Downsizing. To Baby Boomers whose kids have moved out of the nest, or to seniors ready to reduce their obligations, downsizing is a very uplifting term, with no negative connotations. It brings to mind “debt free” and “close to everything.” Even if the “adult kids” haven’t moved out of the nest — and you really want them to — a downsize move might just push them out of the tree.
Even families are opting to live “vertically” in smaller spaces — valuing time over space in today’s hectic world. Life can be simpler, and more relaxing, in a smaller space with fewer financial and maintenance obligations.
Then, there is the “cash out” segment, people who want to cash out of their equity in their high-value homes — and discharge any remaining debt — downsizing to a condominium they can carry debt free.
Condominiums are communities not just homes
Sure, houses generally have more interior space and backyards; equally true, condos typically have more lifestyle benefits. Objectively, that depends on your particular lifestyle and needs, but specifically for downsizing Baby Boomers, Seniors and families who want to spend more time together, there are some very compelling advantages to an urban condominium lifestyle: communal amenities, short commutes, fort knox security and no lawn to cut.
One that is often overlooked is community. While it’s true, that a house in the small rural town can be the very model of community and close-knit neighbourhood, in the urban setting, condos may be closer to that ideal. In city neighbourhoods, people don’t always know who’s on the other side of the fence. In condos, it’s unavoidable. You see the community in the community amenities, in the elevators, on the barbeque patio, everywhere.
In fact, many people find that they gain much more than they lose by downsizing to condos. They often live closer to work, have closer relationships with their neighbours, participate more in community events, make better use of the gym, and save a great deal of money. The following is a more in-depth look at all the ways that downsizing may be more of an upgrade than you originally thought.
Location, Location, Location!
Location is everything. Nobody wants to spend hours per day driving across town, trying to run errands on top of the daily commute to work. However, many people do just that. Imagine all the driving you do on a daily or weekly basis. The average motorist drives over 10,500 miles per year. If you have kids or have a busy schedule, you likely end up driving much more than that, especially if your job requires a great deal of driving. How much do you end up driving each week? Think about it for a moment.
You get ready in the morning and drive to work. Then in the afternoon, you get off work and drive home. You do this approximately five times a week. However, that is not all. You also must do the grocery shopping, keep doctor’s appointments, take kids to and from school and their after-school activities, then you have the away games for your child’s football team, PTA and parent-teacher meetings, and work meetings. Then you get home and unwind. After a while, you start dinner and realize you need to run back out to the store to pick up the one thing that you actually went to the store to get but somehow ended up buying everything except that one thing. Then a few times a week, you drive across town so you can hit the gym, which you are really only doing because there is no way you are going to let that expensive membership go to waste, so you go the absolute minimum number of times to make it all worth it. Then you drive back home, cook, straighten up, go to sleep, and then wake up to do it all over again.
The further you live away from work and other places you frequent, the more you commute. Condos, however, are in central locations, surrounding by businesses. This saves a lot of time and money because you can walk most places instead of driving or calling a taxi. Living in a condominium also usually grants you access to parks, jogging trails, gyms, pools, and more You save a lot of money on memberships you would otherwise have to purchase, as well as saving time since they are practically in your backyard. When considering downsizing to a condo, be sure to take both locations into account and figure out which option saves the most time and money.
Security and Maintenance
Condominiums also offer tenants a sense of security. Officers usually patrol the areas and keep them safe. Maintenance, repairs, security, landscaping, etc. are all provided by the property owners, usually at no cost to the resident unless they damaged property, either intentionally or otherwise.
Living so close to your neighbours can also make you feel safe, assuming you are close to them, because they get to know you and recognize signs of trouble. They are also there for you if you need it. If you have a sick child at home and get called in for an emergency meeting at work, a babysitter is potentially only steps away. You also get to meet a lot of new people and expand your horizons.
Although the thought of downsizing can be stressful, there are more benefits than disadvantages. What you lose in square footage is often made up for in perks, amenities, savings, and more.