Downsizing does not have a ‘one size fits all’ solution and needs handling carefully.

The mere thought of a downsize is daunting and can overwhelm any retiree. Coming to the realisation that it’s time to move on from the family home may take many years. The difficulty is, as an agent, how do you approach and discuss this topic while maintaining respect and understanding?

Questions such as:

  • Is your home too big?
  • Are there rooms you just never go into?
  • Do you worry about the maintenance?
  • Do you want to reduce your efforts in the day to day upkeep?

The big one for me is:

Does this home still serve the purpose you bought it for?

Just the idea of going through the process of packing away a lifetime of belongings and getting a property ready to list and sell can be overwhelming.

We’ve project managed hundreds of downsizes and have seen it all! With the correct approach to a downsizing makeover project, your vendors can have a more profitable and lower stress outcome to begin the next phase of their lives.

Most people just think of the option and term of ‘downsizing’, but I like to think that there is a more beneficial result from the term ‘rightsizing.’ The key is to make the solution ‘optimal.’ To ‘downsize’ implies simply moving to a smaller place while to ‘rightsize’ is to convert to a more optimal space.

This could mean a vendor initially converting an existing home, adding a granny flat, or extracting hidden value from their current property to maximise options, before scaling down into a smaller property.

The rightsizing trend now is commonly tied to lifestyle-improvement goals. Often, a homeowner is motivated to rightsize post the family growing up; post the realisation of spending too much time maintaining a big house and yard; or post paying off a home loan.

Higher motivators also involve the desire to retire and to live closer to the beach, on the mountains, or just about anywhere that offers cosiness with the amenities of life. Rightsizing is all around us.

The most important step to rightsizing is maximising the sale value of what a vendor has. We work out the best strategy according to their individual requirements and will:

Talk through their needs, desires, and budget to help them to decide whether they should stay on the same property or sell the property.

Get to work deciding on a strategy from de-cluttering the home, implementing small renovations, or totally maximising the development potential of their home before selling.

Perhaps convert that little office into a bedroom for added value, declutter and restyle, if needed, to attract a more affluent market, or totally update the landscaping and paint colours to attract a younger more affluent client.

The most important step to rightsizing is maximising the sale value of what a vendor has.

My belief is, it is the job of our community as professionals in this space, to give the utmost care and service to our elders. This demographic of people are often overlooked, or the expectations of what they must organise to make this move of selling the home are just not achievable alone, so they become distressed and push back or worse still – never move.

Why is staying put often not the best outcome? Because often staying living in the family home can be detrimental to health, and given ongoing maintenance issues, a home can often become a hazardous environment.

It was this reason I wrote my book ‘Rightsize Your Home, The Empty Nesters Guide to a Stress Free Downsize’.  It is a comprehensive guide from change management to logistics combined with tools and templates to assist. I was motivated to write it as I saw too many people stuck in their homes, well after they should have left. Often their homes had become unsafe and yet it had become easier to stay than go.

I think it’s important to help our older community to consider making the move to downsize before it gets too hard, and to get more out of retirement.