When moving downtown, the first thing that you should do is make sure you pick an area that you really like.
Last year I helped two couples downsize and the “happiest” one of them moved into condo near the St. Lawrence Market. They love the fact that they can walk & get fresh meat and vegetables everyday. They also like the fact that they can walk to work or the subway in about 10 minutes.
The biggest issue was parking. They moved from the suburbs and since they drove everywhere, they had two cars. Downtown, there are relatively few condos with two parking spots and buying a second parking space is next to impossible.
Another issue was space. It’s no small feat for someone to understand that there 3500+ square foot house costs about the same as a 1400 square foot condo.
Condo fees were an issue as well. They also noticed that the “older” condos in their price range were spacious, and often quite well appointed, but their condo fees were a lot higher (some where in the $1500 – $2200 range). When you come from owning a house, paying maintenance fees are often hard to adjust to.
The final big issue was furniture. They had way too much furniture for a condo. So they carefully selected the best pieces and sold the rest.
They ended up buying a 1400+ square foot 2 bedroom condo with an ensuite locker and a single parking space.
Here’s how they overcame the issues:
- They rented a parking space for the first 6 months, but realized that they never used their second car so they sold it.
- They chose a condo in their preferred neighbourhood that wasn’t too old, but was still a good size and in their opinion had reasonable maintenance fees.
- After a few months of living with relatively few pieces of their original furniture, they replaced a few of the items they moved to complete their interior design
Now that 8 months have gone by, they have adjusted to a new vibrant lifestyle and I’m happy to say that both husband and wife have lost weight and gained muscle. They’ve also expanded their circle of friends and met some very nice people that they wouldn’t have met in the suburbs.
You too can successfully transition to a smaller space downtown from your home in the suburbs by doing your research and talking to your Realtor about their other clients who have done the same thing.