Wednesday 18 September 2019

'People describe it as downsizing, we think of it as right-sizing' - Couples who sold their homes to begin next chapters

Case Study

Derek Behan
Derek Behan

In conversation with Liadan Hynes

Derek Behan and Cliona Butler moved from a Georgian villa in Glenageary to a three-bed in Brighton Wood, Foxrock, on the market with Sherry FitzGerald

"People describe it as downsizing, we think of it as right-sizing," says Derek. "We love everything about the new house. It's cosier. We've forgotten about the old house already. This house suits all our needs."

"We didn't set out with any preconceived notions about what we wanted," says Cliona. "We were looking all around the area we were in and we just couldn't find anything. We were under-bidders on two other properties, neither of which were new. We knew about this development and I came up the day it was opened just to look at it. I rang Derek half an hour later to tell him I'd bought a house. When you buy a second-hand house you just know you're going in to undo somebody else's stuff. The freshness of the new house really appealed to me, the brightness, and the development has lots of mature trees."

"We're very close to the Luas now," says Derek. "We were close to the Dart, transport is a key thing.

"In terms of moving from a larger home into something smaller, organisation was key," says Derek. "We cleared the house before we put it up for sale. When it came to the crunch, it wasn't stressful then at all to move."

"It was also part of the therapeutic process," says Cliona. "You were allowing yourself to know you were moving. It wasn't such a tear at the end then. When you are selling, I think it's important to get a range of opinions. We got four auctioneers because we really didn't know what the house was worth. There was half-a-million in the difference between the lowest and the highest estimations.

"It's amazing how you can accommodate change. People talk about downsizing and you have visions of the people being 75 or 80 years of age. I would say do it sooner rather than later, it's less stressful."


Case Study Two

‘This is going to be a new chapter for us’

Anne and Martin Croft bought a five-bed detached house (similar are currently priced between €520,000 to €560,000) at Oldtown Walk, Naas.

“We had lived in Dundrum for 32 years. The kids were gone and we just decided the house was too big for us. Financially we wanted to release some equity and we wanted to reduce the running costs of the house. And we wanted to do something new; start the next chapter in our lives.

 “We looked at cottages in the country, at apartments around the city, at smaller second-hand properties, and at new houses. I didn’t know Naas at all; Martin knew it a little bit. We really liked it from the moment we saw the houses.

“Having a new house, there was nothing we needed to do in terms of work. We can close the door, go on our holidays, and we know it’s going to be fine. We have the 10-year guarantee so obviously there’s great comfort and security in that.

“I am 60 and Martin is 62. We are both retired. We approached this with the decision that it was going to be a new chapter, and whatever came at us we would look at it positively. We have discovered new restaurants, new walks along the canal, and I’m starting an art class in Naas later this month.

“I think it’s really important to approach downsizing with an open mind. We looked at about 20 different properties over a couple of months. Every time we looked at something different, we learned more about what we didn’t want. Do we want to be isolated? Is it the right stage in our life to take on a project? The storage issues in apartments meant they probably weren’t for us. And we needed two car spaces — parking was a big priority.”

Sunday Independent

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