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Wondering about downsizing your home for retirement? It’s a major decision both financially and emotionally. What do you need to consider when determining if that’s the right move for you? If so, what can you do to make it easier?

How to know if downsizing your home is right for you

Many wish to age in place, staying in their home in retirement until they die of old age. But many wish for a simpler lifestyle in a smaller space. Or perhaps their retirement planning fell short and they can no longer afford to stay in their family home.

Signs you may need to consider downsizing for retirement

You pay over 30% of your monthly income on housing expenses

This could result from less retirement income than you need or simply because expenses increased higher than expected during your financial planning period. This includes mortgage costs, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance expenses.

You don’t have extra spending money

Beyond housing expenses, you need to pay for food, clothing, medical expenses, etc. If you have little left over to enjoy yourself, it might be time to consider reevaluating your cash flow and moving somewhere more affordable.

You feel overwhelmed with maintenance

Not including the expense of repairs and upkeep, the physical requirements of maintaining a larger home can take a toll on your body. If you can no longer take on the burden yourself, that leaves you with additional costs to hire people to do it for you.

Your home doesn’t suit your needs

Does your home have a lot of stairs? Is the driveway too steep? Are cupboards too hard to reach? Do you have many unused rooms or amenities? Thinking of renovating for accessibility? Does the location fit your new lifestyle? Are you living in a location close to doctors, hospitals, or enough friends and family? These are all reasons to consider downsizing your home for retirement.

You’re researching home equity and reverse mortgage

If you discover you didn’t save enough for retirement and need to use the equity in your home to cover your bills, remember, it is not a limitless supply of funds. Downsizing to a smaller, less expensive home may be a better option.

If downsizing makes sense for you,
when is the best time?

Timing is everything. Many seniors wait too long before deciding to downsize to a smaller home. Their house becomes overwhelming with maintenance and expenses and even more difficult should unexpected health or mobility issues occur.

Do it early. 

Downsizing to a home with lower expenses before retirement allows you to build up savings while you still collect a paycheque. But downsizing after retirement eliminates that opportunity. 

Selling your home while you still have a consistent income makes it easier to afford the short-term cost of moving, like repairs, moving expenses, and closing costs.

Sell before maintenance becomes overwhelming and your home is still in good condition. If you wait too long, your home can deteriorate. This just means additional expenses to prepare your home for sale.

If your health begins to decline, consider selling before medical issues escalate. You may be able to age in place easier in a smaller home geared to aging rather than moving to an assisted living facility.

In summary, move when you want to and not because you have to. Making a conscious decision to downsize on your terms will be less stressful than if health, family, or financial crisis forces you.

When downsizing, you must consider all sides of the transaction and in between: Buying selling, and moving. 


When choosing your new home, be sure to address all the reasons you choose to move. Lower expenses, less maintenance burden, and enabling you to age more comfortably in a location that makes sense for the next phase of your life.

When estimating your new expenses, be sure to do your homework beyond what your new mortgage or rent payment will be. You must consider condo fees, maintenance expenses, property taxes, and insurance.



This step may feel like the biggest challenge of all. Deciding what to keep and what to part with can paralyze you. An entire industry exists to help with this step. 

Tips for downsizing your home for retirement

  • Set incremental goals and deadlines. Maybe one room at a time.
  • Allow yourself time. Be prepared that it could take up to a year.
  • Take a photo of each room before you begin. You can look back and remember without keeping all your belongings.
  • Measure furniture dimensions to determine what will and won’t fit in your new home.
  • Be realistic. Just because you love it doesn’t mean you need it. Keep only what you use.
  • Start out easy. Donate, sell, or toss duplicate items and clothing that no longer fit.
  • Lose the junk! Dispose of outdated paperwork, old papers and magazines.
  • Consider hiring an expert to help you make difficult decisions and keep you company along the way.
  • Be prepared to get emotional and plan to talk to someone if it gets too overwhelming

Don’t forget about the unavoidable moving costs like truck rentals or movers, and purchasing items for your new home. To help offset some of these expenses, you may wish to choose an alternative method for selling your home to save some money.


for Selling your Home

When selling your home, you have options there too.
You can choose from:

Real Estate Agents
For Sale By Owner
Flat Fee Real Estate Company
Sell your home privately

Each method has pros and cons. 

We offer stress-free solutions!

If you are looking for a simple solution to save time and money and reduce stress but still keep the value of your home, reach out to MJS Properties. We specialize in helping people in difficult situations.

Overestimating what your current home is worth, underestimating what it will cost to sell it, or choosing the wrong time to move can put all the extra money you hope to gain from downsizing at risk. 

Don’t make that mistake.

We offer free advice about the current real estate market and a realistic picture of the cost to sell your home.