While the traditional homeowner path involves upsizing to a larger home, there comes a time when a smaller home makes more sense. Not just for empty nesters and retirees, downsizing may also be a smart choice following a divorce, to reduce your carbon footprint, or to give you the financial freedom to pursue new experiences like traveling.
Is downsizing the right move for you? Here are six reasons why downsizing makes sense.
1. Financial Benefit
Downsizing can come with clear financial benefits which may be especially important if you are attempting to buy a home on a single income. With a smaller home comes lower utilities, taxes, maintenance, furnishings, and other costs. A downsizing worksheet can help you determine just how much you’ll gain by making the move to something more affordable.
Reduced housing costs can make it easier to get back on your feet or free up more money for your lifestyle. The reduced overhead can make it easier to pursue a fresh start and spend more time on the things that matter, whether you want to travel, take up a sport, or try a new hobby.
2. Reduced Maintenance and Upkeep
Generally, when someone decides to downsize they look at condos, and it makes sense. In exchange for monthly condo fees, you will not need to worry about lawn and landscaping upkeep, shovelling snow and ice, trimming trees, or exterior repairs to the roof or siding. With easy home maintenance, you can put more time toward the things that matter most to you.
3. Better Security
Condo living can give you a greater sense of security, which makes this style of housing a good home choice for single parent families. Depending on the community, there may be a gated entrance, doormen, security cameras, or fob security access. Keyless access prevents unauthorized people from gaining entry not only to residential units but also to common areas of the condo. You’re far less likely to worry about leaving your home unattended or allowing the kids to come home from school alone.
4. Sense of Community
Downsizing from a home to a townhome or condo may mean a smaller space, but it can come with a new sense of community you may not have enjoyed with previous neighbours. Condo communities typically have common indoor and outdoor spaces to get acquainted with your new neighbours and make friends. Downsize your space and upgrade your social life!
You may also appreciate the amenities that come with a smaller place. Condos offer a wide range of amenities that are included in the condo fees; things like entertainment areas, grilling and patio areas, heating parking garages, fitness centres, and saunas. The cost of these amenities may otherwise not be affordable.
6. Simplify Your Life
The larger your home, the easier it is to fill it with stuff you don’t need or even use. If you want to focus less on material possessions and cut down your consumption, downsizing can force you to do this. When your space is limited, it’s easier to focus only on items you need or things that bring you happiness every day.
Tips for Downsizing
A major life change like divorce can feel like the end of something, but it can also be the beginning of a new life. Downsizing to a new and more affordable home is one thing to help you feel good about moving forward.
The first step is decluttering your life and letting go of items you don’t really need or want. Whether you have a garage sale, sell items individually, or donate them, go through all of your possessions and ask yourself:
- How often do I use this item?
- Will I use this item in the next 6 months?
- Does this item bring me joy or happiness?
- Would I replace this item if it were gone?
If you can’t justify moving belongings to a new home where they will just take up space, don’t be afraid to let them go. This can be especially hard to do after divorce, which is already an emotional time. You feel like you’ve already lost too much and hesitate to give up any belongings, but it helps to look towards the future and the new life you want to build for yourself.
The next step is deciding how much space you will need and the lifestyle you want to live once you’ve pared down your belongings. Do you really need four bedrooms or would you be more comfortable – in terms of finances and time spent on upkeep – with a two-bedroom condo? Will you be sharing the space with kids, or do you expect friends or family to visit often? If you have a pet, would you prefer a townhome for easier access to outdoor space or are you comfortable in an apartment style dwelling?
Look for homes that will fit your budget – remember to try and buy less than what you can afford in order to leave yourself some financial wiggle room. Also, try to consider the pros and cons of each neighbourhood to find a community that will best fit your needs and lifestyle going forward. Lastly, and above all else, don’t stress! The process may seem a little overwhelming at first, but by following a few of the handy tips above, you’ll transition into your new, uncomplicated lifestyle in no time.
Photo credit: hand holding house, two women talking