Here’s why South Africans are choosing to downsize their homes!


During an economic decline, downsizing becomes more common as homeowners find themselves increasingly cash strapped and debt ridden, but this is not the only reason motivating South Africans to move into smaller homes.

Selling to downscale due to life stage refers most often to homeowners whose children have left home, or they are merely becoming too old to maintain a larger home, and so they decide to downscale to a smaller or cheaper home.

Downsizing can also free up a considerable amount of money each month that can be put to good use, such as boosting your retirement fund, decreasing debt or saving for a family holiday.

Two other reasons commonly cited by people selling larger homes are lifestyle and security.

Compact homes generally require less maintenance, which means homeowners can get out and enjoy life rather than spending weekends mowing the lawn and attending to a seemingly endless list of basic maintenance. And as the smaller properties are usually situated in gated communities or estates, they offer a greater level of security.

Up to 70% of the homes currently for sale  are by older couples who have raised their families and are now downsizing and prefer the “lock-up-and-go” homes in secure complexes as this is a more convenient lifestyle.

 Although it’s certainly not always the cheaper option, people place a high premium on the peace of mind afforded by living in a secure, access controlled complex or building rather than in a house with large grounds.”

According to a recent report released by FNB Property Economist John Loos, the overall percentage of South Africans citing ‘downscaling with life stage’ as a reason for selling, rose substantially from 13% in 2008 to 27% in 2016.

If you think there is even a possibility of downsizing in the near future, start the process slowly by gradually getting rid of things that you haven’t used in years and when you decide to go ahead with the move, you are making informed decisions and it won’t seem such an insurmountable task.

Planning ahead will help one navigate the ordeal with less stress:

 5 tips to planning a stress-less move:

1. Start thinning out your belongings at least three months before the move

2. Use floor plans to prearrange your furniture before the move

3. Be creative and recreate and incorporate elements of the “old” home in the new home

4. Go digital with Memorabilia like photograph albums, which can then be stored on a computer or external hard drive.

5. Spoil yourself while reducing one’s possessions.  Its a great time to invest in new, high-quality bedding and bath towels.

They may be small luxuries, but a few things make one feel as comfortable and snug as fluffy bath towels and crisp new sheets.

And finally

No matter how welcome the move may be, it’s almost impossible to not experience a sense of loss and nostalgia, especially when sorting through one’s treasured possessions collected over many years, so it’s important to remember that the move is a fresh start rather than a sad goodbye.