Once the kids have finally flown the nest, a four or five bedroom house with a spacious garden can go from feeling practical to a lot of unnecessary work. With retirement on the horizon, many Mosmanites look to relocate to alternate types of properties such as luxury apartments, or smaller houses more suited to couples, with guest rooms.
Downsizing has so many benefits. Apartment living, for example, can mean far less property maintenance and fewer tradespeople to deal with. The change offers a chance to declutter and even sell valuable items that have been gathering dust. There’s also the lifestyle benefit of living in a property that is much easier to ‘lock-up-and-leave’.
The area’s popularity with families and overseas buyers means there are always people looking to gain a foothold in the area, while permanent residents are in no rush to leave, resulting in a lack of supply.
Having worked with hundreds of property owners to help them find their next home, these are my tips for taking a smart approach.
Downsizing in Mosman: Plan ahead
When it comes to downsizing, start the process twelve or even eighteen months before you intend to move. This will give you time to get to know the market, understand exactly what you are looking for in your new property as well as prepare your current home for sale.
It can be overwhelming to sell and buy at the same time, so my recommendation is to work through the sale process first. Talk to your agent about preparing your home to list for sale and allow time to undertake any necessary repairs or upgrades.
Mosman downsizers are faced with one key problem – lack of supply.
Selling first can also give you a clear idea of your budget, especially if you are keen to free up a proportion of your capital for retirement and not put all your money back into a property.
One key recommendation I give to all my clients is to negotiate an extended settlement period of six months or more when they sell the family home. This will give you time to find a suitable cottage or apartment, go through the process of sorting through and reducing your belongings and furniture, as well as prepare to relocate.
Create your property wish-list
You may be looking for a spacious apartment in Mosman with a water view or a single-level cottage with a garden you can potter in. Take the time to look at what is available and come up with a list of must-haves, should-haves, and won’t haves.
Well-secured Mosman apartments with underground parking and high-end appliances are ideal. If you buy a brand new property, you can expect it to be well-connected. Not in terms of people, but in terms of doing things like turning on the air-conditioning, opening the blinds and checking security cameras from your mobile phone, all with the help of technology.
Room for overnight guests or grandchildren
Depending on the size of your family and how often they visit, you may wish to move to a smaller property while still having bedrooms for your guests. Properties that have three bedrooms with a study can be ideal as they provide plenty of space for visitors.
Think also about where you wish to live. Do you want to be within a stone’s throw of Mosman Village and public transport? Or would you prefer to be as close to the water to enjoy your morning stroll with ocean views?
Work closely with your real estate agent
Ideal retirement properties can be few and far between in Mosman, Balmoral, Cremorne and Neutral Bay. This is why it is so important to connect with an agent who is proactive and has their finger on the pulse in terms of what properties and developments are due to hit the market.
Sought after properties in the area often sell without being publicly advertised so an agent who has their ear to the ground will be able to give you a heads up on potential ‘gems’ for sale.
New developments are limited in Mosman, they are hot property when they do come up, and often sell out while still in the planning phase. If you are looking for a brand new property with minimal maintenance requirements and all the mod-cons, it can make sense to buy off-the-plan.
Again, having an excellent relationship with a local real estate agent is imperative. Your agent will be able to help you research the reputation the developer and quality of architect and builder.
Saying goodbye to the family home can be difficult but most people, after the move, say “I wish I had done this sooner!”. A smaller property provides the time and freedom for an exciting new phase of life, with more convenience and more time to the things you enjoy.