You don’t want to put it off anymore, but now you are seriously considering it’s time to downsize. For whatever reason, either the kids have moved on, you hate the upkeep of a large home, your utility bills are out of this world, you are recently divorced, it doesn’t matter, it’s simply time to sell your current home and live smaller.
Like it was when you bought your current home, a seller needs to evaluate their current situation and figure out a budget to see what they can afford. If you will be living on less money or want to save some extra cash, figure out how much you can afford, what sort of lifestyle you desire and pull together a reliable real estate team who can offer you a variety of home options.
The number one thing we, as real estate agents, ask of home buyers looking to downsize: how much less of home are you looking for? While a buyer may not desire the four-bedroom house they currently have, some still don’t want to give up too many spare bedrooms for visiting children and guests. Also, many may not feel the need for a formal dining room, but insist on having a larger kitchen for entertaining purposes. Walk around your home and look at your furniture and belongings, and decide what you want to keep and what you don’t. Look at it this way: downsizing doesn’t mean you have to give up what you want; it just means you are prioritizing your life.
Next, think about your lifestyle. Is it important for you to live in one community as opposed to another? Do you want to live in a condo or a smaller home? A highly regarded school district? Is living near parks, the town center, shopping and entertainment important to you? Public transportation? What about a neighbourhood that is easily walkable? Do you want a home that has stairs?
Once you have considered all of the above and have a clear idea of what you want in a home, it’s time to contact your real estate team. Chances are, you will select an agent that is very familiar with moving clients from a large home to a smaller one, and they will bring their wealth of experiences to the table. A good real estate agent will give you valuable information about the downsizing process and chances are, ask you additional questions, perhaps some you never even thought about. Remember, most professional real estate agents have seen it all, so let them guide you through this process.
For example, let’s talk about home styles. If you are looking for a less expensive and more time friendly home, then think about the architecture of a property. It might be a good idea to stay away from homes that require extensive renovations and major upkeep, such as Victorians, Arts and Crafts and older homes. Many buyers believe Ranch and Bungalows provide the best bet for a simpler life style. Of course, others swear that condo and town homes are they best ways to go. Have a leaky roof? Call the homeowners’ association! Want to go swimming, work out, or meet neighbours in the recreation room? Perfect! All you need to do is find the right condo that fulfills these requirements. But for others, the fees associated with condo living are a turn-off. Not only that, after living in your own space, many find it difficult to share walls with their neighbours for fear of giving up too much privacy. Yes, there are lots of decisions to make.
Finally, keep an open mind when walking through smaller homes. At first, for many clients, it’s a huge shock. A couple will look at each other and ask themselves, “What are we doing? This is too small!” For some who are used to going into another room if they want to watch a separate television show, it’s hard to wrap their head around the fact that living closer together is an adjustment. For most however, it’s a positive step. When we go over the utility savings, the mortgage payments, the homeowners insurance and just the simple fact how much more free time they will have, buyers are always happy with their choice. It’s just plain cheaper to run a small house.
Not only that, moving into a smaller home can be profitable when you sell what you no longer need. We have known clients that have sold their oversized furniture and other personal belongings and made quite a decent amount of money. While decluttering and downsizing can be a challenge, for most, they wonder why they didn’t do it sooner.
So if downsizing is in your future, give us a call. Let us explain the benefits of moving into smaller homes, Windsor condos or townhouses and how we can help you.