Thinking of downsizing?


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.

Kerry Shanahan


The value of using your local agent?


There’s no denying the internet is a powerful tool when harnessed correctly.

In the quest for information, however, it can lead to the gathering of inaccurate information which can be potentially misleading.

It’s a great way to start when it comes to searching for the next home of your dreams, however it’s no replacement for a local agent with years of accumulated local know how.
Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Janet Barron, says that apart from the inaccuracy of some online photographs, written descriptions of properties online can be both highly subjective and clinical in nature.

“They can also lack the context which is often necessary to accurately portray the innate lifestyle features pertinent to a particular property,” she says.
According to recent statistics, more than 90 per cent of buyers use the Internet to search for their next home.

Many just use it as a research tool before hitting the road and attending home opens.
However, an increasing number of buyers, whether located offshore,
interstate, in remote areas or those who are simply time poor, rely on the internet as their sole research tool when looking to purchase property.

It may seem like an easy way to cut out the middle man, however, as many will attest, what you see online doesn’t always correlate with what you see for yourself first hand.

Ms Barron says that using a local agent to sell your home offers a multitude of benefits.

“Using a local agent who has invaluable local perspective and knowledge can lead to much greater success in terms of effectively marketing your property to real buyers who are looking for the attributes your property and the area offers,” she says.
Ms Barron states further that a local agent can quickly and effectively respond to queries regarding local services and amenities, including schools and intake boundaries and provide buyers with vital information necessary for them to make an
informed decision.

“A local agent with other listings in the area will also have a valuable data base of prospective buyers wishing to purchase locally and who can be contacted swiftly and easily,” she says.

“This can often be done prior to a home reaching the market which can result in an expedited sale with minimal associated marketing costs.”

She says that an out of area agent, with less local knowledge and experience, is only as informative as the generic information that he or she can glean from the sources of information available to the ordinary man in the street.

“They will not have the in-depth knowledge, perspective and
experience gained from living and/or working in the area that buyers depend on and deserve from their agent.

“Ms Barron says that she always explains to buyers and sellers alike, the value of obtaining and verifying important market information and local determinants for themselves and advises them to do their own research.

“Not only is this a worthwhile exercise, it encourages them to think outside the square and consider options previously either unknown or unconsidered by them.”

“I also urge them to view as many properties in the area as possible to gain their own points of reference. A good local agent will help them understand and appreciate the variability that exists in that particular market place.”

Ms Barron says that word of mouth and personal recommendations are often the best way of finding the right agent for you. She advises speaking to a number of local agents to discuss your needs, obtain market information and to properly consider your property options.

“In doing this, clients will not only obtain answers to many of their questions but determine which agent they would prefer to entrust with potentially their most valuable asset.”

Ms Barron says that it’s also important to check that your agent is a registered Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) member which can be verified easily by phoning REIWA at any time or asking to see a current certificate of registration.

If you are looking to buy or sell, Janet would love to assist you with your real estate needs. Click below to discover her listings and how she can be of service to you:

Janet Barron