Since 2003 I have predominantly spent most of my career selling apartments and townhouses to people downsizing. Over time I have been able to better understand the major move from big too small. So from my experience here’s a general breakdown of what I’ve seen people experience through this time.
By no means is downsizing a small thing, I’ve first hand watched agents get frustrated waiting for people to make one of the biggest decisions of their life in that moment and it’s always annoyed me to think that all the agent wants is to get a commission rather than help assist someone into their next transition in life. Anyway, let’s get into the reality of downsizing and what steps you need to take to go to the next stage.
So first things first, how big is small? I find that with a lot of people thinking of selling the family home for a less maintenance lifestyle, usually get caught in middle grounds. The thought of moving to a 10 square, 2 bedroom apartment just seems far too extreme and that more space is needed, mainly for when the grandkids come around or for visitors staying. The choice then moves to a slightly larger apartment or townhouse which generally has one to two extra bedrooms that remain empty for the majority of the year.
Now there’s nothing wrong with buying a property that’s a little bigger than what is actually needed, though what needs to be understood with these decisions is more the financial downfall that you may face rather than a sound investment. From my experience, what I have found is that people who have opted to purchase a 3-4 bedroom home, that is essentially smaller than the family home, yet has that little extra room for visitors, have found within 2-4 years, the extra space isn’t being used as often as expected to make it feasible to keep cleaning it every week.
The biggest problem about this is that in many cases, 2-4 years is not enough time for the market to see growth in your property and the decision to sell either comes at a loss or you staying in a home that is too big and unused until the market decides they will meet your price.
The best option would be to very much consider making a move for yourself and not your visitors and decide from the beginning what would be the perfect amount of space for the those permanently living there. This should help with the long term financial investment and save you the stress of moving again and again.
The next thing that I noticed is getting your head around living a minimalist lifestyle. This generally means out with the old and in with the new. This is much more an emotional roller coaster of getting rid of objects that have been part of your life for a long time. So here’s the thing. It becomes nearly liberating once you begin the process of selling or donating your past. It is amazing to think that I have had clients that have stayed 5 plus years in a house that is far too big for them based on the connection they have with objects that they know won’t come with them. The sad part is that sometimes these moves are then forced to happen due to injuries such as, hip replacements, knee reconstructions, severe back problems, etc.
Through this stage, I personally believe eBay should be your best friend. It is a very easy application to use and for as low as 99c you can have people come to your house and pick up items that you would normally pay to get rid of at the tip. If eBay is too difficult to figure out, jump on an app called Airtasker, here you can post a job for someone to come and organise the selling of all your objects and load them to eBay for very reasonable prices. Other options of course is to get St Vinnies down to see what they’ll take, have a garage sale, gumtree or post in local community groups of Facebook that you’re part of.
Once you start to move some of the items, you’ll find that it is slightly exciting and sometimes addictive to keep going until you’re down to the bare essentials.
After you get your head around these first 2, then the rest becomes a lot simpler. If you decide to go the whole hog and move to a suitable size for yourself, then location will probably mean more to you than anything. If you’re not providing the extra space for visitors, big or small, then place yourself close to them so you can visit with ease and use there space. Ensure that you are in close proximity to a shops and most importantly… cafes! You’ll find without lawns to mow, or a house to clean, sipping lattes with friends seems like a very good idea.
So what’s attractive about making the move a touch earlier? Those I’ve assisted in downsizing earlier in life have generally made the best use of the low maintenance, lock up and leave lifestyle. Most put an effort in creating a well balanced daily routine of self-development, whether it be at the gym, going for walks, swims and runs, others prefer enjoying the daily company of friends and family with the ability to move from one place to another without the thoughts of going home to mow the lawns or vacuum 4 bedrooms. Though the main change I see, are the countless trips away to destinations all over the world.
The best part of my job is seeing the transition from the shock of going big too small to the enjoyment of life and the adventures to come. My only advice is, make the decision to downsize yours! Don’t let external influences force you to stay in the big home or that unexpected injury force you to move, OWN the moment. Every downsizer I have ever sold too has always been ecstatically happy with the decision, most always poise the question of “why didn’t I do it sooner?”
So far from what I have gathered, it’s a lot easier than it seems.
I hope this has helped give some insight to downsizing. If you’re considering downsizing and would like to discuss more about what to expect, please feel free to connect with me anytime on 0402 214 257 or firstname.lastname@example.org