“People have been telling me I should look into buying a condo,” she said.
She was preemptively right-sizing and trying to figure out where her golden years would be best spent. Apparently, to some, she should move into a condo.
“Can I give you a nugget of knowledge?” I asked.
“Don’t listen to anybody.”
“Seriously,” I said, “Don’t listen. Because they’ll tell you what THEY like and what THEY prefer. They mean well, and it’s probably a legitimate option, but that doesn’t mean living in a condo is right for you.”
I went on to explain that who you are and your habits, hobbies, and preferences are much better indicators of how comfortable you’ll be in whatever new home you’re considering.
Condo living might be fine if living in a world full of Seinfeld characters doesn’t bother you. In close-quarters living there will always be the fighting couple, the motor mouth, and the spying old woman. It’s just life. If you don’t mind those dynamics, condo living might be fine for you. If the mere thought of it sends you into cold sweats though, it’s time to rethink the condo life.
The thing is, finding a home is more than shopping for a location. It’s much more involved than you think. Especially when it comes to downsizing, grown children and friends will suddenly have big opinions on where you should live. Sometimes they get downright pushy or manipulative.
One time a client of mine sold his home to live with his son in another province, and discovered later he’d been tricked by his own child. (You can read about that here.)
All kinds of things happen in the downsizing process. And, just when you think you’ve seen it all, you see more.
Maybe family issues won’t be a thing in your situation. Maybe they will. I’ve seen even the most cohesive family who gets along at gatherings, suddenly bring out the claws after the parent dies. Things can go wrong even then. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead.
Beyond navigating the personal and relational upheaval your new life stage may initiate, there are also the technical aspects to be aware of. I won’t go into them here, but have written about them at the links below.
There’s the option of buying a condominium versus arranging a life lease. (Read here to find out what a life lease is and why I don’t recommend one)
There’s also the mortgage rules change to consider. In 2018 rules tightened, and it’s much more difficult to get a mortgage. Here are the details on that.
Then there’s the surprising element of how much your current home is worth. Don’t skip this one!
You might be very, very surprised. And the price you get can greatly impact the home you buy next. Read that one here.
After saying all that, there is another option we haven’t touched on yet. You can also choose to ‘age in place’. Being over sixty or wanting to be proactive about your future doesn’t automatically mean you need to go downsizing. Lots can be done to make your current home a comfortable and convenient place for you to continue living. I wrote more about that here.
If you or someone you love is considering downsizing and you’re not sure where to start or where to end, I’d be glad to help you uncover your wants and needs and help you find something that’s right for you.