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What not to say to downsizers

06 November 2017 Greg Oddy

Downsizing can be an emotionally charged decision, even when buyers know it’s a smart choice. We explain the danger zones for selling agents, with tips on how to deal with common stumbling blocks.

Working with downsizers can mean navigating a range of emotions and uncertainties. No surprises there — after all, downsizing is a major life change.

For selling agents, a little tact can go a long way, but it also pays to have clever solutions at hand when downsizers are dealing with emotionally driven hurdles.

‘Where will I put the furniture?’

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After decades in the workforce and raising a family, many downsizers face the dilemma of what to do with a collection of furniture built up over many years.

It’s not enough for selling agents to offer suggestions to “put what you don’t need in storage” as this just lumbers the downsizer with additional costs and sidesteps the point of appeal that downsizing is a fresh start.

It makes more sense to discuss the perils of buying a property simply because it fits a downsizer’s existing furniture. It costs less to buy new furniture than it does to buy a new home, and downsizing can be an opportunity for a completely new beginning with furnishings that are more lifestyle-appropriate.

‘I won’t know anybody’

Concerns about leaving a familiar environment should never be dismissed with comments along the lines of, “You’ll soon make new friends”.

Developing new social contacts becomes harder as we age, and people can be reluctant to leave their current home because of a perception that they have good social contacts nearby, even though, in reality, the people they once mixed with may have moved on long ago.

One of the major selling points of downsizing can be the sense of community that residents share. In developments like retirement villages, an abundance of facilities can provide opportunities for both formal and informal get-togethers, and for selling agents, it’s worth taking the time to point these out.

Features such as pools, spas, billiard rooms, libraries and even on-site cafes all offer social hubs. But as a selling agent, don’t just focus on the availability of these facilities; they’ve probably already been highlighted in the marketing material. Instead, point out the social interaction they facilitate.

A little investigative work, for example, can highlight whether any clubs or social groups have sprung up around these facilities. A monthly billiards competition, for instance, or a weekly book club that operates within the retirement village can offer extra reassurance to buyers that they’re not just buying a property — they’re becoming part of a welcoming community.

Showing a little empathy and offering positive solutions to downsizers’ concerns can go a long way to securing a buyer — and generating ongoing referrals. 

What not to say to downsizers
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Greg Oddy is the special projects manager at Downsizing.com.au.

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