If you’re sick of weekends spent on the back end of a wheel barrow, yearning to sample the inner city lifestyle or you’ve finally watched your youngest child pack up for good, then chances are you have been debating the pros and cons of downsizing your living situation.
Moving from the family home into a smaller house or apartment means also downsizing your ‘stuff’ and for many this can be the hardest obstacle to overcome when changing your lifestyle.
Although it can seem daunting for many, downsizing your home and your belongings can be a liberating experience.
Abel McGrath property consultant, Kerry Shanahan, says aside from the physical task of downsizing furniture and belongings, there is also the mental drain that comes from cutting emotional ties to the family home.
“Every room is generally full of happy memories and even some of the most basic possessions are valued treasures to the potential downsizer because of the memories attached,” he says.
Mr Shanahan says the first task for those considering downsizing is to decide what sort of property will best suit their needs.
He says often potential buyers are not mentally ready to make a radical move from a sprawling family home to a lock up and leave apartment and should sometimes opt for a medium term move in the interim.
“On a number of occasions I’ve talked people out of apartments that I’ve been selling because I genuinely didn’t think they were ready to make such a radical move,” he says.
“The potential buyers agreed and instead opted for a townhouse with a small outdoor area as a better move in the downsizing process.
He says most downsizers have a suburb or general location they have in mind when they make the decision to downsize.
“Because in most instances they are deciding to move to a property of lesser value, they are looking at attributes such as proximity to family and friends, lifestyle, access to medical and shopping facilities and also public transport.”
Mr Shanahan says most downsizers are doing so because their dependents have left home, they are looking to free up capital, they have medical issues or because they want to move to a more easily manageable single level home.
“When moving from a larger family home to a more compact property, the most important elements you should consider are the size you would like, functionality and location.
“Unfortunately for Western Suburbs residents who want to remain in the area they have raised their families, there are a limited number of options available,” he says.
Council resistance to higher density in established areas and the prohibitively high cost of land in the Western Suburbs has only exacerbated the lack of supply of smaller houses and townhouses.
Mr Shanahan says with an ageing population a reality across Australia, demand is increasing for small blocks to accommodate smaller homes and townhouses for the downsizing population.
The recent success of the release of smaller blocks in suburbs like Mount Claremont, he says, is evidence of the growing demand.
“Once potential downsizers get over the emotional aspect of letting go of long held possessions and family heirlooms, most downsizers are more than happy once they have made the move,” he said.