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A Downsizing Discussion Over Dinner: Should you Simplify your Life?

Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2015

black gourper on the boys and girls club charter 2009

(Fishing On The Gulf Of Mexico: maybe implying one’s life is a way to go)

Late last week over dinner we met with friends – “up north” friends with multiple homes, cars, and interests. As I listened to their coming and goings I wondered again about having “too much.” Does it really keep you satisfied even if you can juggle it all? When the conversation swung over to us we explained we tried to lead a life full-time in one place and found a lot of fun and peace in staying more planted.

The conversation quickly moved to downsizing and simplifying. Was it really something to consider? Some of our clients call downsizing “liberating.” It is not just the full-time life in the Florida sun which attracts, it is the elimination of some of the worries and cares of having a lot of other things. We heard “Sold the big house, bought a small condo” in the office again last week. At an open house last season I heard a guest say  “this place at 2,750 square feet is too big, we are looking to downsize.” Some, not all, are headed to smaller simpler places.

1520 Curlew Elevation

(a new on water Key West style home requiring no car!  Walk to shops, resorts or the beach)

Downsizing for many folks in this town may also mean selling off multiple homes. We frequently hear of plans to sell off one or more places “to get down to one house” and downsizing is clearly a trend.  Kids are grown and moved out, the large house maintenance list is a drag and dreams of new digs and new lifestyles in Naples dance in our heads – especially when the snow is flying and the commuting grows old.

Let’s talk about downsizing for a few minutes and share some thoughts.

1480 elevation

(another on-water, new construction, no car needed Naples home available next month)

First we need to recognize there is a lot of downsizing going on out there.  Commercial developers recognize the downsizing trend and offer a new product line up.  As examples Treviso Bay, The Isles of Collier’s Preserve and Regatta Landing are providing brand new construction for less than $1 million.

So what?  Well the so what is these groups at some point were planning homes a lot larger and a lot more expensive – and in fact one group built a few big places for changing their plans.  It is not that buyers have less money it is the buyers want less. These professional developers looked at the market and the downsizing trend and pulled back the designs to smaller floor plans and more easily maintained homes.  And boy are they selling.

cochrane lanai

(a condo for sale today in Naples with golf, tennis and shuttles to a private beach – simple living in the Florida sun)

Is the big stuff still selling here in Naples? Yes of course especially in the custom home market.  Last month I watched a 22,000+ square foot home under construction at Tallis Park – a fantastic place in a wonderful setting with first class amenities.  I don’t care who you are, 22,000 square feet is a big place.

There are quite a few folks looking to find a smaller place or maybe hope to own fewer places – all despite the upturn in the economy. Their reasons range from eliminating the hassle of maintaining two more properties or maintaining bigger properties,  kids moving out leaving too much space and many are finally ready for the big move to new things … lots of reasons.

Here are some thoughts which might help in the process of downsizing – ideas we have heard from friends and clients while working through the process.


(some folks have been known to head to the garden for the simple life)

First off, know where you are going.  Sounds obvious but a lot of folks really do not have a plan.  Steven Covey, a behaviorist I put a lot of faith in, would say “Begin with the end in mind.” So true. So much of the stress of downsizing is attributed to the unknown, or the inability to at least think about that future home or more importantly that future lifestyle.  “Will I have enough friends and social connections?” or “What am I going to do when I move to Naples?” Start to think about what the new lifestyle might look like – and the place to go with it.  You will feel better before starting off.  After all you probably are a decent planner in other aspects of your life why not plan out your future lifestyle as well as your future downsized home?

frame it up

(other folks stay active with non-profits like building homes at Habitat for Humanity)

Do you need to sell off the big place first? If you cannot buy your new place before selling your old place you can still get started.  Go out there and look at your future options for peace of mind. If you are headed for the 2,000 to 2,500 square foot single family residence for example go look at the market. Visit open houses.  Visit the new developments. Look at the space. Imagine living there and get your head moving forward.  Websites are great but you need to walk the new area and homes when possible to understand the feel of the new place. Talk with us and we will set you up with a search tool which uses the same real estate data we do.

Another helpful idea – start getting rid of stuff.  For some of us just a clean desk at the end of day may bring peace of mind.  Many of us have a great deal of things we can eliminate.  One of my good friends actually owns two warehouses full of stuff from past homes. Does he use the stuff? Nope. Does he therefore need it? Nope. So what gives? Sometimes it is just tough to get rid of your old stuff (although my friend’s warehouses hold a lot of new stuff too). Keep the memories but let the stuff go. (hint:  if you have packing boxes from prior moves still unpacked (happened to us!) this might be a sign you need to let some stuff go)

Feel better by donating. You are literally holding “another man’s treasure” in your extra possessions. You might be surprised how much good your old stuff can do.  Donating your extra things will help you feel better and enable non-profits to do more. Hoarding old stuff does not help anyone.  Furniture for example goes a long way at Habitat for Humanity’s Home store in Collier County.  Over $800,000 was raised last year from furniture donations and every $50,000 builds a new home for someone less fortunate – contact them at  Don’t forget Goodwill, Salvation Army and other great efforts.

Some of you might enjoy selling things on eBay or Craig’s list or other service providers.  I have found eBay a lot of fun as you can raise some extra cash and you may feel a little better about moving and downsizing in the process.

Gerosin Image Pool

(a great preserve-view option on the market today in Naples)

Your next step might be to tell the Kids of your plans. I remember our youngest son (half-jokingly but with some truth in it) saying “You Sold My House!”. Let your loved ones know what you are up to. Give them some time to get used to the idea of you moving on. Share with them why you are making the change. And my favorite – invite them to share in the upkeep of the big old place if they do not like the idea of you moving on. Hah – a great one with kids.

Finally, think about making a list of past maintenance expenditures (and time spent!) on your old place before you move. I like to carry this around with me in my head – both the dollars spent per year on the old place as well as the time spent taking care of the old place. Sure we have great memories of the old place but it helps me to think of the time saved and the money saved by downsizing – not just to save it but to imagine now how I SPEND or SAVE the time and money by selling the old place.    Nice. Isn’t this one of the main reasons you downsized anyway?
Give us a call and we will help your through it.

Also remember the new edition of our eBook “Understanding Naples Real Estate” is now available making predictions for the 2015 Naples real estate market as well as offering up advice to sellers and buyers. To get your free copy go to .

If you would like to know more about living in Naples, Florida please talk with our team. We have toured and owned property in Naples for thirty-eight years and know we can help you out. Give us a call at 239.595.3921.

We hope to meet and talk with you soon,

Mark Goebel PA, Nan Goebel PA and David Goebel, PA
Co-Founders of the Naples Best Addresses team
Coldwell Banker
Mark Goebel, PA and Nan Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921 239.595.3920
Facebook: NaplesBestAddresses

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No legal, investment, or tax advice is being given in this Blog.  Consult with legal, financial and tax professionals before acting on any real estate transaction.  Actual real estate price and sales results are subject to market forces and are not completely predictable. The writings of this Blog are intended for the sole use of our clients.
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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan. Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
Contact us to learn more about Naples real estate trends, the florida rental market, Naples design ideas like coastal contemporary and transitional designs or just get a feel for the place like Naples Florida population trends.
Follow up points:

Property Survey. I contacted the listing agent and asked to see if they have a survey available. We will see.

Contact Information for CAD person. The person I used for our properties was Peter Catuzzi at and phone (239) 514-1850. Please mention my name and let me know how your experience goes. He did very good work for us at a good price.

Pool estimates. Our pools with hot tubs from Nassau pools on our spec homes ran from $37,000 to $46,000. Your costs may vary of course with size of pool, hot tub, etc.

Similar lots and properties. In a separate email I am sending along some similar properties – your lot, two other lots and a completely built new home on Lakeview for sale today. This should give some ideas of what is out there.

Images. I walked the lot today to see how the view lines up with the new development of Regatta landing across the creek. Just as we discussed the development is across the creek, toward the left. The trees are pretty high and block the new construction up to a floor or two but it is not clear if the trees will remain or at what height. The good news is it appears there are one if not two islands between you and the construction. It is not clear to me but if these islands were to remain they would also block the new construction from your view a bit.