Sell the family home and sail into a new life
Empty-nesters – parents whose children have left home to study, travel or move to their own homes – often find it difficult to sell their family homes because of the memories and emotions attached to these properties.

Many also put off the decision because they feel that downscaling will be accompanied by a dramatic decline in their lifestyle.

However, says Harcourts Africa CEO Martin Schultheiss, this is not necessarily true. “Smaller, more modern homes often actually mean that older people can enjoy a better quality of life, including more personal security, much lower property maintenance costs and more time to travel, spend on a hobby or even start a new business.

“What is more, with the demand for newly-built homes currently in the doldrums, this is a good time for those buying their retirement accommodation to get more value for their money. With cash in hand from the sale of their family homes, they can negotiate strongly for additional floorspace and luxury features to make their new nests very comfortable.”

As for the actual move from a large home to a smaller one, Schultheiss acknowledges that it can be very daunting to have to sort through possessions accumulated over decades and decide which to keep, which to donate and which to sell.

However, he says, it is worth taking the plunge. “The longer you put off a sale the more chance you have of having to sell under undesirable circumstances, such as ill-health or just the inability to keep a big home in a good state of repair.

“It’s much better to sell your home on your own terms when you can ask a reasonable price and dictate to some extent the value and terms of sale. Additionally, the younger you are when you move, the easier it is to get settled in a new home.”

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