EVEN THOUGH I’VE SEEN MY SHARE OF MARKET CHANGES IN 30 YEARS WORKING IN SYDNEY’S EASTERN SUBURBS, I’M STILL CONVINCED THAT TODAY’S DOWNSIZERS ARE IN A GENUINELY UNIQUE POSITION.
The fact is that they hold all the cards in one of the most desirable real estate markets in the country. But not every downsizer I meet knows how to make the most of their situation.
Even the most ‘asset rich’ seller still needs to keep a few key points in mind:
DOWNSIZE BEFORE YOU’RE DESPERATE
This is a good rule of thumb no matter where you live. It may be many years since you last bought property or moved house, in which case it’s easy to forget how much time and energy it really takes.
This is why I always encourage sellers to downsize some time before they feel they absolutely have to. It can be an emotional decision to make to put a beloved home on the market, but going through this process later, when you have fewer resources, is always going to be the tougher option.
BUYING FIRST IS OFTEN THE BEST OPTION
Many property owners see buying first as the riskier option. After all, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to make up the difference between the cost of your new property and the sale price of your previous home.
But for those in Sydney’s east – especially people who own and want to stay in more sought-after suburbs like Coogee, Bondi and Clovelly – my advice is usually to focus on buying first. With these markets still rising steadily, there’s a risk that you’ll be priced out of the suburb you want to live in before you find a home that meets all your needs.
PRIORITISE VIEWS AND LOCATION OVER SIZE
If you’re used to living in a larger family home with extra bedrooms, an expansive kitchen and a spacious garden, the thought of moving to a place half that size (or smaller) can feel claustrophobic, to say the least.
This is where I encourage sellers to think long term. It’s a harsh reality to face, but the space you’re focused on today will gradually turn into tomorrow’s maintenance issue. On the other hand, factors like a fantastic view or proximity to your favourite shops will be advantageous for many years into the future.
CONSIDER MOVING TO A LIFESTYLE DEVELOPMENT
The idea of moving into a lifestyle development can be similarly challenging for downsizers who’ve always maintained every aspect of their homes. But based on my experience watching many of my clients make the decision to move into these types of properties, the benefits far outweigh any perceived downsides.
As well as having all your property maintenance taken care of, you’ll instantly be part of a community of like-minded people. Best of all, it’s often possible to have your stamp duty waived when buying into a development.
No matter where you live, downsizing has its challenges. But my experience tells me there’s no better time to consider it if you’re living in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.