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When thinking of downsizing, many associate it with empty nesters and retirees, but smaller homes are quite popular with all age groups and lifestyles.


Whether you are looking to free up extra capital, lower monthly expenses, or reduce the amount of space in the home to fit your current needs, it’s important to remember that this is not a one size fits all project, and there are many downsizing solutions for everyone.


Here are a few ways that you can downsize your home:

SMALLER HOME

Smaller homes aren’t just for singles or first-time buyers anymore!


With many new technologies, it’s much easier to share a small space with others than it used to be. Multi-function rooms are much easier to create and with the right storage in place, they can make for great space-saving.


When planning to move into a smaller home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your family's needs so you’re not sacrificing things that are crucial to your day-to-day life and that it can meet your lifestyle demands.


Think Murphy Beds or raised beds with desk space underneath or multifunctional rooms such as spare bed/office/workout/reading room. The more you can do in one room, the fewer rooms and space you’ll need. 


REDUCE COST OF LIVING

One of the reasons people are looking to downsize today is to cut down on the cost of housing.


Selling your home to move into a smaller or less expensive house means putting more into your down payment and lowering your monthly mortgage payments.


Depending on how far into your mortgage you are, and the cost of the home you choose to relocate to, you may even be able to pay in cash and rid yourself of a mortgage payment altogether.


RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

For those aged 50+, the option of a retirement community is another great way to downsize.


Not only will you have a smaller home, but you may also have access to things you didn’t have before, such as; a swimming pool, games rooms, entertainment, golf, and much more! 


CONDOMINIUM OR TOWNHOME

If you’re dreaming of a low-maintenance lifestyle, condos and townhomes are a great option.


These homes often offer a taste of luxury that single-family homes do not with amenities like swimming pools, saunas, theatres, gyms, security, and no yard work which give ‘home-time’ a whole new meaning.


Condos and Townhomes are also great for snowbirds or anyone who spends a lot of time travelling as your yard work is taken care of and security services are always on the lookout for any unwanted visitors. 


Whatever your reason for downsizing, there are plenty of options and excellent opportunities awaiting you. 



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Buying a home comes with more expenses than you may realize, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.


There are many costs to take into consideration that you may not have previously experienced, especially if you were renting.


When searching for your new home, keep in mind that there are more costs to factor in than just the monthly mortgage payment, such as:

Property Taxes

The amount you pay for property taxes depends on the city-assessed value of your home.


Example: A typical 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home sells for approximately 1.25M (or more) within the City of Victoria. As the assessed value is typically is much lower than the selling price, we will use $1,000,000 as the assessed value. At $1M assessed home will push you to a 0.509% property tax rate equally an annual property tax payment of $6,372.


Keep in mind this amount can change annually based on your assessed value and the rate at which property taxes are applied.


Home Insurance

This number will vary greatly depending on how much you own, your insurance claims history, and the policy you’ve chosen, but on average, you can expect to pay 100-$150 per month. 



Water, sewage and garbage/recycling

If you were previously renting, these costs may come as a surprise for you!


Water charges are based on usage and this amount may vary each month. Water rates within the City of Victoria are charged at $4.52 per unit with 1 unit being 623 gallons of water.


Garbage and recycling charges are based on the size of bins you are using. Most homes opt for an 80-litre bin which is charged at $66.82 every 4 months.


For the average home, sewage rates are approximately $560 per year, this is based on a rate of 188.8 cents per cubic metre of sewage. 


Hydro

Your Hydro bill will depend on usage with the average monthly bill in BC costing anywhere from $120 - $290 per month.


Rates are charged as follows:


Residential: $0.0884 per kWh for the first 1,350 kWh in an average two-month billing cycle, and $0.1326 per kWh for any additional consumption


Gas

Not all homes will have gas, however, if your new home does, you can expect a gas bill ranging anywhere from $100-150 per month.


Gas may be a better option for heating your home than Hydro as it's often more affordable, it heats faster and uses less energy. 


Repairs and Maintenance

This involves everything from having your ducts cleaned to the furnace serviced to cleaning the gutters and downspouts.


While this may not be applicable every year, you may also run into much larger costs with things such as roof replacements that cost upwards of $10,000 or upgrading appliances and small renovations.


Experts suggest you budget 1-3% of the value of your home every year to deal with repairs and maintenance.



While taking on the responsibility of owning a home can be overwhelming the benefits will pay off as you build equity and upgrade your home increasing its value over time! 


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Selling your home can be many things, emotional, stressful, exciting, frustrating, and often confusing.


Having a trusted agent on your side to go over every detail with you and explain things clearly while offering advice and helpful tips will make all the difference in the world.


While agents are required to be completely transparent with their clients about the transaction, there may be a few things that slip their minds when offering you assistance through the process.


Here are a few things that many people don’t know when they are selling their home and should be aware of: 


Why is there so much stuff?


You’ll be surprised by the amount of stuff you have! Whether you’re a minimalist or not, the amount of belongings you’ve collected over the years always surprises home sellers.


When preparing to market your home for sale, this is the perfect time to start cleaning out unwanted items. Think of it as pre-packing, you can donate, throw out or give away many items that you no longer need and this will relieve some of the burdens when moving day arrives.


Stager recommendations can be hurtful


Your home may be beautifully decorated and look perfect to you, but when the stager arrives, they will walk through your house, room by room, and tell you what needs to be done to improve the saleability of your house.


This can often be very hurtful, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your personal decor. Try to remember that this is not a personal attack.


Professional stagers know what Buyers want to see and what catches their attention, online and in-person - trust the people you’ve hired. This will contribute to a faster sale, a higher price, or both.


Showings


Showings can be extremely stressful as many are last minute if you haven’t provided a showing schedule. Agents and/or their clients may be late which cuts into your plans and they may even be a little disrespectful in ways such as not taking off their shoes or saying unkind things about your home or decor.


Additionally, you’ll be left wondering after each showing if they liked your home, or if they will be putting in an offer. Have your agent ask for feedback from each showing and if your home isn’t selling quickly, this is a great way to understand what needs to be changed or improved to get it sold.


Insurance


As with life, things don’t always go as planned and sometimes the deal may not close on the scheduled closing date. In this case, you’ll want to ensure that your insurance will cover your home if anything were to happen.


Be sure to call your insurer and have your insurance extended until the sale is final and keys are handed over to the new owners.


Cancelled showings rarely get rebooked


Buyers are rarely concerned with what’s convenient for Sellers. They want to see your home at a time that works for them and if you don’t accept or cancel the booking, the changes of the rebooking drop by 50%.


Leave your home during showings


Yes, leaving your home every time there’s a showing can be very inconvenient but it definitely pays off!


Buyers want to comfortably look through your home and comment freely without feeling as though they may upset the Seller or harm their chances of securing the home. 



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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.