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What You Need to Know About Downsizing to a Condo

There are quite a few reasons to consider downsizing to a condo. Whether you’re interested in a 55+ living community, looking to travel the world, or have just sent your last child off to college, now’s the perfect time to explore pros and cons of purchasing a condo!

Who Can Benefit from Downsizing?

If your suburban house has started to feel too large, you’re looking for a space with a view, or you want a living experience with less maintenance, you might be thinking, “When is the right time to downsize?” Read below to see the range of benefits of a condo for people at different stages of life.

Baby Boomers

When you imagine people trading in sprawling lawns in the suburbs for more maintainable properties, it’s likely senior citizens that first come to mind. Condo living for retirement is very popular—and not just for Baby Boomers dreaming of spending their days golfing in sunny Florida. Many adults seek out 55 and over condos for a variety of reasons:

  • Tight-knit community: If friendship and a sense of belonging is what you’re searching for, downsizing to a shared housing community helps you meet new people and fosters a sense of connection.
  • Organized activities: While a condo may offer less personal space than one’s former home, there are often shared facilities to play cards, watch movies, or stroll through manicured lawns that require no upkeep from tenants!
  • Transportation provided: Say goodbye to road rage! Many condos offer shuttle services so you won’t have to worry about traffic.
  • Prepared meal options: Tired of cooking? Skip the grocery line and enjoy dining with your new friends!
  • Independence with support: Get help with the things you no longer enjoy doing, such as yard work and household maintenance, while still enjoying the independence of setting your own schedule and having a private space.

City Lovers

The concept of downsizing to live downtown is becoming increasingly popular. Young professionals and older adults alike are trading in extra square feet and guest bathrooms to be in the center of city life. Willing to embrace less space to be in the heart of the city? Explore the benefits of an urban condo:

  • Walkability: Downtown dwellers get to enjoy all the city has to offer without the stressful commute or spending a fortune on gas. Curious about the most pedestrian-friendly cities in America? Check out this list of top ten cities to take stroll from Thrillist.
  • Proximity to entertainment: Downsizing to the city means you can trade in excess belongings for endless entertainment opportunities.
  • Affordability: As Millennials increase their homeownership rates and drive costs of the housing market up, condos are becoming an increasingly budget-friendly option.
  • Great views: Dreaming of living in a high rise? Many downtown condos come with a great view of the city skyline.
  • Luxurious amenities: Skyscraper views frequently come with convenient amenities. Pools, state-of-the-art fitness centers, and theater rooms are standard in many condos in the city.

Empty Nesters

If you now have more empty bedrooms than children living at home, you might consider downsizing from a house to a condo, especially if you’re paying expensive utility bills to heat and cool a home that’s now too big. Explore the benefits of a condo for empty nesters:

  • No more yard work: Say goodbye to shoveling snow and mowing the lawn! Never complain about your yard being too big or your slick sidewalks again. Less home maintenance means you have time for your passions.
  • Save money: Depending on your mortgage, the act of moving to a condo could automatically save you funds. Even if your home is already paid off, the sale of your house, plus cutting down on utility bills could make the move a fiscally sound choice.
  • Less time in the car: Trade in long, suburban commutes for quicker access to work and activities.
  • Make new friends: Now that you have your weekends free from basketball tournaments and school plays, enjoy a new built-in community.
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World Travelers

The tiny home phenomena has shown the world that many Americans are happy to trade in expensive mortgages and extra bedrooms for more freedom. If you’re not sold on a tiny home but full of wanderlust, condo living could offer the best of both worlds. Considering downsizing to to travel? A condo might be right for you if you’re searching for these perks:

  • Have a home base: Create a space to come home to without worrying about monthly rent.
  • Added security: Controlled access is standard in most condominium communities, so you can rest easy knowing your belongings are secure while you’re away.
  • Affordability: With 9 in 10 older Americans staying in their homes longer at the same time Millennials are moving into the housing market, owning a home is becoming even more expensive. Condo ownership keeps more cash in your pocket while still building your assets and credit.
  • Supportive community: Need someone to water your plants when you’re jetsetting? Gain a built-in network of helpful neighbors who can keep an eye on things while you’re away.

What to Think About Before Downsizing to a Condo

Now that you’ve considered why condo living might be right for you, it’s time explore the potential downside to downsizing.

Condo Fees

Before you go running to put your house on the market to save money, make sure you’ve done all of the math to ensure buying a condo is a good investment. Keeping the pool running, the lawns manicured, and the fitness center updated isn’t free. Condo association fees, sometimes referred to interchangeably as HOA fees, should be factored into your monthly budget. Still wondering what condo fees cover? Realtor.com breaks down communal expenses.

Limited Outdoor Space

Saying goodbye to a yard that’s too big might be the biggest reason you’re excited to downsize. But if you’re an avid gardener or someone who enjoys keeping your own grass green, taking a step back from lawn care might be an unexpected challenge.

Less Living Space

Having a smaller space is kind of the point of downsizing. But it’s important to consider what this really means for your lifestyle. Will your condo have enough room to host Christmas? Will one spouse have to give up their home office? Asking these questions before you move can save you from future stress and resentment.

Less Space for Pets

It’s not just humans that you’ll have less space for. A condo will mean less square footage for your cat or dog. Condo living for dogs can be especially tricky to navigate, but many of the same tips for living with pets in apartments can help ease the transition. Can you take them on more walks? Do you have extra time to play with them now that they won’t have a yard? Ultimately, it’s important to consider your furry friends and how moving from a house to a condo will affect your pets.

Keep Track of Status Certificates

Purchasing your condo comes with a lot of paperwork. But if maintaining your budget and preserving the amenities you care about matters, you should keep an eye on status certificates! Sometimes referred to as condominium insurance, these papers ensure the association is using your HOA fees as previously determined.

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Decluttering Can Be Emotional

It’s called the art of letting go for a reason. Getting rid of possessions and decluttering your life can be a difficult task. Especially if you’ve accumulated years of belongings with sentimental value, deciding what to give away or get rid of may be the most difficult part of downsizing. When it comes to downsizing, work hard to determine which of your items have value, and which items do not. If there’s a belonging you find that doesn’t possess any sentimental value, hasn’t been used in months, or is broken, get rid of it! This will make downsizing into a condo much easier.

Reduced Privacy

If you’re downsizing from a single family home, you’ve probably forgotten what it’s like to hear your neighbors. Switching back to shared walls and outdoor spaces can take some getting used to. If privacy is the most important factor in a living situation, the disadvantages of a condo might outweigh the benefits.

Is Condo Living Right for You?

Now that you’ve considered the pros and cons of communal living, you might be wondering if downsizing to a condo is the right choice for you. There are certain types of people who naturally thrive in condominiums. Ask yourself these questions to see if a condo could be a good fit:

  1. Are awesome amenities important to you?
  2. Do you want to get to know your neighbors?
  3. Is doing yard work your least favorite chore?
  4. Have you been craving a sense of community?
  5. Are you okay with following rules about your home’s appearance ?
  6. Is safety and security incredibly important to where you live?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, a condo could be the right housing option for you.

What You Need to Know About Downsizing to a Condo via @extraspace
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