Guide to Downsizing

We regularly work with people downsizing (a.k.a. going from a 2,200 sqft house to 800 sqft condo).  Here’s our take on what you should consider if you’re thinking about downsizing your home:

Should You Downsize Your Home?

How much space do you need? If your spare room only gets used three times a year, it’s probably cheaper to put your guests up at a hotel then pay the mortgage on a room that rarely gets used. Of course, a smaller space will come with less room for your stuff, but if you are looking to make a change this is a great place to start.

What else could you spend the money on? It’s no secret that most Canadians are relying on their home to fund part of their retirement. If you sold your $1,500,000 house and moved to an $800,000 condo, what opportunities and doors would that open for you or your family? Travel? Earlier retirement?

A word about maintenance: Many homeowners are wary of paying condo fees, but the truth is that it’s usually generally cheaper to pay condo fees than to maintain a house in the lower mainland. From dealing with regular maintenance items like cleaning gutters and maintaining the furnace, to big dollar money spent fixing a leaking roof or basement, the costs can add up fast. Condo fees are also predictable (which is nice in retirement). And how nice would it be to simply make these problems someone else’s?

Be honest: How often will your kids truly visit? A lot of people considering downsizing are doing so because they’re suddenly empty nesters. The kids have moved out and downsizing has become a very common way to help your children purchase their own homes.

Neighborhood change is one of the most exciting parts about downsizing.  It is getting the opportunity to live in a new neighborhood. If you’re currently in the suburbs, imagine being able to walk to cafes, theatres, and parks?

downsizing is a lifestyle adjustment – you’ll likely be giving up backyard BBQ’s and hosting big family reunions, but you can also have your kids take up those responsibilities

 

Downsizing Advice

When in doubt, throw it out.  One of the easiest ways to be comfortable in your smaller space is by getting rid of all of that stuff you’ve been living with and not using: old magazines, paperwork from 20 years ago, old laptops, broken furniture, books you never look at anymore, etc. You’ll also enjoy your new space more if you pare down the number of knick-knacks, framed photos, and trinkets.

Donate, donate, and donate. If you aren’t using something, the chances are that someone else will both appreciate and use it. Consider donating kitchen appliances and gadgets, clothes you’ll never fit back into, sports equipment from before you had problems with your knees, etc.

Use the good china every day. Your new smaller home likely won’t have room for two sets of dishes and glasses. And really who are we kidding…don’t you deserve to use the good dishes?

Paperwork – you may need to access up to 7 years of tax history, so make sure important legal and tax documents can be easily retrieved. That doesn’t need to mean they take up prized space in your new home though – that’s what storage lockers are for!

Storage – A well-organized storage locker can be a godsend when downsizing – but don’t spend hundreds of dollars a month to store things you’ll never need again. If you do rent storage, make sure it’s climate-controlled, water-proofed and that your belongings are safe.

Deciding to downsize is a big one. We’ve helped people through this transition before and would be happy to talk to you about your options! You can contact us here or call us at 778-558-1378.