The Star: June 22, 2017


‘right size’ not necessarily ‘downsize’

do not downsize your dreams, but do carefully consider getting a puppy or purchasing a big

old house in your later years!

As we get older, it’s no surprise that we find ourselves “downsizing” in many different ways.

One of which might be getting a newer or smaller house, a more managable garden or a smaller

dog. It’s a very common phenomenon as we enter the golden years.

But it might not be so much about ‘downsizing’ the square metres of your house or the kgs

of your dog that matter to you most, but more the location of the property relative to family

and ammenties and the exercise requirements of your breed of dog. Over 50 it’s all about

finding the right size for you.

The trend toward pint-size pooches has been well documented since 2000 but has

accelerated in recent years, in part because of an aging population of baby boomers. For many

people who have had labradors their whole live, they might consider a miniture labradoodle

which is a lot smaller and doesn’t require quite so much exercise, yet is similar in temprament.

A dog’s energy levels and temperament can be just as important as it’s size. Do you have the

energy to deal with a puppy who wants to destroy every shoe in sight? Adopting a pet from the

SPCA is a great way to find a new companion without having to put yourself through the puppy

faze. When you go in to the SPCA to meet their adoptees, they take the time to find out a little

about you, your lifestyle, your property and your experience with animals. They’ll also offer

advice, to help ensure you find the perfect companion to suit your needs.

It’s also worth considering that many multi-units and assisted-living communities have size

restrictions, which make it difficult to bring larger breeds with you if you need or want to move.

Going hand-in-hand with what animals you should consider when you hit your later years

come decisions about property.

Laurie Sutton of Ray White says, “In my experience, ‘mature’ downsizers generally choose

location based on being close to family, especially if there are grandkids, friends, work or

lifestyle. Some may like the facilities of some of the new sub divisions like Pegasus or

Clearwater, but I think the other factors take priority. The newer areas do offer the advantages

of all the mod cons, plus good insulation and double glazing, not to mention EC safety, all of

which would be desirable, particularly for an older person.”

New homes being built today are often built smarter than the sprawling homes of the past.

The better design that usually comes with 21st century living means smaller homes can feel just

as spacious. By moving to a smaller place, the obvious benefits such as lower monthly

electricity bills, contents insurance and house maintenance are reduced. There’s also a benifit in

moving to an area that has a sense of community, where you can get to know the neighbours,

rather than isolation and privacy.

In terms of desirable features, Laurie would suggest looking for “single story, with a low

maintenance garden, proximity to amenities, including healthcare and proximity to public

transport as key. Safe neighbourhoods, security, and good parking, ideally an internal access


garage are all important. Schools zones, which can add value to some suburbs would be less

important, but might be factored in when considering resale value. Many of the smaller homes

today are on cross leases or unit titles, which a lot of buyers shun, but because of that they are

often more affordable, and shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked. As long as the solicitor goes

over it, I personally don’t see the downside and I own a cross leased home myself.”

Future proofing should also be a consideration when looking for a new home. Will the

owner be likely to need to make the home handicap friendly in the future? Likewise, health

and safety should be considered. Are there any tripping hazards or other potential risks? “We

sold a small home recently that was subject to approval from the buyers physio that ramps and

handrails could be adequately installed, for instance.”

While it’s important not to downsize your dreams in terms of house or pet, it’s important

to future proof your selections and start thinking about what’s going to work for you in a few

years time.

Single story, with a low maintenance garden, proximity

to amenities, including healthcare and proximity to

public transport as key.

“- Laurie Sutton, Ray White






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