When is the Right Time to Downsize your Home?

How do you know when you should downsize to a smaller home?  What’s the right age to downsize?  Most importantly, is it the right decision for you?

Homeowners often delay making a decision when it comes to downsizing from a large single-family home to a smaller house, townhome or condo. In part because it is a big decision.  Your current home might hold a lot of memories and therefore emotional attachment.  Other times, the process of downsizing is too overwhelming.  A basement full of old furniture, books and household items collected over a lifetime, or your adult children’s abandoned belongings that they just asked you “to store for a while” … where do you start?

Moving to a smaller home can free up time and money so you can enjoy other pursuits whether that’s travel, hobbies, education, spending more time with family and friends, or simply living a more carefree lifestyle.

Here are 10 questions that can help you decide if you are a good candidate for downsizing your home:


  1. What percentage of the rooms and spaces in your house do you use on a daily basis?  Rooms that are used predominately for storage or beds that are slept on once a year, still need to be heated, cleaned and maintained.
  2. Are there features in your home that no longer work for you?  For example, are there are too many stairs, a steep driveway, a pool that is never used or a huge yard that requires too much maintenance? Disability or mobility issues are a common reason to move.  The key is to start your house hunt early before the stairs are insurmountable. Outside of condominiums, there is a shortage of “right” sized single-family homes that offer a no-step entrance.  For example, in Oak Bay, which is one of the more desirable neighbourhoods in Victoria, BC, only three out of the 58 single family homes for sale offered one-level living (when we pulled the data for this article).  If you want to downsize to a smaller single-family home that is mobility friendly, start your home search early.
  3. Do you still like the configuration of your home? For example, are you in a house that has a bunch of smaller rooms, but you would prefer an open concept home that allows for entertaining? If your current house doesn’t offer you the layout you want, are you willing to renovate your home; live with it as is, or would it be more economical and desirable  to move into something that suits your tastes today.
  4. Are there bathrooms that are never used?  According to several plumbers, unused bathrooms can cause sewer smells in your home.  This happens when the water has evaporated from the p-traps in unused fixtures, which causes the water seal to break and methane gas to enter your home.  While running the water in the sink and shower and flushing the toilet once a week will often solve this problem, it may more sense to start thinking about a house that doesn’t have as many bathrooms.
  5. Are you falling behind on maintenance?  Homes that are well maintained always fetch a higher price when they are listed for sale.  And often, the longer you delay repairs, the more expensive they become to fix.  If you find you don’t have the time, talent or inclination to maintain your current home, downsizing may be a smart decision.
  6. Are you spending too much on housing?  The average person in Canada spends about 46% of their income meeting housing costs. In more expensive markets such as Victoria, it can reach 60 to 70%. If you have retired or are on a fixed income the expenses of maintaining a larger home especially when it comes to taxes, insurance, etc. can really add up.
  7. Does your current neighbourhood still suit you?  Have all your friends moved away?  Are you the only empty nester on your block?  Multi-generational neighbourhoods can be energizing, but if all of your neighbours are couples with very young children, it can feel socially isolating.  Moving to a location that fits your lifestyle — whether it’s walkability to restaurants, the community centre or a theatre ­— can improve one’s quality of life.
  8. Do you want to free up some of the equity in your house for day-to-day living?  If you do, you are not alone.   Selling a large family home and banking some of the equity can free up a lot of cash.
  9. Are you wanting to be closer to family?  It’s not uncommon for our adult children to move away for their careers.   If seeing your family once a year during the holidays is not enough, moving closer to your kids and grandchildren, might be an option for you.
  10. You’ve always dreamed of living ________(fill in the blank).
    If not now – when?  While certain dreams like living on a private island in the Caribbean may not be realistic, choosing something that is closer to your ideal can be invigorating.  Sometimes change is as good as a vacation.

The thought of leaving a home that you’ve lived in for many years can seem overwhelming.

If you’re starting to think about downsizing, we can help.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting a feel for what your budget will get you in Greater Victoria and on Vancouver Island

This is the time to dream.  If you’ve always wanted a waterview, there are several condo buildings in Victoria that provide a carefree lifestyle and panoramic ocean views. If a smaller home in a walking neighbourhood is your ideal, there are several Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island neighbourhoods that may work for you.

We can set you up on a complimentary home search system that will automatically send you listings of homes that fit your lifestyle.  We can also complete a comprehensive market evaluation on your home so that you will have an idea of what your home is worth and what it will sell for in the current market.

We can even help with resources and a list of Victoria based companies and individuals, like Jaclynn Soet at The Happy Nest, who offers a variety of services to help individuals declutter and get ready to downsize.

Whether you are thinking about downsizing in the next few months or the next few years, we can help you open a new door.  Contact us with any questions you have and remember planning ahead will allow you to take the time you need find your new and downsize your belongings.

Ready to Open a New Door?

TOGETHER, Hal Decter, LL.B. and Audra Poole bring a unique level of knowledge, experience and service that is hard to find.

For eleven years, Hal Decter was a practicing real estate lawyer and partner with one of Canada’s top law firms. His client experience ranges from some of the country’s largest corporations to individuals and couples starting their first businesses or buying their first homes.

Audra Poole brings her research acumen and luxury marketing and sales talents to the team. She is a highly respected marketing and public relations executive with more than twenty years of local, regional and international experience.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney or Saanich – we’ll be on your side and  make the process as stress free and seamless as possible.

Victoria Realtors - Audra Poole & Hal Decter LLB
Audra Poole & Hal Decter