Downsizing remains a popular lifestyle choice in Perth offering numerous benefits for residents including financial freedom, a “lock-and-leave” lifestyle and the ability to live in highly convenient, premium locations.

While an attractive proposition that can overcome the maintenance requirements of larger, family-sized homes and blocks, there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account when deciding if this is the right move for you.

In this article, we explore some of the common misconceptions of downsizing and what to consider when looking to downsize.

Downsizing or Rightsizing?

People often think downsizing means smaller homes, with fewer rooms and fewer square metres, but this often isn’t the case. Rightsizing can be a more apt description for those looking to reduce the maintenance of a larger house, block and garden, but they may still require room to entertain, bedrooms for visiting family or a study for a dedicated space to deal with financial and life administration.

To find the right “downsizer”, consider what rooms you require in your new home to meet your specific needs. Think of the number of bedrooms you need. Do you need a separate study, or will a study nook suffice? Will you need space for entertaining? Do you want some space for a garden area?

Many downsizing options offer large, open living areas with high ceilings, multiple living spaces and outdoor living on a luxury scale. At Erben, we collaborate with specialist architects and interior designers. Considerable thought is placed into material selection, maximising layouts to make the most of natural light, ventilation and other aspects that will influence the maintenance requirements and liveability of space. It really is more about downscaling the time you spend on maintenance and upsizing the lifestyle benefits. Many off the plan apartments provide options to customise your home to some extent so you really can adapt your new living space to your lifestyle.

In addition, space for entertaining may be available outside of your apartment with private dining, lounge, bar and outdoor landscaped BBQ areas provided in new and well-designed apartment buildings.

How far will you move?

Another important consideration is how far from your current location you are prepared to move. Many people wish to remain in the same locale so they can maintain existing social networks and have access to amenity with which they are familiar.

Others use downsizing as an impetus to change location and in some cases, take the opportunity to invest in a more desirable location, which may include being closer to the ocean, the city or riverside location with views.

Cirque resident Kelli Meehan has been in her apartment for two years after moving from a regional area of Western Australia.

“I come from a big spacious home in the country and was a little apprehensive about apartment living, but I just love living here,” Kelli said.

“I have also tapped into the great sense of community. I originally planned to spend about one week every month in my apartment but I’m finding I spend most of my time here because I have built a really lovely lifestyle.”

This highlights another advantage of moving location, and in particular to a development with multiple dwellings, in that you can tap into new communities and activities. Some newer developments create common spaces from which a community can develop and it is entirely up to residents as to whether and how often they want to participate in that community.

Think Ahead Ten Years

A common motivation for some is having a home with fewer steps, stairs or uneven terrain in the backyard.

Think through how your needs may change in a few years’ time. Consider developments with lifts so you can easily get to your home and have easy access from carparking to your front door.

Renowned architect David Krantz is a resident at Treehouse and said he was eager for change.

“We needed to downsize. We had quite a few stairs in our house which had been our family home for years, and as much as we loved the garden, it was just getting too big to look after. Our apartment now has some garden which is a great size, it’s all one level and we have the added bonus of the communal facilities we can use when we want,” David said.

Financial Aspect of Downsizing

It’s important to explore the financial implications of moving and seek financial advice if necessary. People often want to extract equity from the sale of their home when downsizing and can underestimate the cost of moving.

Also consider the additional facilities you will actually utilise. Some developments have an abundance of facilities that your strata fees go towards maintaining, but will you use them all?

Compare the ongoing living costs of a smaller apartment with your current home. Many new apartments are being built to deliver lower ongoing living costs made possible through sustainable design features. When comparing costs and strata fees, it is also important to consider forecast costs over the second year to understand what may be covered by the builder in the first year, while also considering longer term maintenance costs of each option.

The Practical Side of Downsizing

One of the many challenges of downsizing is decluttering and having to part with items, some of which you may have had for a long time. Realistically contemplate what furniture and appliances you should transfer to your new home and where you will put your belongings.

Some people have been living in the same house for years which has of course brought many hours of maintenance over that time. It is often refreshing for people to move into a new home which has new appliances, fittings and fixtures, freeing up time to enjoy the home and its facilities, rather than spending time on maintaining it.

Erben Managing Director Luke Reinecke said downsizing offers a solution to achieving a simpler lifestyle for many.

“We’ve found across our developments in Perth that many residents have made the transition to apartment living. They value the relaxed lifestyle that comes with apartments and the community that ties into each development’s surrounds,” Luke said.

“Downsizing can provide a great opportunity to furnish your new home with new items that complement it. Erben provides a full suite of appliances which largely eliminate the need to bring older appliances that may be less efficient and provide fewer options for functionality. For example, with current technology combi-steam ovens are not only user friendly, but they remove the requirement for a microwave oven because they can complete all the same tasks using healthier cooking methods – they can even cook toast. We can also provide the option of purchasing a furniture package that ensure the furniture is also right-sized and will deliver the ultimate downsized lifestyle.”

Developments offer both residential parking and visitor parking and many will now also offer car share options for residents. It is important to consider how many bays you actually need and if there are other transport options that make it worth reducing the number of cars and therefore living costs.

Security is another aspect to explore if you are seeking to “lock up and leave” or if you are living alone.

Whether you currently share your space with pets or you are contemplating the companionship of a furry friend down the line, explore your options before downsizing to an apartment. If pets are allowed in your desired development, consider whether you have adequate floor space (both indoors and outdoors) for your pet, and how long they will be alone throughout the day.

No Need to Compromise on Privacy

Many people living in larger, family-sized homes are used to having a yard around them to act as something of a buffer between them and the neighbours. It is a common concern amongst people moving into apartment developments in particular, that they may need to compromise on privacy in terms of hearing noise from neighbours, seeing people on neighbouring balconies and encountering people when accessing their home.

When looking into more densely populated areas or a strata type arrangement, ask about sound proofing and explore the dwelling’s outlook. Many apartment developments are designed to ensure the contours of the building offer privacy to residents and don’t create overlooking issues. If you are considering an off the plan apartment, ask about the design considerations regarding privacy and noise. A good developer and architect will have considered this and be able to tell you what measures have been taken in these areas.

Downsizing or rightsizing can be an exciting time as it often heralds a new lifestyle opportunity. Embarking on this undertaking with information as to what to consider when finding the right next home for you, can make this an even more enjoyable experience and ensure your new home ticks all the boxes.

At Erben, we are dedicated to creating spaces that enhance a purchasers’ experience of downsizing and develop projects that bring people and communities together, creating lasting value through high-quality inclusions, amenities and sustainable design.

If you would like to get in contact to discuss your journey towards downsizing, please contact Erben.