Downsizing - Is The Timing Right?

Many people decide to downsize at different stages of their lives but how do you know when it’s really the right time for YOU?

The most common reason in today’s climate is generally related to retirement, but downsizing is not specific to retirement nor is retiring the only reason that you may consider downsizing. At points in time, people may just realize that their home is simply too large and that it has become too much of a time-consuming struggle to maintain. In other situations, some homeowners discover that their house represents much more of a financial burden than they were anticipating or can currently handle. They would rather move in to a new home with lower mortgage and utility payments than live with the fear of being “house poor” and not being able to make ends meet. The end of a marriage/relationship is also one of the reasons that downsizing becomes an option of choice. Less people in the home will generally equate to less space required.


After all of those hard-working years and raising your family, you have reached that golden stage known as “retirement”. Perhaps you got to that point through attaining a certain age, number of years of service, or your employer decided to offer you a lucrative “get out of jail now” card. There are several “hints” that will help you to see if it really is time to look for a smaller place that requires less attention and allows you to enjoy your freedom. However, the emotional ties you have to your home and all the wonderful memories you associate with it, can make you hesitant to consider any change. Downsizing can be a hard decision to make but there are plenty of positives associated with taking that journey. You can look forward to having more leisure time, more money since maintenance and utilities will generally be less, and you can plan for vacations and spontaneous getaways. Retirement downsizing can be a wonderful new adventure in your lives.   

Financial Restrictions

Downsizing is an excellent decision if you find that your current home is a heavy financial burden and you are finding it difficult to just make ends meet.  Homeowners who are faced with a reduction in salary or the loss of a job will often find that downsizing is required in order to keep on top of things and still maintain a lifestyle that meets the family’s needs.  Should you find yourself thinking about re-mortgaging your house, taking funds from your RRSP, or other investment accounts, just to be able to pay the bills then you should seriously be considering a downsize move.
Medical Restrictions

We hardly ever plan for something to go medically wrong with ourselves, our partners or other members of the household.  However, it’s a fact of life that this does happen at times. Medical conditions can result in a loss of, or limited mobility, which makes it very difficult to maneuver through the home. This is especially true if your house is a multi-level structure. You could consider investing in construction changes that make it less difficult to get around but quite often in these unfortunate situations, moving to a single level dwelling, like a bungalow, becomes the best and most cost effective solution.

Space Overload

You are getting that feeling that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the daily chores, interior and exterior maintenance, and have energy left to eat dinner? This is a good indication that you are probably ready to adjust your living arrangements and consider adapting to a simpler lifestyle. Too much extra space and too much “stuff” are pretty clear indicators that you might be ready for that change. If you have several rooms which only seem to collect dust, it can be a sign that you have more space than you need. If you have random stuff laying around and it takes an eternity to find an item, downsizing could be your answer. 


Downsizing is not always the solution for any, or all, of the situations in this article. It is sometimes just too difficult for people to let go of what has become their “life”.  They can’t see themselves moving, let alone going through the process of finding another home, packing,  unpacking and basically starting over again.
Once you’ve made the decision to sell and look for another home, your real estate agent should be there every step of the way from listing your current home, searching with you for a new home and making sure that you have all the connections that you need to move forward in the most stress-free manner possible. There is no doubt this is a huge undertaking BUT take comfort in knowing that there are companies out there that will work with you to develop a transition plan that includes purging unneeded items, connecting you with movers, contractors and other professional services. Make sure that YOUR real estate agent is working towards introducing you to all of these services that can make your move a journey to look forward to rather than something that causes you worry, dread and sleepless nights.

Downsizing can be a beautiful, transforming part of your life. Embrace it when your time comes and approach it with a “go get ‘em” attitude!