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Downsizing: Getting a Bungalow or a Condo

Greetings! Welcome to WRX Property Group’s website and blog. Many people reach a point in their lives whereupon a sudden realization pops into their heads; this realization often takes the form of a thought that looks something like: “I think it’s time to downsize.” Going small is, of course, a big decision, but we here at WRX Property Group will endeavour to alleviate some of the stress that can come with downsizing. So if you’d like to know some of the steps you might want to take along your downsizing journey, we’re here to help! And if you’re looking to buy a smaller home or a condo in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, or Guelph, please check out the listings (broken down by city and neighbourhood) on our website. We post our listings up to 24 hours before the MLS, and in these competitive markets, it’s good to get going early – so feel free to call or email us, and get the smaller home or condo of your dreams!


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Why to Downsize

If you’re planning to downsize, you presumably live in a home or condo that isn’t what you want right now. Price can be a factor: though certainly not always, smaller homes and condos do tend to have a lower price point than larger homes and condos. So by downsizing, you can either earn a tidy profit if your mortgage is already paid off, or benefit from a smaller loan (smaller principle and lower monthly interest payments). For people in the latter scenario, living in a smaller home for a while can be a way to save up money for other things, or moving back to a larger house in the future. Many parents choose to downsize after their children have moved out. And there are a number of reasons for people to prefer bungalows and condos to multi-storey homes: medical reasons, for example, can make stairs problematic, so having your living quarters on one primary level can be ideal. In terms of condos, there’s the added benefit of having things like yard work and shovelling taken care of for you. Finally, many people decide they just don’t need a home as large as their current one and are looking to simplify their lives.

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How to Downsize

Downsizing is an adjustment, especially if you’ve been living in your larger home for a long time. But while it is an adjustment, it doesn’t need to be a negative experience. Cutting down on clutter – and getting rid of the things you neither want nor need – can feel liberating. If you plan on selling things (online markets like Kijiji are great for this), it’s good to start well in advance of the moving date; after you’ve gone through the trouble of moving stuff from one home to your next one, you might just end up keeping it, even if you’d decided you neither want nor need it. Similarly, if you plan on handing things down to family, giving things away for free, or having a garage sale, earlier is usually better (if you are selling, the extra money can also help with moving expenses). Beyond the physical preparations (e.g. getting rid of possessions and furniture so that your new, smaller home isn’t bulging at the seams), it’s also good to prepare yourself mentally. It’s always hard saying goodbye to a home, but you can look at it as a positive transition: a new chapter. If you’re reading up on downsizing, chances are you already have your reasons for wanting to go through with it. So yes, it may feel difficult at times, but before you know it, your new, smaller house will feel like home. Smaller living spaces (like bungalows and condominiums) have enough benefits over larger options that you may wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! Speaking of benefits…


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Benefits of a Bungalow

The perks of a smaller home are plentiful. Some might appear obvious at first, but it’s worth considering the sum total of the ‘pro’ column in favour of bungalows before deciding whether or not downsizing is the right decision for you (and downsizing specifically to a bungalow). Right away, there’s the financial aspect to consider. As mentioned previously, bungalows in the same city and neighbourhood will tend to be cheaper than larger two-storey homes. For established individuals or couples, this can mean selling your current home and earning some money on the difference. Or it can mean smaller mortgage payments, again freeing up some funds for other purchases (or savings). But there are benefits even if you’re downsizing to a similarly-priced smaller home. Smaller homes will likely have lower property tax. Another important financial aspect to consider is heating and cooling costs: a smaller home will have noticeably lower heating costs in the winter, particularly if it’s well-insulated.
After retirement, or with reduced mobility, stairs can become an unwelcome nuisance. With a bungalow, you can cut down on the number of stairs in your life significantly. Downsizing also means less space in general. With a big family, or multiple people living in the same home, large spaces can be good, but as time goes on it can be preferable for the walk from kitchen to bedroom not to feel like preparation for a marathon. And less space also means fewer areas to clean, and less time spent cleaning. You also won’t need as much furniture in a bungalow if you’re downsizing from a larger house, so there are fewer places to lose coins and keys.

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Benefits of a Condominium

Life in a condo has its fair share of differences from life in a house, and it has a slew of advantages that anyone looking to downsize may appreciate. Being a homeowner comes with a lot of freedom, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Living in a condo alleviates some of the worries that come from owning a home; upkeep of the building is not up to you, nor are the sometimes tiring tasks of mowing the lawn and clearing the driveway. As a condo owner, you still have the benefit of investing in the local real estate market, though – and the condo market in Kitchener-Waterloo is doing quite well. Another major perk to consider when it comes to condominiums is location; owing to their more compact size – and their vertical expansion, as opposed to the horizontal spread of houses – many condos have very attractive locations that would be either much more expensive for a house, or simply nonexistent. Downtown Kitchener, for example, (a site of major growth and a flourishing tech industry) has numerous condominiums in prime locations where you won’t find many houses. So if being quite close to things like parks, public transit connections, restaurants, and shops, a condo might be the perfect choice for you. Finally, many condos are designed for a specific community. There are quite a few active lifestyle retirement communities in Kitchener-Waterloo, and they offer all the perks of a smaller space with the additional benefit of shared spaces and a flourishing social scene.
Good luck with your downsizing! Remember, smaller can be better. And as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact WRX Property Group – we’re always happy to help.

Written by Will Kummer

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