Property downsizing is a natural step in many people’s lives, whether it’s time to make the big move to the city, the kids have flown the coop, or maybe the family home has become too high-maintenance.
Selling your home can be one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions of your life, whether you’re downsizing or not. Avoid the most common errors that home sellers make everyday, and take some of the stress out of selling your home.
1. Smaller doesn’t mean cheaper
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because a property is smaller in size that it will necessarily be more cost-effective. While most home sellers are right in thinking they will save on energy usage and utility bills in a smaller place, they can often forget to take into account additional costs like increased transport fees, or potential long-term maintenance costs. Forgetting to weigh up the all the possible costs of your new property can be disastrous for your budget, especially if you are looking for something a bit more cost-effective for your day-to-day life.
2. Buying unnecessary storage containers and furniture
While it’s extremely important to be organised when selling your home, make sure that you don’t get ahead of yourself. If you don’t know the exact dimensions of your new property, or you haven’t purchased it yet, the worst thing you can do is buy unnecessary storage containers, boxes, and furniture that won’t fit; you’ll only end up wasting your time and money. Wait until you’ve sold your home and have measured up the size and shape of your new place.
3. Forgetting to cancel services and utilities
Make sure to prevent any potential financial road bumps after the sale of your home. Failing to disconnect or redirect services like your Internet, phone line and utilities, as well as your home and contents insurance can cause unexpected costs and really throw your budget off balance. An agent worth his or her salt will remind you of this important step.
4. Failing to budget for the move
A sure-fire way to end up in financial trouble is by failing to budget when downsizing. Make sure you leave enough money to pay the bills and home and content insurance of your current home, as well as costs of your new home or rental. To cover the period between selling and buying a new property, look into getting a bridging finance loan. As it can take up to 90 days for funds to process when you have sold your home, the loan can cover you for this three month window, or longer if necessary. Check with your agent or mortgage broker to see if you need to apply for a loan.
5. Leaving it until the last minute
Not giving yourself enough time to pack is a classic mistake, but you’d be surprised at how many people do it. Even the most efficient of organisers would find it exhausting to sort out an entire life’s belongings in just a few days. Give yourself a sufficient timeframe of at least 3 to 4 weeks to pack up your house. Set aside time in blocks of two hours and tackle one room at a time. On a similar note, give yourself time to unpack when you finally make the move to your new downsized home.
6. Clinging to the past
The emotional cost of sorting through personal belongings can be astounding, and is often underestimated by home sellers. It’s only natural to show affection for personal items that have accumulated over the years–old treasures, photos and knick-knacks. The best way to handle this process is by having a downsizing plan in place; write down a list of what to pack and what to chuck. No matter how hard it is, be ruthless and stick to your list, as it will save any nostalgic hurt down the track.
7. Not comparing agents
Your real estate agent has the industry experience and knowledge to make your downsize successful. A big mistake home sellers often make when downsizing is choosing an agent without first comparing the agent against others in the same area. To avoid this, compare agents using criteria that is important for you and your move. An agent who knows the local area will be able to suggest storage facilities or moving companies, while an experienced agent could provide useful tips for downsizing and take the stress out of the process. Add these criteria to your checklist for an agent and find the agent that can make your move that bit easier.
Ready to downsize?
Find the right agent to sell your property, so you can make the move you want. LocalAgentFinder is a 100% free, impartial service that helps you find and compare local real estate agents in your area. Add some basic details online to compare agents’ fees & services in a matter of minutes, and take the first step to selling your home right.