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Downsizing And Moving On – A Few Things To Keep In Mind

Posted on Saturday, December 06, 2014

cochrane lanai

(a great downsizing option on Naples Bay – under $400K with club and private beach – turn the key and leave)
Recently our team was in the office welcoming in folks walking along 5th avenue south in Naples and one group describes their downsizing plans to me – “liberating” they tell me. “Sold the big house, bought a small condo.” 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.”  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.”


Downsizing is clearly a trend.  Kids are grown and moved out, the large house maintenance list stared you in the face every weekend and dreams of new digs and new lifestyles in Naples dance in our heads – especially when the snow if flying and the commuting grows old.  Let’s talk about downsizing for a few minutes and share some thoughts.
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?  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.  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.

1520 Curlew Elevation


(why not sell off your up north holdings and move into this new on-water Key West style home with a January 2015 planned completion? New house, new lifestyle)

Is the big stuff still selling here in Naples? Yes of course especially in the custom home market.  Yesterday 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.

First off, know where you are going.  Sounds obvious but a lot of folks really do not have a plan.  Steven Covey, a behavioralist 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 thing 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?



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.


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)

HFH House #2 (Plancher) B

(feel better by donating: a new house at Habitat for Humanity going up)

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.

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. Anyway, giving others some time to get used to the idea of downsizing can help when the time comes. And remember … in the end it is about what you need to do for yourself.

david on windsurfer 2

(downsizing can be liberating and offer up whole new lifestyles)


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 the time and money I saved on new adventures, interests and friends.   The money and time I save every year from selling that old place provides a lot of dollars and time for fun new things.  Nice. Isn’t this one of the main reasons you downsized anyway?


If you would like to know more about living here in Naples, Florida please give us a call at 239.595.3921. We have toured or owned property in Naples for nearly forty years and we are truly fortunate to call this wonderful paradise our full-time home.


Please consider reading our book “Understanding Naples Real Estate” to get you started on your real estate search or just give us a call about things to do here.


We look forward to meeting and talking 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.
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