Write what you know, as the saying goes. So Vivien Sharon wrote all about downsizing in her recently published first book, The Boomer’s 7-Step Guide to Downsizing: overcoming fear and discovering freedom.
Not only has Sharon been through the experience herself, but the author/broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Toronto has helped family, friends and clients through the downsizing process. She also has special training: she is one of only 30 Realtors in Canada to have earned the Pivotal Master Accredited Senior Designation from Pivotal Aging Innovations Inc., which trains agents working with older adults.
She had the idea for a book a few months before the pandemic hit, and the lockdown was the perfect time to harness her passion. She credits real estate coach John Toublaris for keeping her on track. He encouraged her to write the book, prompting her by providing timelines. The 146-page book was completed in 10 months and was published Dec. 1. Response has been good, with clients and colleagues downloading the free PDF.
The thought of downsizing is daunting for many people. Sharon says people may have lived in their homes for decades and don’t know where to start. And because they haven’t been in the real estate market for years, the process, including paperwork, is very different than during their last experience.
Her book lets people know what to expect, step-by-step, in everyday language and with stories that make the process easy to understand. Chapters include the decision to downsize, selecting the right real estate professional, listing and marketing your home for sale, the offer process explained, downsizing success stories and celebrating your new life.
Sharon is determined to alleviate boomers’ concerns and make downsizing the positive experience it should be.
She has a team of professionals from declutters to real estate lawyers and movers to help every step of the way. The book is helpful for boomers, who may be helping their parents downsize, or for boomers’ children, who may be helping their parents downsize, she says.
Regardless of the reader, the guide is chock full of valuable, practical advice and real stories.
During the pandemic, some families are downsizing to urban areas within walking distance of amenities. Others are upsizing to larger spaces so their families can live under one roof. Others may move from one condo to another, opting for something with outdoor space. One of Sharon’s clients has a home with a pool but wanted to buy a Yorkville condo now. They purchased and will rent it out for a year, enjoying the pool for another summer and moving when the pandemic has passed.
Regardless of their situation, most boomers are faced with basements full of boxes, including toys belonging to their now 35-year-old children. There are roadblocks and Sharon says she works to calm their fears and help them through them so they can celebrate their new life.
There’s nothing better than to get advice from someone who has been through it and clients appreciate that. The experience has motivated her to want to ease other’s downsizing journey. She downsized from a home to a Yorkville condo and says she has never looked back.
Sharon says the book is her calling card and has gotten a lot of traction. She has been interviewed on many podcasts, a CHCH-TV morning show and by newspapers. She also has a Facebook Live show. She’s had a lot of recognition and she says it’s given her credibility in the industry.
Sharon says she loved writing the book and that her family and friends have been supportive and helpful. Don Kottick, president of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada “has been so supportive since the book has been released, as well as all the Ontario management team including Maureen O’Neill, Dianne Usher and Adrienne Lake,” she says.
Prior to her real estate career, which began nine years ago, she co-owned a property management company. She says she has wonderful mentors throughout the industry.
“I love what I do,” says the Yorkville/mid-Toronto centric agent. “I came to the business later in life and created a new career through discipline and hard work.”
She says she always wants to do something new and “keep moving forward” and hopes to help others to do the same.