Many homeowners who have been considering selling to downscale to a smaller home when they retire believe that when house prices are increasing slowly, they should hold out until things get better.
They lose sight of the fact that the basic drivers in the property market tend to stay the same - in good times and bad. Families will still need to move to areas with good schools and be near a university or a college. People still need extra space to work from home or to accommodate an additional family member, or they want to move to an estate that has the amenities they need.
If you sell your home at a high price, you will almost certainly also be buying your new property at a high price. The opposite also holds true – at times when property prices are increasing more slowly than usual, it’s unlikely that buyers will pay an inflated price for your home. So, if you wait until the perfect time to sell your home with a view to downscaling, you will almost certainly pay more for the home you’re retiring to.
Most estate agents advise that if you know you will be retiring soon, you should sell as soon as the decision is made. Then you can buy a smaller home that suits your needs in a retirement village or a communal housing complex. The complex should have all the facilities you might need as you get older so that you won’t have to move again.
Keep in mind that more expensive properties generally take longer to sell because there are fewer buyers in the higher price ranges than at the lower price levels. However, there are still homes that do sell quickly or in a reasonable space of time. For example, the R1 million to R4m market has remained relatively active – even during the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are some properties in all price ranges that sell quickly, like those in high-demand areas with good schools and other amenities. But keep in mind that your property needs to be priced correctly from the start if you want it to sell within a reasonable timeframe.
Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer