Love It Or List It Australia

Empty nesters with $1.6m home look to cash in on Sydney's boom

Sharyn and John had a familiar dilemma on this week’s Love It Or List It Australia.

As empty nesters living in the sought-after Sydney suburb of St Ives Chase, Sharyn and John had reached a crossroads in their life as they approached retirement.

Insurance broker Sharyn wanted to cash in their large, 700-square-meter four-bedroom home and downsize nearer to the coast.

"I would hope to get between $400,000 to $500,000 to pocket into the superannuation fund and give us money to travel," she said.

But husband John had already found his slice of paradise, and was desperate to stay in their existing property close to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

"The reason I want to stay in this house is it’s so quiet. It’s serene and we have wildlife here," he explained.

One thing they both agreed on was that the original decor of their 1970s house had to go.

After 14 years of living there and with the children now moved out, Sharyn wanted a space she felt proud to entertain guests in.

That's where Neale Whitaker’s clever interior design came in - but Andrew Winter had other plans for the couple on the Central Coast.


Neale’s design idea












Budget - $110,000

Sharyn wanted better use of this spacious home to include areas to entertain guests and her own home office. After all, who needs TWO TV rooms? John’s brief was all about updating the bathrooms, which had seen better days.

The first task on Neale’s list was to get rid of the ‘70s archways, which made the house feel dreary and closed-in.

A striking diagonal TV wall revived the main living space, seamlessly joining two zones - the new TV room and a home office for John.

Rearranging the living spaces downstairs made the most of the pool views since Sharyn was keen on a water view.

Neale enlarged the family bathroom by knocking through the separate toilet, and updated the master suite.

Overall, the warm and muted colour palette added a much-needed touch of luxury to the house, increasing its market value from $1.6m to a huge $2m.

Andrew’s pitch to sell

Budget - $1.1m

Andrew centred his search around the Central Coast, where the couple were shocked about just how far their money would go - potentially leaving them with hundreds of thousands in savings.

Property 1
Guide price: $990,000

This waterfront property in Chittaway Bay had four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The direct views of Tuggerah Lake should have impressed John, but he had privacy concerns over the proximity of the neighbours.

Property 2
Guide price: $975,000 - $1.06m

This four-bed, two-bath resort style property in Terrigal had a pool, sea views, lush gardens for John and one very pleasant surprise - a bar!

Property 3:
Guide price: $1.6m

Even Andrew admitted this one was a bit of a wild card. The six-bed, three-bathroom home was also located in Terrigal, in a spot popular with retirees. While the size may seem like the opposite of the couple’s plan to downsize, the house included a self-contained two-bedroom apartment that would provide the couple with a healthy rental income.


The verdict

Love It!

In the end, the couple decided money isn't everything, shunning hundreds of thousands in profit to stay in their newly renovated home.

Watch Love It Or List It Australia on Lifestyle, Wednesdays at 8.30pm.

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