Downsizing opens up possibilities

The process of "downsizing" - or moving into a smaller home - can open up many possibilities, but there's no question it can be daunting.

That's according to Sarah Daniels, a real estate commentator and star of HGTV's Urban Suburban, who was the keynote speaker at a recent seminar on downsizing at the presentation centre for the new-home Waterstone project in Surrey.

"What are you going to do with yourself and 3,600 square feet and two cats?" Daniels asked those in attendance.

"Dusting, polishing silver, putting away china, all those things that you don't necessarily want to be doing because there's better things to be doing with your time and so downsizing, though difficult, is something you really need to consider."

She advised people to be ruthless when they're contemplating such a transition.

"It's time to look around the house and go, okay, I don't use this bedroom any more, all we're doing is heating rooms that we don't need, mowing the lawn that we're no longer interested in mowing."

Daniels also offered some practical considerations for those moving into a smaller space, as outlined in a prepared release:

. Don't get attached to furniture, she noted, saying that it's pointless to hang on to items that no longer suit your lifestyle.

. Don't buy a house because furniture fits. Instead, buy a home that works for you in terms of size, lifestyle and price;

. If you value outdoor living space, look at developments that offers plenty of it, keeping in mind that "you still get access to the outdoors, without all the upkeep."

. Keep in mind that a smaller home means less upkeep, less responsibility, lower property taxes and lower maintenance costs.

"If you're getting to that age where you don't want to be working as much as you have been, and maybe it's time to enjoy retirement, then why spend $15,000 on a new roof for the house?" Daniels asked.

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