Sometimes people are reluctant to sell a house they’ve lived in for many years because they’re concerned that a smaller house won’t suit their lifestyle. My experience is that almost all “downsizers” are much happier once they’ve made the move.
Many sellers are concerned their new house won’t be large enough to accommodate their possessions. Instead of worrying, use the move as an opportunity to rid yourself of all the things you don’t really need. You won’t require as much furniture for one or two people as for a family of four or five. Keep your best furniture, sell the high-end items you no longer need and donate the remainder to charity. You’ll be surprised how little you miss that old sofa the dog’s been sleeping on for the past 4 years.
If you’re truly trying to downsize don’t move from a 4,000 square foot 4 bedroom/4 bath house into a 2,500 square foot 4 bedroom/4 bath house – it won’t work and you’ll feel cramped. Also, consider purchasing a home with an open floor plan with plenty of light. These homes seem larger and can lift your spirits on rainy Vancouver afternoons.
A smaller, newer home usually means less maintenance. Less maintenance (on the house and the garden) frees up time for you to do things you actually enjoy. Playing golf rather than cleaning the eaves for example. If you love to garden, a smaller plot than what you’re used to will likely suffice. If you decide to downsize into a condo your maintenance time will be almost eliminated completely. Condo living also allows you to lock the door and head off on a trip at a moment’s notice.
Finally, the extra cash you pocket from the downsize can improve your lifestyle dramatically. Retire a little earlier, enjoy additional travel, help out the kids, whatever you like but it’s a definite upgrade.