You’ve Thought About It, Is It Now Time To Do It?
You may have spent the last decade or more in your family house. But as time has gone on and the kids are on their own, do you really need that big space anymore? That’s a question that comes up all the time. Maybe it’s time to downsize, cash out and start your next chapter. Whether it be retirement or hobby, maybe you’ve wanted to start doing more things in your spare time. So think about some of these things below, it may help you as you consider this road.
- Do you really need this much space? If your spare room or rooms only get 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.
- Most Canadians are relying on their home to fund part of their retirement. Imagine if you sold your $1.6mil house and moved to a $600K condo. Think about the opportunities and doors that will open for you? More travel? Earlier retirement? Fund a new hobby? Maybe start that business you’ve been waiting for?
- Let talk about maintenance. As a homeowners you are not used to paying strata fees. So think about this for a second. It’s generally cheaper to pay strata fees than to maintain a house in Vancouver. From dealing with regular maintenance items like cleaning gutters and maintaining the furnace, to big dollar unsexy money spent fixing a leaking roof or basement, the costs can add up fast. Do you really want to keep mowing that lawn or have someone else do it for you? Strata fees are also predictable (which is nice in retirement).
- 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 are (finally) on their own and downsizing to a smaller place is a guaranteed way to make sure they don’t move back in. While I’m not suggesting you need to downsize to a one-bedroom condo, most condos will have party rooms that can host your 20-person Thanksgiving Day dinner and some also have guest suites for extra guests.
- Changing neighbourhoods is one of the most exciting (and scary) parts about downsizing. But there’s a certain sense of fun to it. Getting to learn new area and the people around can be a sense of renewed energy. Learning the trails, walks, even the best spots to eat and drink. If you’re currently in the suburbs, imagine being able to walk to cafes, theatres, and parks?
- Lifestyle. The biggest adjustment to a downsize is your lifestyle – you’ll likely be giving up that big backyard but you’ll also gain time and cold hard cash. What kind of life do you want to live?
Downsizing Tips & Advice
- Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace can become your new friend as you start to declutter. You’d be surprised at how much those used Ikea bookshelves or tables can still fetch. So when in doubt, throw it out…but try selling it first. You may be able to fund that first vacation as you celebrate this downsize.
- Your next step is to donate, donate, 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.
- It’s time to use the good dishes 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 china dishes?
- Memories are just that – memories. While it’s nice to have family heirlooms and keepsake items that are personally significant to you, you probably don’t need every greeting card or concert ticket stub. Make a point of moving just the important stuff with you (they’ll be more important to you that way too).
- 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.
There’s so much more to making this decision but having some sense of what lays ahead is good. Hope this helps you as you enter that new chapter in life.
Let’s talk and we can guide you along the way.