Before we consider the advantages and disadvantages of downsizing your home – you have to consider that your home is probably the biggest ‘emotional investment’ you have ever made.
And we feel that emotion strongly in Ireland.
According to research by the ESRI, we are the empty nest capital of Europe with a whopping 70.6pc of homes considered under-occupied, compared to just 15pc in places like Italy and Greece. It’s even higher among the over-65s with an astonishing 91pc of houses far too big for the number of people who live in them.
We don’t like to move.
And it’s not just because of the memories; it’s also about the stuff. As social commentator and comedian George Carlin keenly observed –your house is a place where you keep your stuff.
What do you keep? What do you give away?
How do you part with a house that has, literally become your home?
And yet, moving may be one of the smartest financial moves you will ever make.
Principal private residences (i.e. your home) can be sold free of all capital gains tax so you won’t incur any revenue bill by selling up.
The other obvious advantage is cost saving. Your electricity, gas/oil and insurance will all reduce by moving to a smaller home. Older houses are much harder to maintain, so switching to a modern apartment or house could be a great idea for you.
Yes you pay income tax on rental income, but if you are over 65 you can earn up to €18,000 [€36,000 for a couple] tax free.
Denise O’ Conner article