Downsizing with a buyer’s agent in the Sydney property market.


One of my earliest memories in real estate was going through a deceased estate in Balmain. It was an original weatherboard cottage. The paint was peeling off the inside of the house and the kitchen was blackened, the toilet was still outside and the electricity could have burnt the house down, it was so old, the lady had only died three days before. It got me thinking about how attached we are to our homes. If this lady had sold the property 10 years ago she could have been living in a unit with a new community around her, cashed in on her largest asset. Maybe she could have gone on a few cruises and enjoyed a more vibrant life not letting the house fall apart around her and using the extra cash to live.

Working for many years as a buyer’s agent in Sydney I have come to realize that I’m not only helping my down-sizer clients buy property but I am also helping them adjust to the idea of thinking smaller when it comes to their property, something that usually is a first in the property buyer’s life cycle. Let’s face it when we start to think that we need to downsize there is a reason for this. It may be to live closer to family, to cash in our asset to a more suitable accommodation, to move into a low maintenance property, a partner has passed away or someone has offered a great price for your home.

One of my lovely clients and my oldest clients to date was Wilma.  She had owned a lovely shop on the Lower North Shore for many years. She had worked in the shop until the ripe old age of 82 and was looking for a change, as she had been offered a great price on her family home. Being fiercely independent meant that Wilma was at first considering a move to a unit, may be in the East somewhere for a bit of a change.   Her son had originally wanted her to move into a house across the road to him but Wilma was not into this idea at all.

Once I sat down with Wilma and her son to discuss her needs. I realized that she was not seeing something that we could see.  For Wilma had been fiercely independent for such a long time that she was still thinking about buying a regular unit in a block close to the CBD. She wanted modern, easy to upkeep and was thinking about getting a furry friend to keep her company.

We searched for about 2 months and in that time I showed Wilma a variety of properties.  I had also heard about a unit in an upmarket retirement village so that was also on the cards as well. Wilma was very dubious about this idea of being around nosy old people.  She was not prepared to admit to the idea of living in a retirement village and abhorred the idea of “community” and “busybodies” as she put it.

It just so happened that one of my other client’s mothers was living in the same complex so I set up a meeting. Wilma felt much more at ease about the whole thing once she chatted with someone and her perception of being in a retirement village soon shifted.

You see what I needed to work on with Wilma was her perception of a retirement village vs. independence. The right decision was only going to come from her being educated, and her hand being held through the grieving process of a life-changing decision.

For Wilma, her independent nature could have stopped her buying into a community of people that she really connects with and who can give her the support she needs. She may very well have bought an apartment that reflected her doing things on her own and ended up having to resell when she found it harder to look after herself.

The very process of buying into this particular village was not easy either. We followed our usual method by pricing up the property and gaining intelligence through various sources. Then the negotiation began. There were 6 other parties interested and it was a sealed bid scenario that took place. This can be a very nerve racking experience – especially since Wilma had her heart set on this particular property and they were not easy to come by.  The village dealing with the sale give you no feedback whatsoever on price.  Needless to say we secured this fine home for Wilma, not far away from the other party just below our offer.

When working with down-sizers sometimes it can feel like a grieving process, a lifetime of memories to say goodbye to.  A focus on the past and the memories of a home is the very thing that can stop someone from cashing in on their family home and utilizing the extra money to live a new lifestyle. On the flipside when working with an expert in downsizing the process can be seamless with good solid advice that will assist you in making the transition a much more enjoyable one.

Needless to say, I ended up having lunch with Wilma and her new friend that I had introduced her too, they were laughing and sharing gossip. She loved her new home, the community she lived in and really felt like she had made the right decision. Left to her own devices Wilma might have ended up moving into her own apartment only realizing that she would only have to move again. If you need any help with your buying scenario then please give us a call on 0425 221 226.