Things to consider before downsizing to an apartment

If you’re spending more time cleaning the pool, managing a large garden and cleaning rooms in your house that have barely been used since your grownup kids left the nest, it’s probably time to seriously consider downsizing your home and the to-do list along with it.

Now is the time to think about lifestyle and release some capital while you’re at it, enabling you to relax more, live in a home that better suits your needs moving forward and gives you the security of extra cash in the bank to enjoy the kinds of things you perhaps couldn’t afford to do before (or didn’t have the time for).

Because of their low maintenance ease, apartments are a popular choice for downsizers. But not all apartments are created equal, so it pays to do your research and choose the right property to suit your specific circumstances. 

Below are some tips and things to look out for.

Choose an apartment that will suit you now AND in years to come

While a spacious double storey townhouse may be perfect for now, consider how you and your spouse/partner will cope with stairs in years to come. Many apartment complexes today offer lift access, and this can be a great option.

Check out the building & the type of residents that live there

Ask the selling agent about the type of people that live in the building. Are they predominantly owner occupiers or investors (you probably want to avoid the property if it is the latter)? What is the primary age group of occupants – young families, singles and couples or downsizers? If you’ve never shared walls with neighbours before, the answer to this question will be critical. Smaller boutique complexes are increasingly popular with downsizers as they offer a greater sense of community in which people get to know their neighbours. For many people, this aspect alone is the most important. 

Location, location, location!

Consider the proximity of the apartment complex to amenities, green open spaces, recreational facilities and anything else that’s important to you for that leave the car at home village feel. After all, downsizing to an apartment is commonly a lifestyle choice, so location will be key to ticking that box.

Understand the strata arrangements

Apartment owners share in the owner’s corporation that owns and manages the building and common property. Looking into the strata rules and regulations will let you know if you can have a pet, what type of renovations you can do and the strata fees (if any) that you will be up for etc. Before buying, you should commission a strata report from your solicitor or conveyancer detailing the financial health and history of the building.

As is the case with any property purchase, doing your homework when downsizing to an apartment is key to a good buying journey and future in your new home. If you’re unsure, you could always try apartment living by renting for a while to see if it’s for you.

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