Downsizing to An Upscale Townhouse

July 20, 2011

All the Right Moves: Real Estate Column for the 50+

By Margaret Hennessey

Townhouse livingHear that hollow sound? You probably recognize it as the sound made by just two people rattling around in an empty house. If, like most of us in our age group, the family has moved on, you probably have come to the conclusion that your present house is just too big!

Benefits of Downsizing

That realization, means a lot of positives are about to come into your life with your next move. Why positives? Well, think about what downsizing will mean for you. Let’s say you want to consider, as many of my clients do, an upscale town home. What’s so positive about that?

First of all, sell your lawnmower, because yard work days are over. Exterior general maintenance of your property will be carried out by someone else. No longer do you have to look out of your winter window and see a mound of snow to shovel, trees to trim, exterior to paint etc. etc. and the list of advantages continues.

Moreover, having the security of like-minded neighbors offers the freedom to securely “lock up and leave”, is considered by many to be one of the greatest benefits of this lifestyle change. Did I mention lower taxes too?

All this of course comes at a price. However, the price for this convenience is covered by your maintenance fees. What are they? That’s the amount charged by a Strata to provide all these conveniences. Some people balk at this extra expense, but remember, you are already paying for this maintenance now in your present home. But with your current home you have you have to do the work all by yourself or contract it out.

Finding the Right Townhouse

Finding the right town home for you, starts with evaluating your needs. Most of us prefer adult orientated town homes. However, as a realtor, I point out that there can be quite a difference between a complex designed for those over 35 and those over 55.

The former tends to attract a mix of professionals and some retirees. The latter appeals more to those who prefer to be exclusively around a retirement community.

Another important consideration in your choice is whether it has a club house. Many who retire and have not made post-retirement plans find that boredom sets in pretty quickly.

I see that some retirees seem to spend a good part of their day just looking for someone with whom to chat. These types of clients are better suited to a complex with a club house that provides some sort of social activity.

Those coming from large homes are trending today towards the larger upscale luxury style town home. This provides all the aforementioned benefits of townhouse living, without necessarily having to compromise on downsizing the scale of your present home.

A good example of a luxury townhouse can be found on my website, under featured listings. There you will find a short video tour of the quality of luxury town home that can be found from time to time, if your realtor knows the market.

Do I personally recommend this as a good alternative for your next move? Absolutely.

My husband, Gerry and I moved into a townhouse 20 years ago and could not imagine trading that for a detached home ever again.

Because the nature of my business requires me to be on call and generally working 7 days a week, it wouldn’t make any sense to have to add to my workload the maintenance of a detached house.

Moreover, Gerry and I will soon be leaving for a short vacation, which means that our friendly next door neighbors Bryan and Jennie will be picking up our mail and newspapers.

That kind of convenience for us is priceless.

Margaret HennesseyAbout the Author: Margaret Hennessey is a 25 year award winning real estate agent who sells property in Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge. She specializes in the housing needs of baby boomers. Many of clients are long-term clients who now need advice on their post retirement moves.

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