For recently retired grandparents, Clare and Ken, downsizing from their generous five-bedroom home complete with built-in pool and manicured gardens was inevitable.
Moving from the family house they painstakingly designed and built over 40 years ago, to an apartment located over an hour away from home, was quite a daunting task.
And if the change in location wasn’t shock enough, Clare and Ken had never lived in strata before, so they had a crash course on by-laws and the rules of apartment living. The mere thought of having to seek approval to hang a simple curtain rod seemed ludicrous!
But as Clare admits, moving into their new apartment was not as restrictive as she first thought. And the apartment they chose has only two other apartments on their floor so getting used to neighbours being close by was not a difficult transition.
In fact, nearly two years on, Clare and Ken often question themselves why they didn’t make the change sooner.
Clare and Ken donated a large portion of their furniture because they just didn’t have the space for it any longer. Downsizing taught them to buy smarter, more practical furniture to utilise their new space more effectively.
Feeling secure in strata
From the first week they moved in, Clare says she’s always felt safe in her building, especially knowing neighbours are close by.
“When we travel, we literally just need to shut the door behind us. We don’t need to arrange a house-sitter to maintain the yard and pool. Because now, the grounds and pool are everyone’s responsibility. And it’s already taken care of with our contributions.”
Speaking of already taking care of things, Clare says that’s the beauty of being part of the Owners Corporation.
“If something goes wrong, like the lift breaks down, it’s not my problem. It’s everyone’s problem. And there’s already money in the kitty for repairs. I don’t have to worry, it’s fixed before we know it. My only issue is walking up the stairs instead. I’m spoilt now, I’m used to the lift.
“And I love that we have a forced savings account for maintenance and repairs. It’s peace of mind knowing everything will be ok. With our levies, we know what to expect to pay each time, it’s so easy,” said Clare.
As for Ken, who is far from officially retiring completely, it took only a year before he was voted onto the Committee.
He loves being part of the decision-making process and has made great friends with neighbours in other areas of his complex that he wouldn’t necessarily have met other than at meetings.
For this retired couple, they have fully embraced the strata community lifestyle and are living proof that the trauma of downsizing from home to apartment won’t last forever.