18th Apr 2017

Should you consider downsizing your home?

Share your thoughts on downsizing
Ben Hocking

There can be a number of reasons for downsizing your home, living somewhere more manageable and user friendly, or freeing up equity to fund a better lifestyle in retirement.

A smaller home can require less upkeep – freeing up more time for friends, family and leisure activities.

It can also mean lower maintenance costs such as house painting, watering lawns and gardens, and lower council rates. Utility costs such as heating and cooling can also be considerably reduced. There is also the prospect of moving from a multi-storey house to single-level living, which can be worth considering even if mobility issues are not a problem right now.

One of the most important reasons for downsizing can be freeing up the equity in your property. However, there can be costs involved in downsizing that may eat into your profit margin. There are real estate agent fees, moving costs, property inspections, conveyancing costs and stamp duty.



There are suggestions that the Federal Government could announce measures in this year’s Budget aimed at providing more incentives for seniors to consider downsizing, which could make the move a little more appealing.

Currently, many older Australians are discouraged from downsizing by the fact that they can lose some, or all, of their welfare payments and concessions by releasing the equity in their home.

The proposal currently being considered for the Budget would allow downsizers to quarantine up to $250,000 from the asset test after selling their family home.

There are other non-financial considerations before you leap into the downsizing lifestyle. Moving house is considered one of life’s most stressful events and there is also the emotional attachment to a family home.

Your current home may be close to family, shops, health professionals and transport, and the ability to buy a smaller home in a similar area might not be an option.

What are your thoughts on downsizing? Is it something you are considering? Have you already downsized?

Seniors Housing Online is currently running a survey on downsizing intentions and will use the results to inform policy-makers. The survey is completely anonymous and you can go into the draw to win a $100 visa card.

Related articles:
Negative gearing changes a no-go
Retirement, housing & Budget 2017
The pros and cons of downsizing





COMMENTS

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jamesmn
19th Apr 2017
10:27am
maybe turnball and his cronies should start downsizing or open up their houses to the homeless
Triss
19th Apr 2017
2:12pm
I agree with you, Jamesmn, he occupies a four storey house reputed to be worth in excess of $50 million and he can't see the irony of telling pensioners to move in order to free up housing for families.
Tib
19th Apr 2017
3:35pm
Turnball , Ha ha , that's great!
Farside
19th Apr 2017
4:30pm
why?
Janran
19th Apr 2017
5:21pm
"Turn ball" is a baseball term for a pitch that looks like it's going one way but then it deceptively turns to trick the batter.

I think Australian voters are the "batters" in this case, with the likes of Tony Abbott making Turnbull act like an ultra conservative, when many voters thought he was a moderate. Two examples: same sex marriage and climate change.

Turnbull has only himself to blame, when he sold his soul for the Prime Ministership by doing a deal with the ultra Right. Unfortunately, he never had the balls to NOT uphold that deal, so he chose to be a traitor to the people over being a traitor to Abbott et al.
TREBOR
24th Apr 2017
7:32pm
An enema of the people?
bartpcb
19th Apr 2017
10:30am
A person works hard all their life to buy a home. That home carries the memories of bringing up children, work sacrifices, family disputes and a plethora of other things. If a retired person wants to 'downsize' for whatever reason that's fine and their choice. If they are been FORCED to downsize by manufactured political circumstances and agenda's that have reduced them to poverty, THAT's NOT FINE, it's immoral and cruel.
Triss
19th Apr 2017
2:26pm
I reckon it's more sinister than that, bartpcb. The government has decided that if a person works all their life to buy a home, then that home belongs to the government. Downsize and down the track the government will lower your pension quite forgetting the reason you have a few extra dollars in your bank account. If you need to enter a care home the government will take your home to pay for it and you will be blamed for only having a small inexpensive home, the reason for having a small home will be ignored so you'll put in a lower quality care home. And Turnbull is still wanting to lower pensions by assessing the family home.
Farside
19th Apr 2017
4:34pm
nobody should be forced to downsize but I see nothing wrong with incentives being given to do so. It's as much about unlocking the diversity of housing stock and living in something appropriate to stage of life. It's a personal choice to downsize or not, but if you don't then refrain from complaining about others receiving benefits from doing so.
Not a Bludger
19th Apr 2017
10:34am
Far to expensive - why give a swag of dough to real estate agent, lawyer and state government (stamp duty)?

And, then, ( thanks Feds) lose ones' senior/ concession cards etc.

Stupid to do this voluntarily.
tams
19th Apr 2017
10:38am
The survey relates to potential problems in moving.
I would have thought the first question would have been "Are you considering downsizing - yes or no".
Therefore the sponsor of the survey - LJ Hooker - would have a better understanding of how few additional sales they would benefit from.
Dolly
19th Apr 2017
11:14am
We are in the process of downsizing, sure it's come at a cost but we pay no stamp duty which offsets the real estate agents fees etc to a degree & has put a bit of money in the bank & kept us under the threshold so we can go travelling in the caravan. The couple who have bought our home are in their 80s we are mid 60s so you know what they are doing.
Old Geezer
19th Apr 2017
11:26am
It will be much easier when the house is put in the asset test and any OAP is to be paid back form one's estate.
Triss
19th Apr 2017
2:47pm
I just don't understand you, Old Geezer. Why only OAP to be paid back from their estate and not everyone else on a pension? And please don't tell me that bureaucrats and ex politicians and judges are entitled to their pensions because many of them are on welfare if you class welfare as being funded by taxpayers.
There are ex politicians who left politics in 1990's in their early 30's and thirty years later are still being paid a pension by the taxpayers. Now, at that age, they couldn't have paid in much, if any, into the parliamentary super fund so it will have long been used up. They prossibly will live for another 20 or 30 years solely on the taxpayer, therefore welfare.
You can call it what you like, Old Geezer, but they are in exactly the same position as OAP's with not enough superannuation to fund their retirement, therefore they are welfare recipients and to make a difference between them and an OAP is a corrupt practice.
niemakawa
19th Apr 2017
3:37pm
OG. you know I am an ardent supporter of a pension for all regardless of assets or income. Nonetheless you have your right to a point of view so be your usual self and say what you feel.
Farside
19th Apr 2017
4:51pm
It is sufficient in principle to include the house in the assets test. Even better if a universal basic income and pension are paid. Pollies and voters can then bargain as to what caps and allowances should be implemented but at least all assets and income will be recognised.

Repaying taxpayers from the estate for benefits received is a different conversation. It's a good idea whose major benefit of course is restocking the intergenerational kitty, bit like the jackpot from landing on the Free Parking in Monopoly. After all, you cannot take it with you however wealthy forward thinking types would undoubtedly figure a way to game an advantage to the chagrin of their less fortunate bretheren.
Old Geezer
19th Apr 2017
6:00pm
I know two old ladies that live in two multimillion dollars houses. They were set up in these houses by their family so that the houses would be exempt from capital gains tax. Their walls are adored with masterpieces belonging to their families super funds. Both these ladies are on a full OAP and use it for their spending money. Everything else is paid for by their families. They even have a car each that they never drive because it is simply cheaper to register them etc. They regularly take tours and cruise and wouldn't dream of going cattle class. Both have walkers so that they get special treatment and priority over everyone else on planes, ships etc even though neither need them.

Is it fair that this is allowed to happen? It is a good argument why the OAP should be paid back by a person's estate. Note if a $5 million house doubles in value then that's a big tax free windfall for the family.
Old Geezer
19th Apr 2017
6:05pm
Pollies and public servants have their pension as part of their conditions of employment so it is tied to their wages etc. The OAP is just welfare that's is designed to help those who have no other means of support. They are very different indeed.

Let's turn the tables where a self funded retirees family is deprived of their inheritance because the money is being used to support the retiree. If this money was tied up in a house then welfare would be paid and the heirs would not be deprived on their inheritance. Another reason why the OAP should be paid back from a person's estate.
Triss
19th Apr 2017
9:34pm
Like I said, a corrupt practice which was made by corrupt governments to line their pockets. When pollies leave parliament they leave employment so they have no means of support except taxpayer-funded pensions therefore, welfare.
Toddy
19th Apr 2017
9:55pm
I agree. I do believe that everything should be part of the assests test. We chose to live in a smaller house and save to have an independent retirement. Now we are being penalised ? People living in their mansions worth millions are still receiving Pensions when their total worth far exceeds ours.....why?....building inheritence for their children!!!! Why should we have to support them ? INCLUDE the family home in ALL ASSEST TESTS to level the playing field.
niemakawa
19th Apr 2017
10:07pm
@Toddy and why should people who live in mansions have to support those that do not? These people are just as entitled to a pension as you or anyone else is. Pensions for all regardless of assets and income.
ex PS
23rd Apr 2017
8:30am
O.G, have you stopped to consider which voter base the old ladies in a multi million dollar two story house with precious art work on the walls may probably belong to? My guess would be the LNP, so that would put them in the protected species category with this government.
So to do something about the situation we would have to replace the current government, is that what you are advocating?
Your home is something that most people make sacrifices to pay for over a lifetime, even wealthy people see it as a significant cost impost.
Many people have forgone holidays abroad, nights out, new cars every couple of years and many other luxuries in order to buy the house they have dreamed of, neither the individual or the Nanny State has a right to disadvantage people for daring to live their dream.
Ann
19th Apr 2017
11:28am
Well we are in our 70s we have down sized to a 3 x 2 we designed and built, husband has no intention of going into a retirement village. We want to breath. Retirement villages are always built on land nobody else wants near busy roads. Not to mention the owners of the villages want their pound of flesh when the unit is sold.
It is not just the size of the home we live in but the treasures we surround ourselves with, we want to have memories of. That is something the cold politicians forget about. I don't want to sit in a tiny brick paved court yard and look at the view [of a fence]. Exercise is important at our ages also, and a little bit of gardening is therapeutic.
musicveg
19th Apr 2017
1:53pm
Exactly, that is why I encourage my 80 year old mum to stay put in her small house, it has a yard and even though she complains about the work to keep it tidy she knows it is doing her good, she is fit and healthy.
Radish
20th Apr 2017
4:45pm
My 85 year old neighbour is finding it tough now. Fell and broke her femur...she now needs a knee replacement....she is struggling to even get from room to room in her 4 x 2....we have to put our her rubbish bin for her...she just cannot do it....we pick up her mail and give to her also the free community newspaper off the lawn twice a week. She is on a walking frame around the home and uses a walking stick when she goes out...only once a wseek.

Her daughter and son in law come 80 kms each week to do some work around the yard. She somehow gets into her SUV and goes shopping once a week but it is sheer good luck that she manages to get there and back in one piece. Offered to help but she is too independant.

She is as lonely as hell but won't admit it...she is a perfect example of someone who should be in a village or somewhere else rather than rattling around in this large home. We all need to be aware that tomorrow we are not going to be as good as we are today.

Quite a number of couples I know have recently downsized or gone into modern villages...all love it..they do not want to be a burden on their families in the future. Yes, it is a nightmare doing the move but once it is done they said they fel sto much better once the decision was made and getting rid of so much "stuff" was great...it was a burden around their necks all the clutter they had accumulated.
Ann
22nd Apr 2017
6:09pm
Yes, but don't you think our health and our situation in life changes?
What would be suitable for us today may not be suitable next year.

That's why we have a free country we can change our minds as our health dictates.

One character on this site wants all the answers, but I cannot see the perfect answer/suggestion. We have different priorities and ideals and circumstances.

Husband collapsed on Thursday, did I expect he would be in hospital Thursday night? Of course I didn't so how can you plan the perfect retirement home and situation. Unless of course you have a crystal ball to tell our individual futures?
pinky
19th Apr 2017
11:37am
downsizing is a good concept and can work wonderfully for lifestyle but financially it can be a trap. If in downsizing you have a lower cost home, then that extra capital just reduces any pension / part pension you may have been receiving and with the latest asset limits can eliminate any pension and the Pension Card entirely. To me the government wins both ways if they can convince retirees to downsize. The retiree mostly loses.
PlanB
19th Apr 2017
11:39am
Well at my age I do NOT fancy moving nor looking for another home -- I worked long and hard to get here and there is NO way I am going to move NO WAY this is where I wanted to be all my life and I am STAYING here-- darn shame the image of the middle finger would not post here because it was a beauty
feefifofum
19th Apr 2017
11:53am
We downsized from a 4-bedroom home on 5-acres, to a 3-bedroom duplex. It took a couple of years to emotionally let go of the old home but financially, was definitely the right decision - we're closer to all services (chemist / hospital / shopping centres etc.) and we released a chunk of equity from our home to put into Super (so we're even more self-funded retirees than previously). And now, after 3 1/2 years - I can say we really love our new home. Yes it was initially hard to let go of the old home, even though the decision to move was entirely ours.

Although I can understand that being forced to move is never easy, surely, we should all be looking at ways to fund our own retirement as opposed to holding greedily onto a tax-payer-funded OAP, and looking for ways to ensure that we don't "lose any entitlement to it" And in the long run, living in a smaller, more modern home is so much easier for us oldies to look after (smaller garden, less bedrooms to clean etc.) - and another bonus - the kids (and grandkids) can't expect to move in because the place is only big enough for them to visit!
feefifofum
19th Apr 2017
11:55am
I should add, being forced to move is not the answer, but offering incentives (if they are the right ones) could well be a step in the right direction.

But, better shoot me now - I think I may just have supported a LNP policy!!!!!
Renny
19th Apr 2017
12:23pm
Sorry, our pensions, not that I get one, we're funded through taxation. A Labor government rolled it into consolidated revenue. It still exists, but mostvhave forgotten that. We tried really hard to self fund but my husband had an accident and I had to retire early due to stress of teaching. Feel not one iota of guilt that I will eventually get a bit of age pension. As a childless couple we've never got much at all, not that many of our gen did anyway.
Farside
19th Apr 2017
5:02pm
@feefifofum, exactly. I have done similar going from large, old family home that required a lot of maintenance on large block to a new, medium sized home on a small block and put the difference into my wife's super. In another 10-15 years I could see downsizing to something further that was better designed to suit the needs of seniors would be an attractive proposition. An incentive to do so would be welcome.
Farside
19th Apr 2017
5:42pm
@Renny, the Menzies government folded the national welfare fund contributions into CRF from the 1950s.

The funds operations became essentially an accounting exercise by the 1960s. I am not sure when the 7.5% contribution was simply absorbed into the general personal income tax ranges but it wasn't there when I went to uni. By the 1980s it was a distant memory until the enabling acts were repealed.
Adrian G
19th Apr 2017
12:08pm
We downsized three years ago and though it didn't free up any equity in our property as we moved from suburb to city centre, it's a lot nicer place to live as it's flat and only one story. And so much less to clean and less lawn to mow.

Moving doesn't suit everyone, if people don't want to then don't do it.
Farside
19th Apr 2017
5:43pm
well said. We also took into account maintenance and running costs; the new home is much better on both counts.
Renny
19th Apr 2017
12:19pm
We moved because we couldn't afford the rates and power bills where we lived. I was forced into early retirement. We've built a not very expensive house, but it's large. Why? Because in retirement I've got time to do all the stuff that teaching stole from me. Art, music, knitting and crochet. We've been married 46 years and we both need personal space. Despite moving city (not Sydney) to a regional area we haven't made a cent out of it, but we have no debt. That said this was for us a great move. No one, and I don't care how much their house is worth, should be pressured to move from a house, neighbours, community and lifestyle they love. Sick to death of whining millennials telling us what we should do. We got where we are by hard graft starting when I was 15. I'm keeping it. They can have it when I die. If I haven't spent it all! ????????
Andy Leucite
19th Apr 2017
12:24pm
We have thought and are still thinking of downsizing, and none of the thoughts have to do with freeing up money by buying something smaller with some money left over – the problem is that units, on next to no land, seem to cost pretty much what my 4BR house on a quarter acre block would realise. Worries and disincentives include the risk that the cash even temporarily held until a new unit can be bought or built will cause us to lose our part pension. Advice is that on spending the realised money for the next abode, one can then apply for a pension again. However, I am still recovering from the process of applying for a pension in the first place and that was 10 years ago!! It is more complicated now, and dealing with Centrelink for anything is much worse than the nightmare it was even back then, including the various threats and dastardly actions they perpetrate, all proving groundless but definitely leaving mental scars!

I like the idea of freeing up the house for a younger family to buy and use, however it was only a few years ago that our house became spacious enough to feel comfortable in when our three children left home. The space doesn’t gather cobwebs – one room is a study where I spend much of my time (partly keeping out of my wife’s hair, but partly for study, writing family memories, compiling family photo records, corresponding with a huge number of my former students etc), the other two spare rooms are used at least a couple of weeks by various combinations of our 7 grandchildren for afternoon naps, sleepovers etc. The garden is also great to place to engage with them for playing backyard cricket, footy, etc. Much of this flexibility will be lost when buying a smaller place with little or no garden.

Of course selling our family home would not necessarily help provide space for a younger family – the chances are that, at least in this area, a developer would outbid most families, and then knock it down and build several small units on it. Or a rich foreigner would outbid the locals and also knock it down – to build a huge mansion for his or her extended family to move into. This might introduce some interesting and new culture to the street, but doesn’t help the local young couple with two or three kids find something spacious and affordable.

Our family is not keen for us to sell up the family home and I am sympathetic to that – it has been and still is the place where we have had numerous family milestone gatherings around the spacious dining room table and so on, and where we still gather around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, sprawling all around the lounge room as kids trip over wrapping paper, presents, each other, etc. And it is also the area where some of the grandchildren took their first steps, not to mention our own kids. Leaving all that will be hard. Furthermore, it is close to shops, transport, and all three of the homes of the next generation; there are no guarantees that we would find a suitable downsize in such a handy position to all of this. As our bodies continue to get a bit more rickety, a suitable smaller dwelling in our case, would have to be single level, and not many units, townhouses etc are built on one level – an inefficient waste of valuable real-estate for a developer.

However, the house, a very modest weatherboard dwelling which requires lots of maintenance, and which at 75 I am now finding hard, or even unsafe to cope with on my own; and my wife and I are starting to have trouble keeping up with the garden and so on. The costs of all this are starting to drain our barely sufficient budget. So, perhaps we should be looking sensibly into the near and more distant future and downsize while we are vaguely fit enough to do, including being mentally fit enough in terms of making decisions. But of course there is another grating disincentive: as others have pointed out, a lot of money is lost by selling, such as stamp duty, agents fees, legal fees, services reconnecting fees etc ,and that hurts.

There has been some suggestion from our family that they could help out with maintenance and so on. However, whilst I feel that their hearts and intentions are in the right places in this respect , their lives are already so busy with making a living and paying off mortgages , finding time for their children and so on, that all this, plus all working full time with many unpaid hours of overtime on top of this, that they really don’t have much time to help out, even if I was to light-heartedly protest that perhaps they owe us! They don’t really – they and their children have their own lives to battle through, and there will be little time and energy left to lend a hand around our place. So do we hang on, and be carted out of here in a box or an ambulance for a nursing home (more nightmares and horrors!!

Still thinking!! Have been doing this for about three years now, and probably not much closer to resolving things!!
Ann
19th Apr 2017
12:36pm
Hi Andy.
I hear where you are coming from, we were in the same 'boat'. So we built, only paid the agents fee for selling the old property. The tricky thing was finding the land that was near a bus stop, near shops, near doctors and chemist. Not an easy task. But I found the land. Then the trouble started with the builder. Luckily both our professions put us in good stead, much to the builders horror! If you can stand the stress of building go for it. But the worst time to sell is in the colder months, the best time to sell is starting at the beginning of November. Most families want their kiddie settled if they move, into the new home before the new school year.
I guess this situation also encompasses the cost of land. Then winter would be a good time to buy! Good luck!
Nan Norma
19th Apr 2017
1:05pm
Very well written Andy. You've said it all. I'd give you the $100.
MD
19th Apr 2017
8:22pm
A 100 bucks & Andy's said it all eh ? Downsize - well ultimately we're all due for a downsize - coupla options to consider;
1. Perishable container - wood, cardboard, chipboard or similar.
2. Urn - Porcelain, china, plastic, paper mache' or similar.
3. Cryogenic capsule.
Plus other options too macabre to mention. Needless to say, from birth we are encouraged and taught how to live life and once worldly wise, we are loathe to prepare adequately for our inevitable departure. If any one of the numerous reasons regularly mentioned - health, doctors, transport, family, friends & etc- is worthy of, or even a valid consideration, then so be it. But remember, as John Donne was known to say " - because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." Ultimately we each and every one will be downsized insignificantly and in the interim - the scheme of things - the size of our abode is relative to our preparedness for lifes' inevitability. A house big or small, family, friends, whatever, come the time we'll each go it alone. Now maybe the time to re- prioritize ?
Arisaid
19th Apr 2017
12:35pm
We are wanting to downsize but are waiting to hear what the budget has. We need a single storey house with a small amount of land i.e. no apartments, as we have 2 dogs. Also have mobility issues. However, in the area we need to be in there aint much around. I think the amount of stamp duty is a huge hinderance.
Nan Norma
19th Apr 2017
12:45pm
I live in a lowset brick house: minor painting. Everything I need is only minutes away. Why would I want to move away. Plus a more modern house would cost more than my house is worth.
pickles7654
19th Apr 2017
12:48pm
i found this website on downsizing and the report very interesting. well worth having a look
http://residentialparks.com.au/
Sundays
19th Apr 2017
12:48pm
Downsizing does not always free up capital. We moved from a large four bedroom house on huge block of land 8 years ago to a 3 bedroom duplex near the beach and it cost more. Love it here and no regrets. However, I always feel when commentators talk downsizing they mean to push people into smaller, cheaper places. If that suits then incentives will help but as in everything retirees are not a 'one size fits' all group.
Contentment
19th Apr 2017
12:53pm
Down sizing is a negative slant on what I like to call "right sizing ". I right sized a few years ago moving from a 20 acre property to a house within walking distance of shops and work. I have a nice manageable garden and grow my veges plus low maintenance and low energy home. With one spare bedroom for visitors and close to all the amenities I may need as I get older. Best move I have ever made!! My nest egg helps me feel secure and I am free from debt after working hard as a nurse for over 40 years. Right sizing has ensured the changes I made were right for me on many different levels. I encourage your readers to look at these changes in a more positive way and pursue contentment in their senior years.
Contentment
19th Apr 2017
12:53pm
Down sizing is a negative slant on what I like to call "right sizing ". I right sized a few years ago moving from a 20 acre property to a house within walking distance of shops and work. I have a nice manageable garden and grow my veges plus low maintenance and low energy home. With one spare bedroom for visitors and close to all the amenities I may need as I get older. Best move I have ever made!! My nest egg helps me feel secure and I am free from debt after working hard as a nurse for over 40 years. Right sizing has ensured the changes I made were right for me on many different levels. I encourage your readers to look at these changes in a more positive way and pursue contentment in their senior years.
mareela
19th Apr 2017
12:58pm
Downsize and where would a senior go if they are already living near family, friends, work for some, doctors, public transport and hospitals for medical care. Any equity in most seniors homes would be eaten up by cost of housing in areas where they want to live. I for one have absolutely no intention of downsizing due to above comments. I do not have a million dollar property and I think the only people who may downsize are those with huge multimillion dollar homes and no family commitments. I think it's disgusting that the government pits one generation against the other which is what they do by constantly blaming pensioners and baby boomers for all the mistakes and lack of policy they have. All I can say to the government is go away and leave pensioners alone.
Adrian G
19th Apr 2017
1:05pm
Sort of related and making down-sizing harder is the size of houses today and first home buyers wanting to start way bigger than we did.

Our 4th home (my 18th address) was 5br but still it was smaller than most surrounding houses and certainly those I see in local new estates. It's difficult to downsize when everything's bigger.

We started with 3br (only 1 biw) 1bath no garage, paid it off; went bigger, paid it off; built our own, paid it off; downsized, paid it off. Only took 40 years but it was worth it, and I don't think we were ever so committed that we HAD to have two incomes (a failing of our youth I feel).
Zen
19th Apr 2017
1:47pm
Decluttering, simplifying life is a primary desire I have at this stage of life. We acquire so much STUFF through life which drags us down ... getting rid of it is liberating ... freedom to LIVE...to do and BE what really matters ... come ALIVE! Consumer goods are NOT what matters!
Captain
20th Apr 2017
8:54am
Zen, completely agree with you. I used to be able to put all my possessions in the boot of a Holden (except all my books) until I was about 30, now I suppose a 6× 4 trailer (including books). Still a lot but not too bad.

The less possessions you have the more liberated you feel.
commonsensegirl
19th Apr 2017
1:50pm
We had already down-sized and grew out of it! Rooms too small, very little garden area. So here we were sitting on a small dual occupancy property in a sought after area and decided to sell up and make a "tree change" instead. A lovely young couple about to be married bought our small house, close to public transport and good shopping etc and were rapt, and we moved to a larger home on a larger block and couldn't be happier. We each have our own study, we have a couple of guest bedrooms which have been well utilised. And although a good three hour drive from the city, we see our children way more frequently than we did when we lived close by. Go figure!

The negatives of such a move were that we made good money on the transaction (a bigger more modern home in the country was cheaper than our city dwelling) and hence we found ourselves penalised with losing our small part pension. However, we were able to take advantage of the once only availability of not paying stamp duty on a property under a certain amount and being of a certain age, available in Victoria, not sure about other states. That saved us about $30,000!

Suffice to say, we live in peace and quiet and relative safety, surrounded by quality newish homes, terrific neighbours many of whom are of a similar age to ourselves and have done the same as us e.g. sold up in the city and made a country move.

At this stage, we are both mobile in our early 70's and are able to drive the 35 minutes to three regional cities if we need some major retail therapy. We are just 5mins away from a small country town with two supermarkets and other necessary shops. We have a small hospital 5 mins away and larger regional hospitals 35mins away as well should something serious occur.

The thought of having to drive back down the highway to the city for anything other than special family occasions does not thrill us at all.

So, as a previous commenter said, perhaps "right size" is a better terminology - down-sizing is not for everyone as we found out. But "right-sizing" to clean air and surrounded by 24 wineries does have a certain appeal. :))

Maybe in some years to come, we will maybe have to look at buying in some assistance, as we don't have any family members close by. We'll tackle that problem if and when it occurs. In the meantime, we're having the time of our lives.
musicveg
19th Apr 2017
1:58pm
Anyone considered the Tiny House movement?
niemakawa
19th Apr 2017
3:03pm
Downsize only a last resort. Talk of the Government announcing in the budget measures to provide incentives to downsize is a "sweetner" to encourage people to unwittingly hand over their assets to the Government and ultimately take away your right and entitlement to a pension. Don't even consider it. Remember the opposition will never repeal it if such a scheme is introduced.
Rodent
19th Apr 2017
3:11pm
Triss

Your reply to OG is logical, however I doubt it will have any impact on the blinkered views of OG and his wheelbarrow pushing re the Family Home in the Assets Test.
Old Geezer
19th Apr 2017
6:06pm
Correct.
Ella
19th Apr 2017
3:19pm
Reaching 60 and both of us still in busy stressful jobs, downsizing gave us the ability to clear debt and leave full time employment. We also were able to buy a one level smaller house outright and have money to fund our travelling dream. All up a win win situation. I did love our home that we sold but at the end of the day home is where your heart is and any house can be made into a home. The positives were less stress and more time to do happy things together
Contentment
19th Apr 2017
3:27pm
Exactly, why spend the twilight years worrying and making yourself ill. Clear the debt and be content with what gives you happiness... in the end it's relationships and memories that survive!!
Rosret
19th Apr 2017
10:24pm
Ella - my house IS where my home is. For most in our generation our housing debts were paid off a very long time ago.
Downsizing would actually cost money and take us far far away from the ones we love.
- and as for spending the children's inheritance on world trips - that would make me very sad. I have seen the world. I would rather see my children secure in their retirement too.
To each their own I know - and downsizing would be my last resort.
niemakawa
19th Apr 2017
10:34pm
@Rosret, wise words. Many here will not agree about giving a secure future to your children. They expect you to give your assets to them, they think they are more deserving and you are selfish by even thinking of leaving an inheritance to your family. A lot of hopeless losers around.
Rosret
19th Apr 2017
3:35pm
I like my space. I like my multipurpose rooms. ..and its mine - ALL mine HAHAHA!
niemakawa
19th Apr 2017
3:38pm
Keep it that way.
Liverpool Anne
19th Apr 2017
5:35pm
I moved to a smaller house over 16 years ago,2 bedroom, sunroom, dining, lounge, kitchen and bathroom/laundry. No entertainment centre or family room, but plenty of space for me. Surrounding by a decent garden. I grow my own veges and do my own gardening, and as I near 80 this keeps me fit. No way is any pollie going to shift me.
Ann
19th Apr 2017
5:44pm
Liverpool Anne ... good way to go.
Yes we are free of debt and the only thing that annoys us is next doors London Plane tree that they planted a meter away from the boundary fence.
The tree doesn't know it should not grow 7m branches! So we have to cut them off! Poor tree it should be in a park.
Rae
19th Apr 2017
5:58pm
I feel your pain Ann. we should have a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants. A RSPCP.
Liverpool Anne
19th Apr 2017
7:16pm
I agree
Ann
19th Apr 2017
8:20pm
Hi Ladies....the leaves are good for the compost though I guess that is a positive! LOL But we had to spend nearly four grand for protection of all the gutters and valleys on the roof because of the tree!
Deb Dickman
19th Apr 2017
7:22pm
Trying to do it right now. Have the house on the market but no offers yet. Have no real alternative as I have had cancer and chemo, and my husband has had surgery and also has emphysema and other medical conditions. Afraid if we don't do it now, we won't be capable of shifting in the future. This is the dilemma we currently have. Unable to wait for any change in legislation.
Radish
23rd Apr 2017
7:00pm
I feel for you Deb. Yes, it is easy to say that we want to stay in our home while "we are fit and well" but as we all know as we age things start to go wrong.

Much better to make the move when you are in good shape.Actually have just got off phone from a friend in a retirement village and she could not be happier. Said she has not yet met one person in the village who has not said "I wish I had done it sooner".

My friend also said (she has just come back from 6 months in caravan) it was great to just walk out the door and know everything would be as it was when she came home and any maintenance is done by management. All worries about that have gone for her.
Dot
19th Apr 2017
7:52pm
Down sizing you mean I should move into a chicken coop. I've lived in my present home for
51 years a house that was build in the early 50's, how small can one go.
khads
19th Apr 2017
7:58pm
Ok, I've been lurking here for a while, read the comments on this topic. Have done research on downsizing alternative options for retirees. Assuming some are willing to abandon family memories and history to downsize, seems they are limited to a few:

1. Downsize by selling family home, buy smaller place (pay stamp duty), risk reduction/losing pension if selling family home yields too much extra cash or superannuation contributions. Affordable suitable smaller places may be hard to find.

2. Sell family home, buy into retirement village or similar, and suffer consequences both social/environmental (if it doesn't suit) and financial (due to iniquitous contracts). Pay fees for maintenance-management, pay to leave if you decide you can't stand it.

3. Sell family home, invest cash to produce income, try to find suitable private rental accomodation (except there isn't any designed for seniors except in retirement villages), risk rental insecurity, also risk reduction/losing pension if cash assets too high.

4. Rent out family home for high amount (if it is in Sydney-Melb or similar) to produce income, find alternative rental in cheaper but less attractive locale, risk rental insecurity, reduction/loss of pension, pay land tax in some states because you have an investment property that is not your PPL, pay agent for rental management, pay for maintenance etc, live in something like a high rise unit or two storey town house with stairs that is not suitable for older people because developers are not building housing suited to seniors.

5. Sell family home, buy into an "over 55" village near the coast, live in a factory built modular home (some are quite good these days), but live with similar iniquitous contract conditions plus risks as for 3 above.

6. Wait for the Fed/State govts to develop genuine affordable community housing schemes some of which include housing tailored for retirees.... but don't hold your breath. So this isn't really an option at present.

7. Don't downsize, stay where you are, which seems a preferred by many for obvious reasons that many here have described. However, while this is an option, it isn't an alternative option.

Have I missed any options? Can anyone here add some more?

Realistic ones, please, I don't think Mal Trumbull is about to downsize any time soon, even if it was only to Kirribilli House. He'd lose his huge solar PV system for a start, and the new neighbourhood is a bit the wrong side of the harbour....
Arisaid
19th Apr 2017
9:31pm
Thought provoking. Well thought out.
MD
19th Apr 2017
8:24pm
A 100 bucks & Andy's said it all eh ? Downsize - well ultimately we're all due for a downsize - coupla options to consider;
1. Perishable container - wood, cardboard, chipboard or similar.
2. Urn - Porcelain, china, plastic, paper mache' or similar.
3. Cryogenic capsule.
Plus other options too macabre to mention. Needless to say, from birth we are encouraged and taught how to live life and once worldly wise, we are loathe to prepare adequately for our inevitable departure. If any one of the numerous reasons regularly mentioned - health, doctors, transport, family, friends & etc- is worthy of, or even a valid consideration, then so be it. But remember, as John Donne was known to say " - because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." Ultimately we each and every one will be downsized insignificantly and in the interim - the scheme of things - the size of our abode is relative to our preparedness for lifes' inevitability. A house big or small, family, friends, whatever, come the time we'll each go it alone. Now maybe the time to re- prioritize ?
khads
19th Apr 2017
8:55pm
Yeah, helpful. I'm happy with a small cardboard box with my ashes that the worms can distribute to fertilise the vegetation. Potassium, a bit of sodium, iron, carbon (I can be part of CCS, burial of ashes is about the only bit of carbon capture and storage that actually works).

You could of course try responding to the questions/issues I raised rather that just indulging yourself in a bit of grandstanding existential wankery.
MD
20th Apr 2017
8:02am
Only too glad to be helpful khads. It's almost enough to make the worm turn - regardless of whether; box, urn, capsule, whatever.
I get the feeling that you enjoy a little gay repartee (at least I hope so) judging by the CCS comment.

Respond ? And stand accused of being a: be - here - now - onanist !
Moi ? Why try, just go for it and enjoy the moment.
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
1:20am
Upsize could be the way to go . Borrow, interest only. You will have a property with the potential for increased capital gains, to leave to your family and not given to the Government to waste on those that have neglected their responsibilities . Your pension will not be affected and may even increase.
PlanB
20th Apr 2017
12:47pm
Don't worry niemakawa, the Government will find some way of ripping it off you that seems to be the only thing they study on doing, like I have said b4 time for a revolution.
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
3:40pm
@PlanB. Yes you are probably right. All this socialist nonsense coming from all side of politics. I have no responsibility to pay for others' who have not taken steps pre-retirement to put something aside for their dotage. Let them eat cake. I don't care about these type of people, paid my (high) taxes that's all I am required and more to the point willing to do. Can't wait for the revolution to rid society of those "leaners". Make them work (hard) for a living, there is no excuse not to do so.
Raphael
20th Apr 2017
7:02pm
$250k quarantine is too low

Should be 100% of the difference

Agents fees and Stamp Duty alone will cost $50-$100k
HAPPY LOS
21st Apr 2017
9:20am
Built smaller home closer to city nearer to children and grandchildren closer to public transport, everything new included solar so very low electricity, no maintenance, no mortgage. Manage to live and save on OAP,Way to go!
PlanB
21st Apr 2017
10:57am
I want to be away from any city -- and most people -- I avoid cities as much as I can
Ann
21st Apr 2017
11:46am
We built in an older suburb that was developed about 25 years ago near the shops, drs, bus, ocean and parks. 27 klms north of city.
Adult children are around 20 to 30 minutes drive away. Back faces north west so it keeps the house warm in winter. The roof not only has insulation batts, but sisal under the roof tiles and also insulation in the double brick cavity walls. So it is cool in summer and warm in winter. Back veranda is a sun trap facing north west. Lovely in winter to sit out in the sunshine. IN summer it is nice as the sun is high and doesn't get under the eaves. It is just the next doors Plane Tree that is our issue...but are living with the thing by using the dropping leaves in the compost so I guess we should not grumble with dried leaves to mix in with the wet compost! LOL
niemakawa
21st Apr 2017
9:21pm
Talking about downsizing. Unless our Government and all the other politicians start to wake up the only downsizing you will get is from the shoulders upwards.

Source: Daily Telegraph - UK

“Australia's prime minister has offered his country's prayers for the police officers who were shot in Paris and urged Australians in Europe to be wary.
Speaking to Australia's Seven Network, Malcolm Turnbull urged Australian travellers to check for security warnings on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
He said: "Everywhere - but especially in Europe at the moment - pay close attention to your surroundings."
Mr Turnbull said that regional security will be among the topics he will discuss with US vice president Mike Pence, who will arrive in Sydney on Friday.”

Having read this I has a dream it goes like this.

Mr Turnbull should have reassured the Australian people that his Government will protect them from the savagery of muslims. He should make a pronouncement that no more muslims will be allowed to settle in Australia. Added by a declaration that all muslims currently living will be interned and undergo strict security checks and commit them to our values, our laws, our customs. Furthermore he should announce that Islam is not a religion but a Political ideology which is a serious threat to our security and safety. Therefore all mosques in this country will be closed and demolished and the preaching of Islam no longer is allowed and therefore banned in Australia.

I was suddenly woken and soon realised that it was only a dream. Our PM being a staunch globalist and an Islamic sympathiser, as are all globalists, would do no such thing. The Australian people are irrelevant to his cause, which is to adopt Islamic policies for us all.

Vive Marine Le Pen one of a few politicians who tells the truth and is not afraid to speak out for fear of PC. France has one final chance to bring civility, security and safety back to the country. The French people will of course decide their own fate, but I hope they see this great opportunity that stands before them and seize it without hesitation.
khads
22nd Apr 2017
4:05pm
Interesting to see that nobody has posted any comments on my 6 possible options, or have come up with realistic alternatives that I missed. Seems that most here are more interested in saying either what they have done about providing their own self-funded retirement housing (congratulations for being independent/smart/hard-working/responsible...), or posting general political/social comments on the situation. My questions were serious in intent, I was genuinely curious to see if anyone has thought of other options. But, no useful responses. Maybe you have all got it sorted in various ways and this is the wrong forum for me.

Just in case I am wrong, let me ask another hypothetical question before I depart, call it market research. Is there a market for rental housing for seniors who may be single, but maybe would like to share with another to split the costs? And for the social contact that sharing would involve? Or are you all grumpy old men and women who are happy living in splendid isolation till you cark it?

What if someone offered a new house to rent, designed for independent retirees, in an east coast beachside suburb, walking distance to shops, doctors/dentists/bus/train to city, cafes/restaurants, even a local hospital and the beach. The house would be all on one level. Designed with two independent separated living areas (bedrooms large enough to have queen size bed if you need it, lounge or chairs, tv etc, with walk in robe and ensuite bathroom). Common areas would include a generous open plan lounge area, dining, and kitchen, opening onto a covered rear deck. Living area and rear deck would get passive solar heating in winter. Bedrooms and lounge -dining -kitchen with reverse cycle air con. Heavily insulated floor, walls and roof for thermal comfort. A spare bedroom for visitors such as friends or children/grandchildren. Solar PV system on roof large enough (5kWh) to supply most of electricity unless residents were profligate, with provision for future battery storage. Solar hot water. NBN fibre to premises connections for each resident if desired. Shared laundry. Single garage with remote door, internal access to house. Single garage because residents may in future choose to share a car (maybe an electric one?) or walk, or use the bus/train or even Uber. Landscaped garden with rainwater tank fed irrigation system and garden beds for growing vegies and fruit trees. Fenced so (quiet) pets would be OK. Long term (multi-year) joint tenant leases possible for right tenants.

I have the space, and the money (no negative gearing required) to build such a house, provided rent could return slightly better than current term deposit interest plus landlord costs (rates, insurance, land tax, maintenance etc). Looks like about $250-$300/week per tenant at present.

So, are there enough of you retirees who want to downsize from a big house in a capital city,that you could rent for 2 or 3 times that, and try a sea change and share with another? If it didn't work out you could always revert to your city house. Or are you all rugged individualists who won't/can't stand the idea of sharing?

As Farside said "It's as much about unlocking the diversity of housing stock and living in something appropriate to stage of life. It's a personal choice to downsize or not, but if you don't then refrain from complaining about others receiving benefits from doing so."

So, here is one suggestion for "unlocking some diversity of housing stock, and living in something appropriate to stage of life". Some would want entirely their own space. Others may be prepared to share some space, provided they have their own private space to retire to when they feel like it, and security of tenure. Plus the advantages of solar power, some congenial company, and no responsibility for ongoing maintenance. So, is this a viable concept? Or should I just forget this silly idealistic idea, sell the land and let a developer erect another MacMansion, and use the proceeds to go and live on a Greek island? Or Spain... or even better, maybe Portugal.....

If you care to comment on the idea, it would be useful get specific ones rather that political polemics.....
PlanB
22nd Apr 2017
5:17pm
khads, no there is no way I would care to share -- I have the home I wanted and worked long and hard for -- in the place I wanted to live and I intend to get carried out feet 1st.
musicveg
22nd Apr 2017
6:03pm
I think most people could not afford the $200-$300 per week on the current pension.
ex PS
24th Apr 2017
9:19am
khads, I have often thought and have actually mentioned on this site the possibility of home/service sharing so that resources can be shared and people can assert a certain amount of independence.
My suggestion was much the same as yours, but entailed a group getting together and having a purpose designed house built.
I went as far as to suggest the sharing of costs such as home care and maintenance.
I am in agreement with PlanB at the moment but if it came to a decision between going into a facility and having control over my own life, I would choose control.
PlanB
24th Apr 2017
9:31am
exPS I remember your thought on that, putting in to make a retirement thing with lots of Friends -- YES a darn good idea -- better than going into one that is run by money making sods that don't give a hoot.
ex PS
22nd Apr 2017
4:33pm
I planned for retirement and part of that planning was to build a new house on a block of land large enough to plant a decent vege garden, fruit trees and to keep me busy in my retirement.
If I was planning on doing a lot of travelling I would have bought a flat with no garden. Why do people assume that every retired person needs to move into smaller properties. At the end of the day it is no ones business but the ones concerned how they choose to manage their property.
As far as means testing a property, tell me how to realise a fortnightly income from a million dollar home, or better still how to prepare and cook parts of that home and I will consider means testing.
niemakawa
22nd Apr 2017
5:32pm
As some will say not only are you not entitled to a pension, for which you have paid, they want to deny you the right to own your house. They will continue with the rhetoric of "fairness" which is of course baloney. Pensions for all, no means testing whatsoever.
ex PS
23rd Apr 2017
3:38pm
People keep arguing that there is no specific area that isolates tax income to pay for Pensions. This is a misleading and specious argument as there are many services provided by government that are not identified as being supported solely by tax payers.
People are just playing with words to support empty theories.
Yes under certain conditions you are entitled to a Pension, yes you pay your taxes so that the government can pay for that pension. If the government mismanages the funds so that it can not provide the services expected, that is the governments error not the taxpayer or the Pensioner.
This government in particular will sacrifice the well being of the average citizen in order to prop up and gain the vote of the well off.
niemakawa
23rd Apr 2017
3:52pm
@ex PS . Another example is the medicare levy, the funds raised are not quarantined but just go into general revenue, as does all revenue. Tax payers in the UK, for instance, have to make a contribution through the NI scheme. However these funds also go in the general coffers, yet everyone is entitled to an aged pension and it is not means tested. Yes the Government has mislead us all on this and are attempting to deny our rights and more specifically our entitlement to an aged pension. I do not care if a person has a home worth millions or other forms of assets they are as much entitled to a pension as those that rent or have been provided with a home by the Government (taxpayer).
ex PS
23rd Apr 2017
8:17pm
The way I see it the government is already Means Testing the Family Home. A couple that own a home get less pension than a couple who don't, I suspect that the couple who don't own their own home would also get a rent subsidy.
I have nothing against money going towards helping those who haven't had the opportunity to make provision for themselves, but not at the expense of fellow pensioners who have saved in order to make life better for themselves.
The government is trying to turn us against each other so that we don't notice how much they are taking advantage of us.
Arisaid
23rd Apr 2017
8:49pm
NZ aged pensions are not means tested.
niemakawa
23rd Apr 2017
8:49pm
@ ex PS. Next, the Government with the support of Labor/Greens will be raiding our bank accounts a la Cyprus. That is the intention of all Globalists Governments, to enslave everyone with the elitist pulling all the stings. The situation in Western Europe is being replicated here before our very own eyes, but far too many are unwilling to see. There are continued attempts by these globalists to "overthrow: the legitimate Government of the USA. Pundits are saying if Le Pen of Marechon get through to the final round of the French Presidential elections, then there will be riots in the streets. Guess who will be leading these riots, yes of course the Globalists. Many are still trying to derail Brexit against the will of the people. The EU threatening with force some of the member countries over their stance not to accept so-called "refugees".

The main stream parties in Australia are using tactics to bring uncertainty to the people of this country, so as they can bring in more draconian and dictatorial laws to strengthen their hold on the people. The divide and conquer play in full swing.
ex PS
24th Apr 2017
9:30am
Maybe so N, but they would argue that by accepting that the government should control our lives it will make us safer, most people seem to be quite happy to spend the rest of their lives under the heel of a dictatorship than to feel insecure.
It does not matter that governments have deliberately whipped up fear and hysteria in order to control the masses.
A certain European dictator used Jews as a scapegoat, in this new enlightened age it is Muslims and refugees. If it wasn't them it would be someone else, just as long as the government has someone to protect us from so that they can erode our rights even further.
I know many people disagree with the way Muslims and refugees are being managed, but I feel that is important to recognise that these issues are being used by governments to control public opinion and perceptions.
Radish
25th Apr 2017
10:10am
I am just as entitled as anyone to the aged pension as I have worked and paid taxes here since 15 years of age.

However, because I do not pass the necessary tests I will never get a cent.

I accept that and have no problem with it.

However what does get up my nose is the uneven playing field where we have people with huge amounts tied up in the family home and still accessing the Aged Pension. I am not talking one or two million dollar homes...I am talking big, big dollars.

That inequity has to be addressed one way or the other!
TREBOR
24th Apr 2017
7:31pm
No thanks - there are more grand-kids than bedrooms already...
niemakawa
24th Apr 2017
9:23pm
Don't be selfish, your family come last in such situations!! There are more "needy" and you will make room for them if you are a good citizen.!!!
PlanB
25th Apr 2017
8:31am
Well Nie, let the likes of Turnbull make room for the needy -- he has quite a deal of room!
Rainey
26th Apr 2017
4:34pm
Many who downsized a few years back are being harshly punished for doing so after pension changes that we were faithfully promised would NOT happen, but did. I wouldn't consider downsizing now because this stinking mob of fraudsters in power just keep lying, and I wouldn't trust anything they pledged.
niemakawa
26th Apr 2017
4:37pm
And they will do the same again, whether it is the Libs or Labs.
ex PS
26th Apr 2017
5:08pm
Too right Rainey, this mob of vampires don't give a stuff about anybody with less than 5 million in assets. All they want to do is take money from those who haven't got much and give it to their rich campaign contributors.


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