Life’s all about timing – just think of the lyrics of the 1962 song “Turn Turn Turn” by The Byrds: “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
The lyrics include a time to be born and a time to die; a time for war, and a time for peace; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
Speaking of which, there’s very definitely a time to take a big breath, and a time to downsize.
Over the past 18 years or so I have stood alongside many “downsizing” couples and singles guiding them through the process of selling their existing home, searching for and finding their new home, and then all the steps forward required to complete the journey.
A major observation is that it’s all about timing, and my strong advice is not to leave it too late.
Age equals energy and that’s a fact. There can be a lot of mental and physical energy required when you finally take on the process of downsizing.
There are big, important decisions to be made which are crucial to a happy downsize. Sadly, some leave it too late, and it turns out to be extremely stressful and problematic and can even impact on your health.
One of the cases that comes to mind is an older (80+ years) client who, in her everyday life, was quite active and clear thinking.
Everything appeared to be going well during the listing process, and I believed she was managing quite well. But I was wrong. She called me in tears in the first two weeks and was quite overwhelmed by it all.
I dropped and ran to spend the afternoon scheduling a whole range of tasks from packers to cleaners to handymen.
This got her back on track, and we worked together to make the move.
She is now happily nestled into her new (much smaller) home and lifestyle. She was happy to admit that she had left it too late.
Another older (80+ years) couple who were well supported by a large family also began to lose ground a few weeks into the sales campaign.
Even though the family helped with preparing for Open Homes, the emotional stress of such a big move began to take its toll, so much so that the wife was taken to hospital at one stage.
The family then decided to move the couple to a beachside unit for the remainder of the campaign which was a perfect strategy. The family even went ahead and set up their new home in a 60+ retirement resort, so they were able to just walk in the front door and begin to enjoy their life again.
Downsizing should be considered anywhere from the mid-50s to the mid-70s if you’re to have the tools you need to complete the process.
Ageing is not your only consideration in wanting to downsize – there’s also the matter of timing the market.
Do your best to sell and buy in the same market. No matter what, you don’t want to be caught selling your home and then waiting too long without purchasing or committing to purchase off-plan, in case the market rises.
Some downsizers are comfortable with purchasing first and likewise, it’s a good idea to then get your property sold as soon as possible. That’s simple real estate logic.
It’s all about timing, and when you get it right, you have a smooth transition to a brand-new lifestyle of low maintenance, more convenience, more peace and security and more enjoyment. Could it be your turn?
Jodie McDonell is a property downsizing specialist. She has been working in real estate on the Sunshine Coast for more than 18 years.