How Do I Know When to Scale Down?

Many property owners who currently own properties larger than they need, wonder when the best time is to sell and scale down.

As we move through the different phases of our lives our needs change.  The large home that was once buzzing with the noise of our kids is now quiet as they have moved on with their adult lives.

It’s a very difficult decision for many to make due to the strong memories that are associated with their homes – and with these memories comes much emotion.

ImageBut at some point in time everyone sells and moves on.  The big question is: When?

In answering this question here are some points to consider:

·         Do you have any health issues that impact on your ability to enjoy your property as you deserve to enjoy it?  For example, do the stairs pose a problem?  Is this impacting on you physically or emotionally?

·         Are you able to care for and maintain the property as you need to?  Large properties, while offering the obvious benefit of space, also come with the added obligation of maintenance.  And maintenance doesn’t come without cost.  So, if you are unable to maintain your property properly then it may be time to move on.  A poorly maintained property will sell for much less than it should – so you could be damaging the value of your asset.

·         Are you able to handle the increasing costs associated with owning a larger property?  Increased rates and taxes, electricity, and water costs often put huge strain on the budget and eat away at capital that will be needed later.

If you answer “yes” to any one of the above questions then it may be time to consider selling.  It’s usually a very tough decision to make.  There are many additional questions that will need to be answered such as:  Where does all the excess furniture go if we scale down?  What will we be able to afford?  What are the costs associated with selling and purchasing again?  How will be cope with the stress?

As challenging as it may be to answer all of these questions, you will be comforted to know that they can all be answered.  It is best to speak to a professional real estate agent that you trust who can help you.

For example, a knowledgeable estate will be able to give you an accurate appraisal on your Imagehome.  But be sure to ask for the facts!  It is no use planning on a “thumbsuck” or unrealistic value.

Why not start looking around to see what properties are available that could suit you?  If you find something you like then it is always possible to make an offer subject to the sale of your existing home.

Approximate costs of transfer and agents fees can also be given – so you can plan your finances well.  And even though selling your family furniture is hard to do – it can be done.  Perhaps other family members could benefit?

While it is a difficult decision to make the important thing is that you make it yourself – on your terms.  Stay in control of the process be being pro-active and sourcing knowledge and sound advice early.

Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa

Email your real estate question to steve.cd@harcourts.co.za.

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