Oakville Real Estate News

Downsizing Do’s And Don’ts


Blog by Joette Fielding | June 13th, 2013


I know, you don’t believe there is such a thing, and between young people not saving and the government raising theDownsizing Do's And Don'ts retirement age, it’s seems so distant as to be an impossibility.

But it might happen. We all have to hope we get some leisure years, and having property is a big part of that plan.

Almost everyone considers downsizing at some point. For some, it is after the children leave the nest and they wander endlessly through empty bedrooms. For others, the thoughts of downsizing come when yard maintenance and upkeep become too much effort.

Whatever your reason, saving on space can certainly be sensible in terms of capitalizing on your existing property investment and downsizing clutter after decades of buying sprees and holiday souvenirs.

But there are some pitfalls to avoid, so you can rest easy in your retirement.

1. Don’t downsize too much. When buying a new property, it is best to keep your options open for the future sale, if not during your lifetime then perhaps for your children when you’re gone. A property suitable to you in your twilight years might not necessarily sell quickly to a younger buyer down the line.
So aim for ‘modest’ in size because you don’t want to feel cramped after maybe living in a large, family home. Also ‘modest’ size properties typically sell faster than ‘tiny’ sized ones.

2. Don’t go bigger than you need. By contrast to downsizing too much, you can also not downsize enough. You can imagine the kids and grandkids will visit all you want, but don’t go for a home that’s bigger than you need, simply to accommodate potential visitors. One spare room and a fold-out sofa could probably adapt to most needs and will still keep your home manageable. The same goes for lot sizes. Take into consideration how much yard maintenance you will be able to do as you advance in years and what the costs will be if you have to hire someone to mow the grass and weed the garden.

3. Location. Planning for a quiet life outside the city might make sense on one hand, but it puts you further from essential services when you’re older and usually further from public transport if you’re unable to drive because of your health. The location considerations you had as a family or when you were younger may not be the same as you get older. Where ever you choose as a location, make sure you plan ahead so your future needs are met.

4. Money-in/Money-out. With income reduced to your pension and other investments, you may have to adjust to a more modest lifestyle. A smaller home will cost you less, but there may be other costs you need to factor in. Are you overestimating the worth of the home you’re selling? What will the sale price buy you for a retirement home? Get a complete list of what you need to consider, and weigh it up against your income to get a balance that you’ll be happy with.

Memories. The special moments of your life are filling the corners of your home. We’re pack rats. Even in the digital age, we have photos coming out of the digital wazzoo. But you’ll also have books, CDs, DVDs, furniture, and who knows what else, depending on the size of your family and the length of time at your current home. That’s a lot to get rid of, or somehow accommodate in a smaller home. Think about what you really want to keep and don’t make the mistake of trying to hoard it all into what’s supposed to be a smaller space.

Planning to downsize for your retirement can start early, and many people will save up beyond pension considerations and sale of their current home. Certainly a real estate agent and investment advisor can help with the factors you need to consider, but ultimately it will come down to how you want to enjoy your later years, and what you want to do with them. Even in old age, we can still be practical.

 

Content courtesy of http://www.homes-extra.ca


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