Homes for Retirees (Downsizers vs. Rightsizers)

The concept of retirement has changed in recent decades. Nowadays, many seniors are embracing change in bolder ways. Just 25% of U.S and Canadian retirees sold homes to move into retirement communities in 2017.1 Calgary condo buildersand realtors are seeing more seniors buying property, and many of them may be downsizers and rightsizers as they plan for their later years.

Real estate professionals have seen other trends as well. Some are focusing on the senior market, and for several reasons. These include:

  • A shorter buying process (generally 30% shorter).
  • Sales representing all or more of the asking price.
  • Greater satisfaction with agents.
  • A greater likelihood of referrals and recommendations.

The time for seniors to purchase a home, on average, is eight weeks. Homebuyers in other groups may take 11 weeks or longer. Seniors generally move to be closer to family and friends and where there are nearby health services. They also tend to move greater distances from their previous homes (compared to younger buyers) and plan to live longer in the homes they purchase.2

Older home buyers are often motivated by the need for change. One’s health and lifestyle factor in, but a home once full of children and life may become empty and disturbingly quiet. A seller may not need so much space, nor be able to keep up with the costs/demands of upkeep.

When planning a change, one may consider downsizing or rightsizing. These two trends have been seen throughout the real estate industry and, for realtors offering houses for sale in SW Calgary, it is no different.

What Is Downsizing?

Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, are most likely to consider downsizing. Attachment to a home often conflicts with the realization it doesn’t serve their needs anymore. A new living situation can provide more freedom.

There are myths associated with the word downsizing that aren’t completely true. People may feel they’re giving up part of themselves or reducing their status. You could avoid the negativity and see a change as an advantage by rightsizing. A smaller home can be just as comfortable and meet all your needs.

Nonetheless, it is the vision that counts. Downsizers typically look to fit just as much in a smaller space and are more likely to:

  • Keep all their old stuff, even though they may never use it again.
  • Postpone purging their old, unneeded stuff until after relocation.
  • Use room size as the primary means to calculate expenses.
  • Factor only age and expense in deciding to reduce.
  • Purchase more to add newer products to their stockpiles.
  • Organize by stuffing unused items into storage containers.

As a result, downsizers continue to accumulate stuff they don’t need and face clutter problems no matter how hard they try. They continually fill space, while rooms may look neat at first but, in reality, have less functionality and purpose. A downsizer whose efforts didn’t work will feel forced to reinvent—but that’s not the case with a rightsizer.

messy office with piles of files and storage boxes

The Rightsizer’s Approach

When you rightsize, you embrace the choices and opportunities that go along with change. It puts you more in control of the decisions you make. While both downsizers and rightsizers tend to live in affluent urban neighborhoods, in large single-family homes, rightsizing comes with the advantages of:

  • Gaining financially from a previous investment.
  • Helping adult offspring get a head start with a family home.
  • Getting the most out of life in the moment.

Typically, the process is liberating and includes a solid vision of the expectations for their next phase in life. A rightsizer is generally eager to throw out what they don’t need. They have an ability to calculate the square footage every item takes up. In doing so, one can determine the best-sized home, which, in turn, helps our Calgary condo builders best serve them.

Compared to downsizers, rightsizers easily find smaller, more suitable homes and live more affordably. Financial satisfaction replaces the pride of owning everything you always have done but no longer need. Also, storage containers are not only considered unnecessary but wasteful of space.

Rightsizing is the right move if you loathe clutter and shuffling through things you don’t use. The goal is to allocate room for things you treasure most by reducing rather than adding to what you have. The ability to settle for one option over another will result in better-utilized space, more inviting rooms, and an improved quality of life.

A willingness to experiment and reinvent can pay off—but, still, knowing whether rightsizing is the best option in your situation is a key point.


Is Rightsizing the Best Option for You?

Health, mobility, maintenance demands, and many other factors determine whether a home still meets your needs. When considering the short and long term, these are important to think about, as is:

  • Satisfaction with the local community.
  • Desire to be near family and friends.
  • Need for access to healthcare.
  • Preferences for weather and climate.
  • Access to public transportation.
  • Availability of parks and recreational amenities.
  • Passion for hobbies, such as grilling, gardening, etc.

When purchasing a home for the first time, there are many considerations. The same goes for downsizing or rightsizing, except future health needs and perspectives of comfort are priorities, over accommodating, for example, babies or children. Embracing a “less is more” attitude is beneficial. A larger home means higher insurance costs, property taxes, and utility bills. You can reduce these and other expenses so you have a more affordable lifestyle with more cash in your pocket.

a new way of thinking

A smaller home our home builders in Calgary and Airdrie create can be just as luxurious as a larger one. Your favorite leisure activities may be closer than before, especially with a house close to a golf course, nature path, or lake. At the same time, you have an opportunity to enjoy activities with family and friends in a closer, more easily accessible location. More frequent gatherings mean more enjoyable times and more memories.

If rightsizing appeals to you, here’s a quick look at what to consider:

  • Physical health: Various physical ailments can affect how suited your residence is for you or a partner/spouse. Mobility issues can complicate matters, especially if your home has a sophisticated layout. Health considerations should be made in advance to avoid moving during a more difficult, stressful time.
  • Mental state: When upkeep becomes stressful, start planning a space that would make things easier, even if it means moving into a smaller home. There are home upkeep and organizing services. However, rightsizing can be the best option if you no longer need such a large home.
  • Finances: Make financial plans in advance and continue planning while in retirement. A solid plan is great for daily living and determining if a move would benefit you financially. Also, check what your retirement savings can cover, as there may be limits.
  • Your family: Whether you downsize or rightsize, think about where your children or grandchildren live. Seniors often prioritize time with family to make their life more fulfilling. Some even decide to share a home. That way, family or friends are always close by.
  • Lifestyle: Retirement lifestyles vary and differ from past generations. Your move can be planned around whether you’re still physically active, you are able to travel, or you prioritize some expectations over others at this stage.

The key difference between downsizing and rightsizing is planning. Downsizing is often a haphazard and frustrating way of cramming everything you have into a small living space. Rightsizing requires thought and planning. It allows you to live with your most treasured possessions and live life to its fullest, without unnecessary clutter in the way. You can, therefore, embrace your freedom, happiness, and creativity at any stage in life.

new house under construction

Genesis Builders Group Is Here to Serve Your Real Estate Needs

The homes we build offer practical open-concept designs. They’re more energy-efficient, built with safer materials (improving indoor air quality), and require less maintenance. Built to the latest building codes, these properties offer maximum safety, so you can live with peace of mind and meet your rightsizing/retirement/family goals.

Looking to downsize or rightsize in a new townhome or condo? Our new condo builders in Calgary and Airdrie have been working hard to help create thriving communities, including Sage Meadows, Saddlestone, Ashbury, and the Redstone community in northeast Calgary. We can show homes in Cochrane or Airdrie as well. Submit a contact form online, email us, or call 403-265-8079 to discuss your requirements or browse our website for an in-depth look at our building and selling process.