For couples or singles still living in a large family-type home, downsizing can be an attractive lifestyle change for so many reasons. The common ones being: the last child has left home, a spouse has passed away, divorce, nearing retirement, a health issue requires a change in your environment or you just want to simplify your life.
Before you start looking for your next home, investing some time thinking about what is important to you will make your search much more focused, easier, and rewarding. The key to choosing the best option is to assess your current and future needs and desires in light of your financial capabilities. The three major areas to consider are budget, location, and property features.
Budget: Find out what your current home is worth in today’s market by contacting a REALTOR®. Its possible that with a little investment of time and money you could significantly improve the value of your home before putting it on the market. In addition, have a thorough consultation with your financial advisor in order to get a sense of what will be financially comfortable in the foreseeable future.
Location: Consider where the important people and activities in your life are located. Will your friends and family still come to visit if your new location adds an extra 20 minutes travel time? Will a new location provide easy access to amenities and facilities important to you such as a library, grocery shopping, spas/gyms, rec centres, parks, and hospital and medical services. I have a friend who is passionate about agility training for her dogs. Moving to a community where this doesn’t exist would be unthinkable. Perhaps there is a new hobby you would like to pursue. Make sure it’s viable where you intend to move.
Property features: Here are just a few questions to consider:
- Do you still want to garden?
- Do you have a large dog or several pets?
- Do you need a one level property for health reasons?
- Would you be ok living within the constraints of strata by-laws?
- What is the minimum sq. ft. you would be comfortable in?
- Are you ready to have daily chores and meals taken care of?
Depending on your answers to these and many other important questions, your big downsizing options are:
1) a smaller one or two level house on a smaller or level lot,
2) a one or two level townhouse with a small garden or no garden at all,
3) a condo,
4) a manufactured home in a park,
5) a retirement residence.
Each one of these options also has an extraordinary amount of variations to consider but narrowing it down to one or two of the big options will help in the beginning of your search for the right home for you. Moving from a house with large sq footage to a smaller condo may be too huge a leap for some but just right for others. Realtors who specialize in helping people downsize offer comprehensive questionaires, checklists and information that expertly guide you through the transition from your current home to your ideal home.
The important thing is to start early in the planning stage so that when the time comes, you’ll be ready to move forward in peace because the stress of making the big decisions will have already been taken care of.