Downsizing to a condo is a great way to get a fresh start on life with reduced expenses and more money (and time) to spend on the things you love. While downsizing can save you money in obvious ways – such as lowering housing costs and utility bills – there are also plenty of not-so-obvious ways to save while you make this transition.
Here are a few ways you can save money when moving from a home into a condo or townhome.
1. Lower Insurance Rates
One of the many hidden costs of owning a home is insuring it. Homeowners insurance can be expensive, and rates are on the rise for several reasons, including the fact that homes are getting larger and more expensive to repair. The average homeowner in Alberta pays hundreds of dollars per year for homeowners insurance, but condo owners get to enjoy a big break in insurance rates.
Because condos generally have less square footage than a home and owners are not personally (but jointly) responsible for exterior maintenance, such as the roof and siding, condo insurance is generally much lower than insurance for a single-family home. Condo owners insurance can cost as little as $20 or $30 per month.
2. Less Square Footage
The smaller the home you buy, the less space you need to fill with clutter. We become defined by our possessions and empty space often creates a compulsion to fill it. Think about how much time and money your belongings take from you. The more items you have, the more you need to clean – and clean around. You end up paying more for a larger mortgage and higher utilities to go with the larger house.
When you make the decision to downsize, you have the opportunity to free yourself from items that add nothing to your life. You have less home to maintain plus less square footage encourages you to fill your home only with items you use or love.
3. Lower Maintenance Expenses
Owning a home is a big responsibility and it comes with plenty of maintenance expenses. Along with the cost of installing and maintaining landscaping, you are also solely responsible for your home’s plumbing system, HVAC system, appliances, siding, roof, and more.
While condos do have condo fees, they represent a fixed, predictable monthly cost rather than large, unpredictable expenses. Condo fees cover maintenance of external common areas of the property, such as the roof, siding, and HVAC system, as well as snow removal and landscaping. Because these expenses are shared by everyone in the building, they are far lower than maintenance for a single-family home.
4. Pad Your Savings Account
Letting go of belongings you don’t need or can’t see in your new home can help you boost your savings account, too. Have a yard sale or find other ways to sell your belongings to make some extra money. Moving into a condo with a fitness centre? Get rid of the exercise equipment you won’t need anymore. Furniture too large for your new space? Sell it and choose furniture with a smaller footprint to give you a fresh start.
5. Cut Extra Spending
Condos offer many amenities that you may already be paying for. Most condos feature modern full-service fitness centres, which can save you hundreds every year by skipping the gym membership. You can also enjoy the convenience of taking the elevator to work out instead of driving to the gym. Living in a prime location with many amenities nearby can also save you money, especially if you’re currently spending a lot of time every month commuting around the city.
You can also view downsizing as an opportunity to adjust your lifestyle and look for other ways to save. Don’t give in to the temptation to rent storage for extra belongings you don’t use. Why not walk to nearby amenities rather than driving? You can also save money and open yourself to new experiences by taking public transit to work instead of driving.
Don’t look at downsizing as a step backward; instead, look at it as a way to transform your life and free up money for the things you love – not the things that confine you like clutter, utility bills, and home maintenance.