The Best Laid Plans
Read about one Melbourne's couples off the plan journey to downsizing from a house to an apartment.
Five years ago, if you had asked Kerrin Wilson if she would have bought her dream “downsizer” home without actually seeing it, in an area many people had never heard of, she would have said no. Now happily living in her three-bedroom (plus study) apartment with her husband, Rob, two adult sons and beloved dog Otto, she can not believe how easy the move and transition has been.
“After 20 years living in, and loving, our home in the suburbs, we began thinking about downsizing. It was a big decision wrapped in emotion but was made easier by breaking it down. I realised that adding on a second question ‘where do we want to move to?’ – only muddied the decision. Instead, we simply focused on if we wanted to sell and once that was decided it all became clear,” says Kerrin.
“The search began in earnest. As we had no specific location or style of home in mind we visited many open homes, apartments and display suites. In 2015, within 12 hours of visiting the Yarra’s Edge display suite we had paid our deposit.”
Yarra’s Edge is a project begun by Mirvac in 2000 to reimagine Melbourne’s iconic Docklands precinct. Kerrin and her husband bought off the plan at Forge, the 8th apartment tower to be built at Yarra’s Edge.
“We purchased before they had broken ground at Forge. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t actually ‘see’ the building because we could see the previous two stages Mirvac had built and used the model to understand exactly what our out look would be.
“The floorplans were also really detailed. Having previously renovated four properties, we understood the floorplans and how to read them.
” Despite the quick decision, Kerrin and her husband conducted due diligence. They researched Mirvac’s longstanding history of property development, engaged a trusted lawyer to review the contract and spent time with a sales agent understanding their floorplan and the finishes that would be used in the apartment.
Fast forward to 2017 when the family moved in and Kerrin says the process of buying off the plan had many unforeseen benefits. “It gave us time to really downsize, I was able to declutter and timed the sale of our home so we could move straight in when the apartment was ready.
In listing the benefits of buying off the plan, Kerrin admits she understood it was, to some degree, a leap of faith.
“I downplayed my expectations and we tried not to oversell the idea to our sons. We decided when we signed that if we didn’t love it, we could always sell and move on,” says Kerrin.
She needn’t have worried: the first time Kerrin walked into her finished apartment, her jaw dropped.“I was blown away, truly thrilled with our new home,” she says.
Kerrin’s immediate reaction hasn’t dulled with time. “It has just kept getting better. My husband thought he might not like living in an apartment; he was worried he might feel crowded in, but he is as every bit as happy as I am. We all are. It’s a north-facing apartment, so gives us beautiful sunlight and spectacular views and the layout works perfectly for our needs,” she says. Kerrin credits working with the sales agent to really identify what they needed from the floorplan as one of the reasons the layout works so well.
“We knew we would be moving in with adult kids, so having the main bedroom and bathroom on opposite sides of the apartment to the other two bedrooms is a great design for us. We chose an apartment with a winter garden. This gives us an additional room for entertaining and works well when the boys have mates over.”
Far from being disappointed with the downsize, Kerrin and Rob’s sons love the new arrangement. So much so that one son bought off the plan in the next stage of Yarra’s Edge.
“Buying off the plan is a great option for downsizers because it gives you time to cull & declutter. It’s also great for first home buyers – it gives them time to save more”.
“It’s great motivation for our eldest son. Every day he walks past the construction sight, and it reminds him what he is working hard to save for.”