The art of downsizing well

There is much focus in the Real Estate world on upsizing your home – more living space, extra bedrooms, adding a yard or a pool. This is only natural as families expand and grow, and we love helping clients find the perfect property for their changing needs.

At other stages of life, however, bigger is not always the answer, where maintaining a large property becomes impractical or unnecessary. We believe that there is an art to downsizing effectively. This article outlines our best tips for managing the process with less stress and a more rewarding outcome.

At Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory, our goal with any client thinking of downsizing is to empower them throughout the process to ignite an authentic joy and excitement about their new life. Brady Yoshia, Founder and Director of Brady Marcs, shares her best advice for perfecting the art of downsizing your home to upsize your lifestyle:

“People can be nervous about moving from a bigger property to a smaller one and see it as a difficult transition, but my experience is that it can be a fantastic one when managed well.”

The hesitation often comes from the work required to sift through years of accumulated furniture and contents – not to mention the memories and milestones that family homes represent. The answer is to find a fresh new space that better fits their needs and aspirations.

The secret to downsizing well is approaching the transition one step at a time and bringing in experts when you need them. One advantage that many downsizers have over other property purchasers is a more relaxed timeline. Downsizing is a transition, not just a transaction, and therefore patience, insight, and connections to off-market opportunities can be extremely rewarding.

The most significant advantage of downsizing is the ability to align your property more closely with your needs and goals. Former essentials such as proximity to schools or transport to the city can be traded for other features: easy walking, nearby parklands, and the lock-it-and-leave convenience of apartment life.

The goal is to give clients back more time in their day – fewer rooms to clean, less maintenance in the garden, and shorter preparations required to leave the house.

Clients often tell us they no longer want to be maintaining a swimming pool or a large garden, or the time needed to be cleaning a large home their kids have moved out of is unnecessary and taking away from other pursuits and interests.

The secret is knowing that these concerns can not only be addressed, but in finding the right place, many of the benefits still remain. Some strata properties, for example, feature impeccably-maintained common areas, including gardens, BBQ areas, gyms, swimming pools, and even music rooms or business meeting spaces.

What to look for

‘Light and bright’ will make a huge difference
Excellent natural light helps a home emanate a happy atmosphere and feeling of space.

Have an outlook or view
A property with a scenic outlook can significantly enlarge the perceived sense of space and openness – especially if it overlooks trees or water.

High-quality fixtures and finishes
Attention to detail in the layout and interior design will often make all the difference, including the quality of finishes and materials.

Keep a few bedrooms
The number of bedrooms often influences the amount of living space in an apartment, so including a few extra bedrooms ensure the living space ratio is just right. Additional bedrooms also allow for guest rooms, study, or a hobby space without crowding other areas.

Find a building with a great community feel
Established buildings (especially ones with a high number of owner-occupied dwellings) can have a more welcoming community feel as the resident turnover is less-frequent, and neighbours have all had a chance to meet each other.

What to avoid

Brand new buildings or off-the-plan
Any context where it is not possible to physically step inside a property before purchase presents a lot of potential risk and uncertainty. Established properties have also often gone through the initial phases of settling in, and potential issues are more likely to be identified and remedied.

Current, future or potential development
Asking questions about special levies or upcoming works in a building is essential for any buyer; however, it is typically even more critical for a downsizer. For many clients, downsizing is also often linked to more time  spent at home. The last thing a buyer in this context would want is to be in or near a building site. The Local Council website will provide information about proposed development nearby, but walking the streets to read signage or look for Development Application notices can also help identify potential works.

How to declutter

The trick to downsizing well is preparation and organisation. Being methodical and intentional, approaching one room at a time, and creating pre-determined criteria for what stays and what goes will make the process smoother and more efficient. The team at Brady Marcs has an extensive network of professionals who can assist, including declutterers, cleaners and removalists.

Donate to charity
Downsizing provides the opportunity to donate clothes and goods to charity and support families in need – this includes furniture, both large and small. Some charities are happy to send people to your house to evaluate what will be helpful to them, making the process easier and more efficient.

Selling items
If you would prefer to sell items, particularly items of value, there are many ways to do this online without needing to host a garage sale. Using a reputable service can help minimise risk in the process and help maintain a degree of privacy.

Include items in the sale contract
Large furniture items that were custom-designed for the house, or simply impractical to move, can be added to the sale contract when you sell your existing property. Such items could include a billiards table, dining suite, built-in office furniture, or children’s play equipment, and may even be an added incentive for potential buyers, especially if the furniture was custom-built for the property.

Share memories with family and friends
Including family in the process of downsizing by setting aside items that bring back cherished memories can be a special way to make the process more meaningful. Consider items you can pass on to new generations while sharing the stories and significance of particular things.

Downsizing can become an exciting process when handled step-by-step. Using professionals at the right time can make the job more relaxed and rewarding, connecting you to your perfect property match. The most common feedback we receive from clients after they have settled into their new lifestyle is, “why didn’t we do this earlier?” 

If you are considering downsizing and would like to be better prepared about what to expect or where to start, the Brady Marcs team are here to help. Book a no-obligation consultation via either traditional phone call or video chat with one of our expert Buyers Agents via the Brady Marcs website.