Dreaming About Downsizing: Learn to Make the Most of Your Move
Your family’s home has been a cherished space that holds countless precious memories – from Thanksgiving dinners to birthday celebrations and summer barbecues, it’s been the perfect gathering place. It’s where your children took their first steps, shared hearty laughs, and studied hard for their exams. Your home has exceeded all your expectations and it’s been a true haven of happiness.
As your kids start their own families and move out, your spacious home starts to feel a little too big for just yourself. Cleaning all those extra rooms becomes a hassle when you hardly use them.
Additionally, the cost of energy consumption is high, especially when you consider the amount of heating and cooling required for rooms that remain unused. Plus, as you age, it can become increasingly challenging to navigate homes with stairs and other obstacles.
You need a new solution. Something smaller. Something more manageable.
Downsizing is a great option for your retirement years. Many homeowners choose this route, and it’s important to consider how you can make the most out of your move. In this guide, we’ll explore all the ins and outs of making this move – from where to look for ideal properties to how best to make use of space once you’re settled in.
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Is It Time To Sell The Family Home? Where Will I Go?
There are situations where selling the family home becomes necessary for some individuals.
This could be a result of a job loss or a change in the family environment, such as a divorce. The income needed to support your current home is no longer available. Downsizing to a smaller home makes more sense financially.
This could be due to declining health and the need for specialized care that can be found in retirement communities and nursing homes. These facilities often provide benefits such as prepared meals and access to trained medical staff for both simple and complex health needs. Additionally, they may offer private apartments equipped with kitchenettes for their residents’ comfort.
However, the cost of living in these types of homes can be a significant drawback for many people, as they may be financially out of reach. Furthermore, some individuals may feel that living in such a setting limits their independence, especially if they are in good health and value an active lifestyle. The freedom to come and go as one pleases may be restricted in these environments.
Whether it’s for monetary or health reasons, many look to buy a smaller pre-owned home as it appears to be the most budget-friendly choice.
However, hidden expenses are often present – despite the benefits of living in proximity to loved ones or necessary amenities, resale homes often come with significant concerns. For example, you may be confronted with costly repairs if you’re buying an older home.
Why Buy A New Home In Your Retirement Years?
When considering buying a new home for retirement, it may seem like a daunting choice at first – the thought of starting to make mortgage payments from the beginning can be overwhelming, especially when you’ve likely paid off the mortgage on your current home or are close to finishing those payments.
However, owning a new home can be surprisingly affordable. Many of our customers use the equity from their current home to fully pay for their new home. Others use it as a substantial down payment, which results in very affordable monthly payments. In addition to the cost of the home, you’ll also see savings in energy costs and home maintenance bills.
A home’s value is not solely determined by its price tag. After leading a long and successful life, you deserve a home that reflects your accomplishments. When you design a brand-new home, you’ll have the opportunity to incorporate all the little design details that’ll make it uniquely yours.
Living in a new home can also be much more convenient. You won’t have to spend your valuable time on maintenance – everything in the home will be new, and you won’t have to worry about things breaking down as much as in resale homes.
There’s also the option to go with a quick possession home. These are brand-new and many are move-in ready, so your moving timeline is much easier to plan and you don’t have to worry about all the design choices if you don’t want to.
In addition, if you’re tired of doing yard work, you can opt for maintenance-free options such as condos and certain townhomes. There are plenty of options for all budgets and lifestyles.
What to Consider When Downsizing
Downsizing to a smaller home is both a difficult and exciting decision. There are multiple aspects you need to consider, such as:
- Location: Location is one of the most important factors when downsizing. You’ll want to find a place that’s close enough to your current residence to make it easy for family and friends to visit. Also, if you plan on travelling often, you’ll want the home to be near a major airport or transportation hub. You might also want to consider any additional needs such as health or mobility issues, so you can ensure you’re close to everything you need.
- Size: Consider how much space you need and don’t be tempted to buy more than necessary. A smaller home will cost less in repairs, maintenance, and utilities. In addition, you’ll spend less time cleaning and organizing your home.
- Amenities: Pick a neighbourhood which provides access to all the amenities you’ll need or want in retirement – grocery stores, pharmacies, medical care services, parks, etc.
How Can I Start the Downsizing Process?
If you’re ready to begin the downsizing process, there are a few steps you should take to make it easier.
Decide on a Floor Plan
Choose a floor plan for your new home and decide where furniture and other items will go. This way, you can decide what to keep and get rid of.
Declutter and Donate Unwanted Items
Start going through your belongings to determine what you can donate or give away. Once you’ve done this, it’ll be easier to get an idea of how much space you’ll need in the future. Check with family and friends if there are things they would like to have. Consider selling items on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji, to help cover moving and closing costs.
Speak With a Professional
Contact Sterling Homes for guidance on selecting the perfect home for your retirement. We have experienced professionals who understand the needs of retirees, as well as an extensive collection of homes designed with downsizing in mind.
Contact a Financial Planner
When downsizing, it’s important to consult with a financial planner. They can provide advice on how best to use the proceeds from selling your home, as well as suggest other ways to maximize the equity from the sale.
A financial planner will also help you figure out the best way to fund any retirement income gap that may exist. This could include investments, annuities, and other financial instruments.
Finally, a financial planner can help you to create an overall retirement budget that fits your lifestyle. This will ensure that you can live comfortably during your retirement years without having to worry about money running out too quickly.
Consult With a Real Estate Agent
In addition to consulting with a financial planner, you should also find a real estate agent you feel comfortable working with. An experienced Realtor® can help you find the perfect home for your retirement needs and lifestyle.
They’ll be able to provide advice on the best neighbourhoods for retirees, as well as offer insight into local market trends. Additionally, they will be able to suggest homes available in your price range, so you can find the perfect place to call home.
Things To Consider After Your Move
Once you’ve made the move to a smaller home, there are still quite a few things you can do to make downsizing more comfortable.
- Make Your Home More Accessible: If you or a loved one needs assistance due to mobility issues, there are a few modifications that can make it easier to move around your home. This includes installing ramps, wide doorways, and levers over doorknobs.
- Maximize Your Storage Space: You still need to find places to store all of your belongings. Look into creative storage solutions that maximize the available space.
- Stay Connected: it’s important to stay connected with family and friends. This could meanchatting online, hosting gatherings at your new place, or even moving to a location where you can be closer to your loved ones.
- Find New Ways to Organize Your Belongings: Downsizing forces you to be more mindful of the items you have and how they are organized. Invest in storage bins, shelves, and other organizational solutions that’ll help keep everything neat and tidy.
- Make New Friends: Moving to a new place is the perfect time to start making new friends! Connect with neighbours or join local clubs or organizations to build relationships and create a new social network.
Downsizing can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right advice and support, you can find the perfect retirement home while saving money in the process. Contact Sterling Homes today to learn how we can help make your downsizing transition easier! We’re proud to offer a range of services to make your move stress-free and successful.
Originally published Mar 8, 2019, updated May 25, 2023
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