Ready-to-go-homes have been around for years. The luxury market has always embraced buying properties already fitted out with designer furnishings. And why not? The home is immediately liveable, has been expertly decorated, and best of all, there are no design decisions to make. Just move in.
But, as media reports suggest, these “extras” can add upwards of $250,000 to the price. One British Columbia property development company, for example, is successfully selling luxury homes fully furnished down to their well-stocked wine fridges, often to buyers from abroad.
But what about the rest of us? Could a version of this be coming soon to a city near you? Yes and no. Increasingly, the trend to turnkey housing has “legs” beyond the luxury market. But only with certain types of buyers.
Take, for example, the demanding millennial buyers in urban centers, many of whom may not have the necessary on-trend furniture for their new home, and who are comfortable buying a “package.” Or downsizers buying maintenance-free condo living, who may be ready to further embrace their lifestyle changes with trendy furniture and decor.
Buying the lifestyle
In fact, the signs are already there in home-staging. Often buyers purchasing a well-staged property request fixtures, appliances, and even furniture and art be included as part of the sale. And they’re prepared to pay for it. Still, the lifestyle’s not for everyone; many of us are not prepared to shed our comfortable furnishings that come with memories attached. For these individuals, memories will trump trendy every time.
As the number of seniors across North America increases, many older adults are realizing they may not be able to stay in their own homes, or “age in place.”
Health concerns figure prominently-a bitter reality for older boomers who didn’t believe they would ever have difficulty climbing stairs or navigating an older home. The result is that many are considering downsizing. But they still plan to age in place in one sense: Most would prefer to stay in their own neighbourhoods with all the familiar comforts of home.
The numbers are big. By 2031, more than 9 million seniors across Canada will have reached age 65 – some 20 to 25% of the population. And this will have an impact on everything from healthcare services and employment to housing.
Especially housing. Across North America, household debt has been growing, particularly in the age group of over 55ers; many seniors may have to-rather than choose to-downsize.
Is downsizing for you?
For those now considering the pros and cons of downsizing, here are some questions you need to ask yourself and your family:
Do I (and/or my spouse) need to downsize for health or financial reasons?
Is it likely that one of us soon won’t be able to drive?
Am I hoping to stay near or in my current neighbourhood, or move closer to family?
What to do now
You may have difficulty finding what you need in your neighbourhood; in most areas, developers have been slow to catch up.
But if downsizing is on your horizon, your first connection should be a good real estate agent who has expertise working with senior buyers. It’s also advantageous if your agent has a network of contacts such as lawyers, mortgage professionals, and organizing professionals to help with disposal of your possessions, and staging companies to prepare your home for sale.