Downsizing 4 - Create Your Own Path

Remember that you and your situation are unique.  What is suitable for one is not suitable for all.  So put the kettle on and have a cuppa while I recount some case studies to inspire you:

So, you want to down scale the size of your property AND you want to stay in the Hills?

Option 1) You could build.

That’s exactly what two brave local couples have done.  Having weighed up all the options they decided what they wanted just didn’t exist.  Couple one, were lucky enough to already own some land near to their exisiting home - they felt comfortable designing and overseeing the build themselves.  Couple two paid a premium for well located land and have selected a ready-made design that suits their needs.  Both will end up with the perfect home that will see them into the future.

Option 2) Sell then buy

The more traditional approach of simply selling your larger property and finding an established smaller home is still a good option.  Recent clients of mine did just this and planned it to perfection.  They wisely foresaw that it would be relatively easy to sell their home of 10 years but finding what they wanted/needed was going to be like finding that proverbial needle in a haystack.  So they put themselves in the best position possible by intending to rent until that elusive low maintenance property close to town popped up.  And this is exactly the way it transpired.  They listed their home for sale - in this instance I auctioned the home because a) it was very special b) it gave us a deadline and c) it maximised competition in a completely transparent way.  The property sold, they moved into a rental and it took about 6 months for the right property to come along which snapped it up.  Happy days!

Option 3) Subdivide your own property

If you happen to live in Neighbourhood Residential Zone 1 (NRZ1) you may be able to subdivide your own place (STCA).  If your home is well-placed on the block you could reduce your land size AND increase your wallet size!  Warning: This is not for the faint hearted and a fair bit of support will be required to navigate the hurdles of permit approvals and dealing with council and contractors.  As with all things - make sure you get the best advice in this area.  A real estate agent is a good first step as we can give you an initial indication of your zoning and requirements.  Your solicitor will be able to help you with the subdivision.

Option 4) Buy with Kids & Granny Pod It

I love this out of the box option.  Again, it won’t be for everyone, but it was a genius solution for this extended family.  The problem was this: my vendors had some health concerns and were starting to need more and more care and attention.  Their home was getting too much for them.  At the same time their daughter and son-in-law had just started a family of their own and wanted to get themselves onto the property ladder as first home buyers.  However, they didn't have a huge deposit or borrowing power.   So they all started looking into the idea of the granny flat or “Independent Persons Unit” (IPU’s)

Fast forward, past a sale and a couple of unsuccessful offers, they found the perfect place that suited them all & was on budget and could also accommodate a granny flat and satisfied all the permit requirements.  Having seen the finished result I can tell you that “granny flat” does not do justice to the very impressive 3 bedroom home they have built for themselves.  And the bonus is that grandma is always on hand to help with the little one.

Option 5) Stay where you are + Air B&B

Seems like a crazy thing for a real estate agent to say but have you considered just staying put and adapting your home to suit your changing needs?  Sometimes, the idea of moving is just too darn stressful.

Close off half of your house OR, as an older friend of mine has done, get some income from advertising part of the home on Air B&B.  You can then write off garden maintenance as an expense!

I hope some of these ideas have given you food for thought.  I would love to hear what you come up with.  In my final article next week I will talk about assembling a support team around you and making sure you have the best advise moving forward with your future plans whatever they may be.