Downsizing is a pretty hot term lately, especially with the Toronto housing and condo markets showing no signs of slowing down. But how do you know if condo living is the next best step for your lifestyle? What are the benefits of condo living and downsizing?
Making the move to a condo unit shouldn’t feel like a downgrade from your current home. Condo living can be an amazing choice to make with many benefits to be realized. Location, cost and amenities make condo living very attractive, but what we find is the biggest advantage is the feeling of freedom.
If you’re realizing you’ve been using less and less of your home as the years progress condo living might be the answer. Not only will you have less space to worry about cleaning and furnishing, you’ll also be able to say goodbye to some dreaded chores like lawn care and snow shoveling.
Before making such a big decision, take a look at what we think are some of the biggest benefits of downsizing.
Downsizing Benefit: Freedom
Many people that are nearing retirement have a lot of considerations to make about their upcoming lifestyle change. But the most exciting factor has to be that of newfound freedom! You’ll have plenty of time to travel the world, spend time with your family and experience a new slower pace of life.
Condo living has become more and more popular among retirees, as it opens the doors to an easier lifestyle, and the ability to leave for weeks at a time without a worry at all about what is happening with your traditional house.
Imagine purchasing a part-time-home in Florida, Arizona or ever Overseas, and not having to worry about weekly maintenance with your house. No lawn to keep, no pool to clean, no leaves to rake. The freedom that condo living provides is what is making it so attractive to those who have retirement in their near future.
Built in Security
Another factor that makes condo living an idea to consider is that of security. Most new condo developments in the GTA are very focused on resident security. You would be challenged to find a new building that doesn’t have a 24-hour concierge, as well as additional measures to make you feel safe. Key scanning entrances and security cameras are becoming the norm, as is secured parking and diligent neighbours who are always keeping a watchful eye.
Lower Housing Expenses
Many new condo owners are shocked at the monthly fees that are associated with living in a condo. Think about your monthly maintenance fees that you typically spend on your home – they can be quite high, especially when your house is of a substantial size. Think about all of the seasonal costs associated with snow removal or the swimming pool in your backyard. When doing a side-by-side comparison, you’ll typically find that these numbers end up being quite similar.
One thing to watch out for is a new development that has all of the amenity bells and whistles. If you’re downsizing, you many not necessarily need a spin studio, shared workspace area, and massive fitness facilities in your building. Pick some of the amenities that are important to you and keep that in mind as you look with your buyer’s agent. With fewer amenities, your maintenance fees won’t soar through the roof as the building ages.
Moving into a condo means you won’t have to worry about shoveling your walks, mowing your lawn, putting the garbage to the curb and weeding your gardens. Your condos yearly maintenance fee will cover all of these, leaving you with more time to do the things you really want to do.
Another consideration is that you won’t need to worry about any issues with an aging home – no roof to replace, no deck to replace and no trees to maintain.
Access to Amenities
These will vary from building to building, but generally speaking you will have access to a variety of on-site amenities that you didn’t have when you owned a full-sized home. Things like fitness centers and outdoor areas, are often included in your condo fees, which can ultimately help you save money elsewhere.
Other amenities you’ll have access to depend on where you’d like to live. If choosing a condo in the downtown core, you may want to live in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood to be close to the market. If you enjoy sprawling views, perhaps the Harbourfront is for you with glorious lake views. You have an incredible opportunity to curate the lifestyle you want by choosing the right neighbourhood to live in.
Joining a Community
Condo communities usually mean people live closer together than they do in regular neighbourhoods, so the residents tend to form strong bonds. Being a part of this community helps to make the transition smoother and offers a group of ready-made friends when you move in.
Many buildings cater to retirees and have strong communities of like-minded people. Look for a building that is tailored to who you want as neighbours. Although not completely in your control, you can find communities of people who are after the same type of lifestyle you are.
Downsizing doesn’t have to be a negative. It allows you to explore life with a new sense of adventure and freedom you otherwise may not have the opportunity to experience. Take into account all of your lifestyle wishes and wants, then make a decision that will allow you to have the best retirement experience possible.