provided you have a sound financial plan for the future.
Are there any hidden fees?
If you’re planning to buy into a strata agreement, there will be some monthly or annual fees to maintain the building, garden, and communal cleaning, to name a few. Buying additional furniture can be a costly procedure, but for most downsizers, the problem is getting rid of existing possessions, rather than obtaining new ones.
Start your search early.
Apartment developments will offer significant cost savings if you buy pre-build, depending on the flexibility of your transition. If you plan on downsizing to an apartment somewhere else in Australia, or even overseas, there are plenty of websites which focus on these niche services. Different countries, and indeed different regions within countries, will have different costs of living. Be sure to realistically calculate how much you will need to live comfortably.
Is this a growth area?
Even if your move to apartment living will be primarily a lifestyle change, it’s worth thinking of it as a property investment just like any other. Up-and-coming areas which are expected to grow could see your home rise in value, which might mean more travel on the cards or a bigger inheritance for loved ones.
STEP 2: Lifestyle and Location
Do you value a backyard?
Most people interested in downsizing to an apartment report that a garden is no longer a priority, due to ongoing maintenance requirements. Especially among those who travel, watering and mowing are simply too demanding for a more transient lifestyle. Consider a communal rooftop terrace, or balcony greenery to appease the green thumb within.
What events, activities and hobbies do you want to get involved with?
Consider how a given location will accommodate your desired retirement lifestyle. Apartment developments with additional rooms can offer fantastic studio or workshop spaces, whereas proximity to classes, cafes and friends are all important factors of the area.
Do you like change, or do you prefer to remain in familiar surroundings?
The statistics suggest that the majority of seniors prefer to remain in their local area, assuming that it’s close to their family and friendship circles. That said, for those who look at retirement as a new lease on life, this could be your chance to uproot and embrace all the opportunities that accompany a completely new way of living.
STEP 3: Functionality
Does it have enough storage?
Apartment living can be known to be cramped, but with effective storage solutions there’s no reason why your new home can’t be open and full of space. Begin decluttering well in advance of your search, so that you can accurately estimate the amount of storage you will require.
Is there space for entertaining?
If you’ve sacrificed a backyard patio, then what are your entertaining options? A large dining room, or perhaps a roomy balcony? Even a shared space within the building or a local cafe could do the trick.
Will it cater to your needs in the future?
While most of us hold our independence close to our chest, it’s a simple fact of life that our mobility, hearing and vision will deteriorate as we age. Housing that caters for these developing needs, by having wide corridors, low cupboards, stairway alternatives and even handrails or ramps for wheelchair access can be a wise choice early on.
Is it secure?
Apartments tend to offer greater security than traditional housing. Check to see if your potential new home is alarmed, if there’s a concierge, building manager or admin person on duty, and what the neighbourhood is like.
Downsizing to an apartment can be the right choice, as long as costs, lifestyle, location and functionality are at the forefront of the decision-making process.
Pure Hampton Project Team can help downsizers understand the best value around each opportunity and assist you in buying the right property at the right price. If you are a looking to downsize and are concerned about where to start with your property search, contact us now.