A decision by a NSW couple to buy a retirement village apartment - without physically inspecting it first - has illustrated how COVID-19 has transformed the downsizing real estate market.
In late June 2020, John and Rosemary Gooch moved 500km from Mudgee in the NSW central-west to Stockland Queens Lake at Laurieton on the State’s mid-north coast.
Although Ms Gooch knew the Laurieton area well, having previously lived near there, neither she nor her husband had actually been inside their future one and half bedroom apartment.
A Stockland salesperson gave the couple several online tours on her mobile phone, and also helped by taking measurements of key areas.
“I’d looked at the apartment so many times (online), I knew it backwards,” Ms Gooch said. “I knew every room, every little bit, so we knew it was going to be good.
“The sales person did a video of it, and walked us through, and we had a floor plan. Because we had seen it so much, we knew how beautiful it was.
“When we actually arrived, it was actually better than what we thought. It is bigger than what we thought, it is a beautiful location and it’s quiet.”
Dea Gardner, sales professional at Queens Lake Retirement Village, said it was important to make the customer feel comfortable and confident when making the big decision to move, especially when it comes to downsizing.
“I just kept in regular contact and made sure I had a lot of information to help them (the Goochs) understand any concerns or questions they had,” Ms Gardner said.
“I made myself available to them entirely, having several conversations on what from their furnishings would or wouldn’t fit, and happily took measurements for them so they knew as much information as possible before moving. I think this relieved a lot of their stresses.”
The Goochs said they were happy to make the purchase after taking part in virtual tours, given this meant they avoided a 500km trip during a time of COVID-19 restrictions. The couple purchased the apartment for $245,000.
More retirement living operators are turning to virtual tours and open days to market their properties, either in response to government restrictions or because potential buyers may be keen to avoid travelling.
Downsizing.com.au will soon be launching an events initiative, which will support clients being able to showcase these online events.
Find out more information about the Queens Lake retirement village here
LISTEN BELOW TO JOHN AND ROSEMARY GOOCH TALKING TO DOWNSIZING.COM.AU EDITOR MARK SKELSEY ABOUT THEIR VIRTUAL PURCHASE