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Downsizing from house to a condo: What you ought to know and expect

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


August 22, 2019 - Karl Yeh

Moving into your first condo? Downsizing from your house to a condo? What should you know? In this episode, we discuss some tips on condo living for those moving in to their first home to those downsizing to a condo. We explore adjustments you may have to make as well as decorating and upgrade ideas for your condo. 

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What we discussed:                            

Hi, everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts.

Remember, if this is your first time on this [00:00:30] channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

Today I'm joined by Karen McDonald, Community Manager with Brookfield Residential.

Today we're going to talk about: Condo living tips and ideas

The first thing is, let's say you're downsizing or rightsizing, and you're going from a house to a condo.

Moving from a house to a condo

What are some tips that you would have to consider or think about when you're moving from a house style condo?

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. [00:01:00] If you're downsizing or rightsizing, a lot of people don't factor in what their furniture will look like in their new home.

A lot of the times, downsizing means downsizing your furniture as well.

Depending on where you've chosen to buy, it may not have room for a 12-seater dining room table and hutch. That may be something that you have to consider.

If that's the case, [00:01:30] who in your family is going to be doing the entertaining if you're buying something that won't have enough space for everybody to sit at that table or may not have enough space for your California king size bed.

Thinking about the space that you have in a 2,400 square foot house and the size that furniture that that house can handle compared to say a 1,200 square foot town home.

That may need to change. You may need to gift [00:02:00] or sell some of that furniture and get something that's all brand new.

Adjusting to having neighbours

Karl Yeh:                             

When you're actually moving into a condo from a house, I think there's also things that you might want to think about in terms of the expectations you have in terms of I guess being a good neighbour, too.

Karen McDonald:             Yeah. Yeah.

Karl Yeh:                             

Because you've had your house for so long, you consensually play music or be as loud as you possibly want, but I think that probably needs [00:02:30] to change, that there's other people around you, too.

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. Yeah. I think it's being considerate of that, knowing that if you're playing your stereo or your video games like late at night that has like high bass or anything like that, your neighbors are probably going to hear that.

Just think about the way you would want to be treated in that as well, too. I think it's making sure that you don't play music well into the evening.

If you do, have [00:03:00] a good relationship with your neighbours so that you can say, "I'm sorry. I'm having a party. I'd love for you to come and join us. If not, we'll be done by this time," or that kind of thing. It's just like anything, being considerate as a neighbour, making sure that you're not keeping everybody up at all hours of the night.

Karl Yeh:                             

Well, I also think it is also if, when you mentioned who's going to entertain, what if you do entertain a lot?

Maybe just you're used to the amount of [00:03:30] people that come in, but some people aren't. They're like, why is that unit having all these people come in at all times?

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. I think it's just like anything, just kind of being a good neighbour means communicating with people and letting them know, "Hey, I entertain a fair amount, but I'm willing to do," again, it's a best set of compromises, "I'm willing to do this, and this, and this, if it's an issue for you."

I think anything, if you're partying every night, there's [00:04:00] got to be something that's got to give there. Maybe a condo is not the right place for you then if you're partying every night.

But letting people know what you're doing and I think there's a lot of emotion that goes along with that. If people are woken up from their sleep, and continually, I think people will accept so much.

But yeah, you can't do it every night.

Karl Yeh:                             

But also I think another thing about, because I was in LA and [00:04:30] I got woken up on all nights because there was a bike convention going on and all the guys with their Harleys come in.

I was also thinking, too. It's like, what if you have a loud vehicle or a loud motorcycle that would be pretty loud for everybody else, too?

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. Why do people rev their motorcycle engines anyways? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Noise bylaws are the same from the [00:05:00] city that you live in, as well.

Any kind of noise bylaws, you have to adhere to them. Don't be that guy that revs your motorcycle.


Condo decorating ideas

Karl Yeh:                             

Yeah. I think the last thing I want to talk about is, let's say you're not going from a house to condo, but this is your very first house. How about for some decorating ideas?

What are some things that you need to think about if this is your first, I guess, real home that you own, what [00:05:30] are some things that you need to think about in terms of decorating?

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah, and I think it's going back to how you live. I'm sorry, I keep on saying it, but it really is. I mean,

  • do you need a dining table?
  • Are you going to sit there?
  • Will your house house it for you?
  • Do you have enough space?
  • Going along with the entertaining, do you need a six-seater?
  • Do you usually eat at your island or on your couch, watching TV? That kind of thing.

Those kinds of things that you have, if you're [00:06:00] going to decorate and make it easy for you to eat on your coach, having a table there that's easy for you to do that.

I think anything else, like storage space, if you're a first time home buyer and you're living in a condo or a town home, a lot of the times storage space is prime.

You're going to have to come up with some storage solutions to make sure that you can organize all of your belongings.

Karl Yeh:                             

Does it matter when [00:06:30] you are buying a brand new condo and this is your first home, do those things matter such as a granite countertop or even appliances? Or is it more so personal preference?


Karen McDonald:            

I think yeah, it's somewhat personal preference, but you have to make sure when you're buying anything multifamily that you do not price yourself out of the market.

If you go and sell your home in five years and you have just the absolute basics and there's a lot of other people [00:07:00] that are selling their home in that five years that have some upgrades that people quite like, they'll probably sell their house a lot quicker.

To the same degree, you don't want to overprice your home when it comes to resale.

You can think about all of the things that you want these high end handles or you want different appliances, the best appliances.

Are those the things that people are going to value as much as you [00:07:30] do? What's going to be the best average out of that for you?

Don't overprice yourself.

Don't underprice yourself.

I think the best rule in that is to go with the average of what people typically put in. Your sales representative or possibly your realtor will be able to help you out with that number, what that is.

Home upgrades when buying a condo

Karl Yeh:                             

What are some key upgrades that you think, from a condo perspective, that would add value over time but not totally blow you out of your budget?

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah, I think typically it's [00:08:00] the same as in any new home.

It's kitchen upgrades, which would be countertops likely, storage space, if you have the ability to have larger, taller cabinets, bathroom upgrades, like having additional storage and cabinets.

I guess just cabinets is what I'm saying. But anything that makes it look nice. Countertops do really well for that. Maybe it's a cool back splash.

But anything [00:08:30] that you feel you love in the home, somebody else might love that as well, too. Don't bare it down to the absolute basics because somebody else will love your home for the reasons that you love it. Maybe just not in the same way.

Karl Yeh:                              Perfect. Do you have anything else to add in terms of tips for living in a condo?

Karen McDonald:            

No, I think it's just making sure that you're aware that storage [00:09:00] solutions will be something you'll be looking into a lot.

Karl Yeh:                              Great.

Karen McDonald:             Yeah.

Karl Yeh:                              Well, thank you very much for joining us.

Karl Yeh:                             

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of living in a condo, check out this video here. We also have a great playlist on buying a condo for the very first time. That playlist, you can see here. Don't forget to subscribe to make sure that you keep learning from the home buying experts. We'll catch you in our next video.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional condo and/or home buying related questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts.  

About Karen McDonald:

This is my 12th year with Brookfield Residential.  I have been involved in 8 sites now with 7 in multi-family and 1 Single Family.  I received my certification as a New Home Sales Professional from PHBIA in 2008. 

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