Downsizing not downgrading


My property search diary from Location Location Location Australia Season 3 | Episode 7 – Search for downsizers in Wagga

What a great couple Sue and Barney were to work with. In their 70s, they had bought and sold numerous properties over the years and generally seemed pretty savvy.

They knew Wagga well, having lived there for many years when their kids were young and also visited many times over recent years as their son and his young family had made it their home. However they hadn’t actually looked at any houses prior to our search. Which meant that we were more on an orientation course than a property search.

The budget they set was a little arbitrary, neither based on the market nor on the limit of what they could afford, rather it was what they wanted to spend and they hoped that it would be enough to get them what they want.

This is one of the reasons why internet searching on its own is not sufficient research. Properties look great online, as real estate agents typically pick the most flattering photos! It’s not until you physically inspect houses that you get a sense of such elements as room sizes, ceiling height, natural light, general state of repair and, possibly most importantly, the neighborhood.

After looking at a few houses, Sue turned to me and said “we are downsizing, not downgrading”. I thought that was a great quote and really summed up the challenge a lot of empty nesters face. Barney was really keen on a double garage and they both wanted a second bathroom. Houses that met their criteria in the more established and desirable suburbs of Wagga were beyond the budget they had given me to work with. Yet their brief could easily be met in the newer housing estates that were located a bit further out of town.

So the age old debate of house versus location becomes the subject of yet another search. I suspect that Barney and Sue will probably stretch their original limit because otherwise they were really looking at the same properties that young families would be considering, without the same stamina for either compromise or renovation. And there is nothing like competing with a first home buyer to make you feel like you have gone backwards down the property ladder!