Four ways to downsize the right way. By Chris Barron

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 at 4:46 am


If you’ve been talking about downsizing in the Nanaimo, Parksville, or Qualicum Beach areas, there is no better time. You’ll get top dollar for your home and, depending on your needs, you can get a new place that will reduce your financial burden for years to come. A downsized home can mean lower taxes, reduced maintenance, and lower (or completely eliminated) mortgage payments. The money you save can be used to help you enjoy life in ways you couldn’t with a lot of equity tucked away in a home you don’t fully use anymore.

It all sounds promising but, before you take the leap, here are five ways to make the process easier:

  • Figure out how much stuff you really need. This part of the process can be tricky, but it’s important to honestly determine how much space you truly need so that you don’t downsize by too much. The best way to do this is to subject your stuff to the “one year test.” Start by pulling out everything you own in every room, closet, and storage space. Then, only put back the items you’ve used in the last year. Consider selling or donating anything you haven’t used in over a year to free up space and generate a bit of extra spending money.
  • Figure out your furniture. Most people overlook this step, but anyone looking to downsize will need to consider that their furniture probably won’t fit properly in a smaller space. Selling old furniture and buying new pieces will eat into the profits you earned by downsizing, so it’s best to look for a place that will accommodate the pieces you have. You can plan this out by measuring the furniture you want to keep and mapping out the minimum room dimensions on graph paper.
  • Consider the future. If you have adult children that may have a need a place to stay, make sure you have at least one spare room. If you plan on moving into care when you’re no longer able to look after yourself, make sure the place you buy has the resale value to support your transition. If you’re considering home based care in the future, make sure the place you move can easily accommodate senior living.
  • Make sure you’re not paying fees that will eat up your savings. If you’re going to have to pay condo fees, make sure you know how much they can increase, or if there are any provisions that allow the condo board to demand large one-time sums. A condo will mean reduced maintenance, but the fees in older buildings can sometimes make the reduced workload less worth it.

Downsizing in Nanaimo, Parksville, or Qualicum Beach is a big step and, while the numbers can make sense, sometimes the reality is a little different. By following these five steps you’ll make the experience much more rewarding both financially and mentally.

Good luck, and happy moving!

Chris Barron