Downsizing 101: Build Small, Live Big

Downsizing 101: Build Small, Live Big

 

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The term “Home Downsizing” can mean different things to different people. Some definitions we have seen include:

 

  • Selling off excess personal property in order to make more room.
  • Moving into a smaller, more manageable home.
  • Cashing in on personal property investment
  • Reducing the mortgage payment and living expenses.

 

Perhaps the simplest definition of Home Downsizing is “Making do with less”. That can mean shedding off all of the excess baggage that you have in your life including expenses, personal property, collections, or junk…and living a simpler, less complicated life. If you are considering a major downsizing or move in the near future, one or more of the following statements likely apply to you:

 

  • Your children are grown and gone.
  • Your home has become an empty nest.
  • You are retired, or getting ready to retire.
  • You are ready to move closer to or to live with your children.
  • You live in a home larger than you now need.
  • The housework and yard are becoming too difficult to maintain.
  • You are tired of the house and yard work and want free time.
  • Increased taxes and carrying costs are too much of a burden.
  • You’ve lost a spouse or partner and are now living alone.
  • You want to live in an amenity-rich neighborhood and enjoy shops and services at your doorstep.
  • You would prefer to live in a year-round warmer climate.
  • You are ready to tap into the home equity you have built up.

 

Here are some reasons to consider downsizing a move up:

 

Easier to maintain. Anyone who has owned a house knows the amount of time, energy, and effort to maintain it. All things being equal, a smaller home or condo requires less of your time, energy, and effort to accomplish that task.

Less cleaning. And that should be reason enough…

Less expensive. Smaller homes and condos are less expensive to purchase and less expensive to keep.

Less debt and less risk. Dozens of on-line calculators will help you determine “how much house you can afford.” These formulas are based on net income, savings, current debt, and monthly mortgage payments. They are also based on the premise that we should spend “28% of our net income on our monthly mortgage payments.” For most Canadians looking to purchase real estate and stay within this percentile, condo developments are the best option.

Less environmental impact. A smaller home or condo requires less resources to build and less resources to maintain. And that benefits all of us.

More time. Many of the benefits above (less cleaning, less maintaining, mental freedom) result in the freeing up of our schedule to pursue the things in life that really matter – whatever you want that to be.

Encourages family bonding. A smaller home or condo results in more social interaction among the members of the family. And while this may be the reason that some people purchase bigger homes, I think just the opposite should be true.

Forces you to remove baggage. Moving into a smaller home or condo forces you to intentionally pare down your belongings.

Less temptation to accumulate. If you don’t have any room in your house for that new treadmill, you’ll be less tempted to buy it in the first place (no offense to those of you who own a treadmill… and actually use it).

Less decorating. Choosing wall color, carpet color, window treatments, and light fixtures for dozens of rooms may appeal to some buyers, but for those who prefer a turn-key experience, smaller homes and condo projects provide a variety of pre-selected materials and colours to choose from instead of buyers having to source materials, hire contractors, and manage construction budgets on their own.

Wider market to sell. By its very definition, a smaller, more affordable house or condo is affordable to a larger percentage of the population than a more expensive, less affordable one.

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