Is your home suddenly feeling a little too big? If so, it may be time to seriously consider downsizing. The truth is, selling the family home to find a smaller space can be very rewarding—if you do it the right way.
As I see it, downsizing is about embracing an exciting new lifestyle. It’s about celebrating the past while exploring future opportunities. That said, it can feel more than a little daunting when you haven’t started yet. Fortunately, with a bit of planning, you can help ensure a relatively seamless transition!
Here are a few things to think about as you take your next step…
Is Now the Right Time?
In my experience, many people spend a lot of time going back and forth about whether to downsize before they take the leap. While it’s important to consider your options carefully, getting paralyzed by indecision is never a good thing.
If you’re thinking of downsizing but aren’t sure whether it’s the right step, here are a few questions to ask yourself.
- Has the number of people in your household recently shrunk (due to your kids leaving for university, for example)
- Have you begun questioning whether the steep cost of your home’s utilities and general upkeep is worth it?
- Are you finding it more challenging to maintain your home than you used to (because of mobility issues, reduced energy, or a desire to concentrate your efforts elsewhere?)
- Has your interest turned to travel, investing, helping out family, or another pursuit that you could finance by tapping into your home equity?
- Have you found yourself wishing you lived in a more convenient location, near walkable amenities and attractions?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it might be time to seriously consider downsizing. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. If the idea of taking this step appeals to you for any reason, you may want to start giving it some thought.
Wondering how much your property could sell for in the current market? Get in touch right here for a free home evaluation!
What Should You Keep?
Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, you’ll want to start thinking about decluttering. The amount of stuff that can accumulate in a family home over the years never ceases to amaze me, and getting a handle on it is one of the keys to moving forward.
While sorting through years (or even decades) of possession can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Giving yourself time (at least a few weeks) to tackle the job will allow you to make progress without feeling too stressed out.
A great place to start is with your furniture and large appliances. Make sure you know the measurements of any new home you’re considering buying—including the rooms and any passageways and staircases you’ll have to travel through to get there. Then record the height, width, length, and depth of any pieces you’re thinking of bringing with you to ensure they’ll fit.
Next up, consider what you actually use. Pro tip—if you haven’t touched it in a year, there’s a good chance you won’t miss it. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, consider tossing out duplicate possessions (like that second coffee maker that’s still in its box). For any items that you’re on the fence about, consider picking them up and asking yourself whether they spur feelings of happiness.
One of the best ways to get the job done is by working your way from one room to the next. You’ll be surprised by how low-stress the decluttering process can be!
Are you planning to sell your home and downsize? If so, check out some of my selling and downsizing resources!
- A Quick Guide to Downsizing Your Home
- Selling Your Home in Toronto
- 5 Home Upgrades That Will Pay Off When You Sell
How to Start Paring Things Down
Decluttering is all about saying goodbye to things that don’t add value to your life, but where will they all go? While worn-out items should probably be tossed away, there are a few different things you can do with belongings that are still in good condition.
The first option is giving things away to family and friends who may have a use for them. The second is to donate them to a charitable organization. Some places (like Canadian Diabetes Trust) will pick your items up, while others (such as the Salvation Army) accept drop-offs.
If you could use some extra cash to help with moving expenses, you may want to consider posting some of your possessions on an auction website or platform. Facebook, eBay, and Absolute Auction are just a few popular options, and each one comes with its pros and cons.
For example, some studies show that items posted on Facebook Marketplace tend to fetch more money, while eBay allows you to auction your belongings to purchasers all over the world.
Finding the perfect place to call home is a key part of downsizing successfully. Get started by reading our buying resources!
- The Top 5 Home-Buying Mistakes to Avoid
- Buying a Home in Toronto
- 5 Inspections You Need That Go Beyond a Typical Home Inspection
Assembling Your Team
When you’re downsizing, proper support is vital to a successful purchase and sale. No matter how much helpful information you find online, there’s no substitute for expert, in-person guidance.
First things first: you’ll want to find a real estate agent with a proven track record and experience working with downsizers. Ideally, they should have a strong local network, which will allow them to connect you with other professionals who can help you through your downsizing journey.
A knowledgeable financial planner and real estate lawyer can guide you as you make the best possible decisions for your future. Next, it’s about getting your home in show-ready shape. From a skilled home repair expert to a talented stager, your agent should be able to help you find the right service providers. Lastly, trusted movers can ensure that your move from point a to point b goes smoothly.
Taking Your Next Step
Downsizing isn’t always easy, but planning for it, finding support, and adopting the right frame of mind can all make things easier. By viewing this major life transition as an opportunity, you can begin to embrace a new lifestyle—and start bringing it to fruition!
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