While there are a lot of things you should consider before downsizing your Calgary home, one aspect of moving that you can get behind is the freedom that comes from purging all of your unnecessary belongings. It’s like a really thorough spring cleaning.
Downsizing provides an opportunity to save. Yes, you can save on moving costs and space by literally reducing “stuff”, but don’t stop there.
Whether you’re considering an apartment condo, attached bungalow, or a new townhome, downsizing provides the opportunity to review what you have, eliminate what you don’t need, and reduce your costs in all kinds of ways.
Here are a few ideas to consider as you make the transition to the condo of your dreams.
1. Wants Versus Needs
One of the most effective cost-saving steps when downsizing to a smaller home it to determine your wants versus your needs. This can be done before you even purchase your new home. Make a list of all of the standard features, upgrades and amenities you would like in your new home. Now go through your list again and thoughtfully consider what your needs are; the things that you cannot live without.
You may find that you need everything on your list. You may identify some negotiables. You may find that after some thoughtful consideration, and perhaps innovation, that there are some things you don’t need after all. Regardless of the outcome, try to avoid overspending wherever possible.
2. Imagine The Future
The wants versus needs exercise isn’t limited to the home itself. You can do the same with furniture, household items, personal belongings, and so on. One of the most important things to remember, especially if you’re moving into an apartment style condo or townhome, is that downsizing often comes with a lifestyle change.
If you’re moving further into the urban core, grocery stores, and other day-to-day needs may be a short walk or bike ride away instead of a drive - maybe this means having only one car instead of two. There might be some services and amenities on the condo property that eliminate the need to keep things in your home - such as gym equipment. And, unless you’re planning to purchase a private storage unit, on-site storage space is limited in most condos. Imagine the future and plan for it.
3. Time For A Yard Sale
As you begin the process of downsizing embrace the opportunity to give away or sell some of your unwanted belongings.
A traditional garage sale is probably the easiest way to go about it. Put up a couple signs around the neighbourhood and fill your driveway, or, reach as many people as possible by posting your garage sale details using a local app. You might be able to start a little vacation fund or, put all that extra cash towards new furniture more suitable to your new lifestyle.
Another option is an open house sale. Do you have big, awkward furniture that might be less than ideal in a smaller home? An open house might be the perfect way to get a few more prospective buyers through your home, and if nothing else, sell off a few items.
Remember to inform your realtor that you’re downsizing; sometimes homebuyers are in need of furniture too.
4. Square Footage
It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re caught up in the excitement of a move. When you’re looking at a new condo unit, review all of your floor plan options, even the ones you don’t think you’re interested in. A lot of condo companies base their condo fees off of the square footage of the unit. A smaller unit will usually have lower condo fees, even if it’s marginally so.
Consider the size of your condo building as well. Larger buildings with more units are often able to keep condo costs lower as they are spread across more occupants.
5. Insurance Review
Pretty simple. You’re moving into a smaller home. Your property type is changing. It’s worthwhile to reassess your insurance plan and make sure your insurance policy matches your residence. Sometimes insurance rates are lower for condo dwellers. And depending on what is covered by the condo management corporation, you might only be required to have tenant insurance.
6. New Financial Plan
A natural step when downsizing is to adjust your personal financial plan. Downsizing affords opportunities for cost savings in all kinds of areas - from monthly mortgages to on-site amenities in place of local memberships. Don’t forget that there may also be new, different costs, such as condo fees. Make sure you have an updated plan that reflects your expenses and your lifestyle adjustments.
7. Adjust Your Lifestyle
Finally, embrace the opportunity to adjust your lifestyle! It has already been mentioned, but with a little effort, there are lots of ways to save when downsizing. Resist the temptation to purchase storage for all of your stuff. If there is an opportunity to walk, bike, run or take public transit, give it a try. Proximity to nearby amenities is just one of the many things that great communities have in common. It may mean the stores and services you previously drove to are much closer. You never know what other cost saving opportunities you might think of once you’ve settled in.
Downsizing is often about lifestyle change. Less maintenance, less seasonal upkeep, less space to clean. Shedding the large mortgage is great, but shedding the burden of cleaning the old family home, maintaining so much stuff, and living the commuter life makes it that much better. Enjoy the freedom that comes with downsizing, and take every opportunity to save. You’d be surprised at what you can do with a little extra money and a lot more free time.