To Downsize Or Not To Downsize

Should you stay in your large home or should you downsize to a condo? It’s a question that many empty nesters are grappling with as they ponder their future. Many friends you know may have decided to sell their large luxurious homes in Oakville and move to a condo. But is it right for you?

It can feel like an acknowledgement that age is catching up to you and this can be a reason why many delays the decision. Whether you are embracing the next phase of your life or going kicking and screaming, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if a move to a condo is a good idea.

Do you need all the space that you have now?

For many who have several bedrooms that are not being used except for the occasional visitor, downsizing seems attractive. Less home to maintain means more free time. For people that have lots of friends and family that visit, the extra space is a necessity.

Do you love the storage options of your large home and have furniture stored in your basement from family members? Many people can’t see themselves without ample closet space not to mention a large basement.

Moving to a condo means leaving a lot of your ‘stuff’ behind. This can be emotional especially for those with a more nostalgic bent. The dining room chairs you inherited from your grandmother might have to be donated to charity. Also, much of furniture that you have may not fit in the new condo space or may not suit the space.

So the bottom line is: are you craving a fresh start? Can you change your furniture décor and give up belongings without difficulty?

Do you want to spend a significant time in a warmer climate once you retire or spend several months of the year travelling?

A condo is perfect for this type of retirement. You can lock your door and head to Florida or Arizona for six months with little worry about lawn cutting, snow removal and other home maintenance issues.

If your retirement involves gardening or relaxing in the backyard by the pool, a condo may not be an option for you.

Will you enjoy a condo lifestyle?

Living in a condo means there will be rules to ensure the property is maintained to a high standard. While this is a good thing, it may curtail the activities that you like. You may not be able to take that late night swim or have parties on a regular basis.  Also, you may not have the privacy you enjoy.

On the other hand, you don’t have to put out the garbage and recycling on those cold winter mornings if you live in a condo. You can enjoy the amenities of the building you live in whether it is the exercise room, rooftop terrace or theatre room. In addition, many condos are located in downtown areas which allow you to walk to restaurants and shops. This can be a big plus.

 What does it cost?

In markets such as Oakville, many will find that the price of the luxury condo that they want to move into is close to the same price as their current home. They may be reluctant to leave their home if the price is similar.

It is important to weigh all the factors on both sides of the equation. How much does it actually cost to maintain your home? It is easy to underestimate the cost of hiring help etc. You must also factor in the inconvenience factor of dealing with home issues. Also, do you do your own home maintenance and do you enjoy it? Will you physically be able to continue doing it?

On the condo side, you must assess the condo fees and what they include. Can you afford to pay the fees in the luxurious building that you want to live in?

The question of downsizing is not an easy decision. It is especially difficult to leave your home if you have lived there for a number of years and have many fond memories. For many people, a move to a condo will never be the right one. The decision requires a take a close look at yourself and decide what is important to you. There is no wrong answer.

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