There comes a time in life when your home suddenly seems too big. The kids have left and the house is quiet, yet there is still the growing costs involved in maintaining your family home.
As your priorities change and you no longer have to stay in a sought after neighbourhood with good schools or a city with a strong job market, your options for choosing where to live and how you want to live really open up.
But, is downsizing your home and the upheavel and emotional turmoil it creates really worth it?
If you’re considering downsizing your home, how many of these reasons resonate with you?
- You have too much space
- You are not using half of your home
- You are spending more time away from your home, either volunteering, taking on new hobbies or snowbirding
- There are more days that you think about moving rather than staying
- It’s getting harder to maintain the yard and gardening is no longer fun
- Winter maintenance and clearing snow is physically demanding and getting too much to manage
- It’s not as easy to maintain the cleaning and chores around the home
- There are too many expenses associated with your home and they keep rising
- You love the idea of travelling more or starting a brand new hobby
- Your home isn’t senior friendly (too many steps, door ways need widening etc)
- Your family is spread out and no longer using/needing the space you have saved for them
- Your family is using your home for storage purposes
- You feel mentally prepared to let go of all your “stuff” and embrace the next chapter
- You no longer need to be in a family friendly, school focused neighbourhood
- You are no longer feeling connected in your neighbourhood
That’s a lot to think about right?
So what are the advantages of downsizing and is it really worth all the effort to move?
- It’s very possible to improve your retirement income stream if your new home costs less than what your old home sells for. Dowsizing and selling at the right time can pull out equity which can be invested or used for enjoyment
- You can choose a smaller home that is senior friendly, and one that meets all your space requirements for the next chapter of your life
- They’ll likely be less (if any) shovelling or snow ploughing to do.
- Downsizing to a smaller home, will likely result in less cleaning, less maintenance so you’ll have more time to do what you choose to do with your time
- With less space and fewer rooms to separate into, you’ll be spending more time interacting with the people that matter most
- You get to choose your neighbourhood and whether you want to be within walking distance of shopping, amenities and parks
- Your kids can’t move back home (sad but true)
- You get the opportunity to meet new people in a new neighbourhood and explore all that the area has to offer
- Downsizing allows you to streamline (and purge) your life and belongings
- A smaller space encourages simple living. You’ll need fewer home items to fill the spaces
- Sometimes you need the change to start fresh and embrace this next chapter of life.
But there is no doubt about it. Downsizing is a HUGE decision and it’s not the right one for everyone. Each situation is unique. My advice to you would be to first consult with your financial adviser or planner to discuss your downsizing plans and then armed with this professional advice you are in a far better position to decide if this is the best option for you. By paying off your home during downsizing, you’ll likely be in a in a far better financial position than many retirees but you should still consider the costs of selling your home, which can add up to quite a chunk of money.
It’s important to get a realistic picture of what your current home might sell for and what a suitable next stage home might cost. Rising mortgage rates and overall cost of living hikes are making it more difficult for younger home buyers with families to afford a large, pricey home in a good neighbourhood. So it’s important to time the market to avoid missing your window of opportunity for downsizing.
Be mindful of the current real estate market and get all your ducks lined up so that when the optimal time comes, you are ready to take action.
There are pros and cons to downsizing your family home and I hope I have given you some food for thought. I’ve helped many families successfully navigate this downsizing process and if you’d like to chat about your options, don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll answer all your questions. I’m always happy to help.