Up is the New Down: A Guide on Upsizing Your Home
November 19, 2021
In the past year and a half, the real estate market has seen a widespread desire to upsize from buyers across the Lower Mainland and, perhaps, the country as a whole. But why are so many people feeling like they “outgrew” their home?
To start, the pandemic restrictions limited how much time could be spent outside our homes, making smaller spaces feel more crowded. Add to the list the new hybrid working patterns that obligated many of us to reinvent our home’s layout; young families starting to look for more affordability outside busy city centres, and the rise in pet ownership.
Whether your upsizing journey is focused on resales or pre-sales, you’ve likely already noticed that finding a new house, townhome or even a larger condo can be quite difficult to navigate in our fast-paced market. In this article, we break things down into individual actions you can take so your scaling-up process feels less stressful.
Young families are starting to look for more affordability outside busy city centres."
Planning Makes it Perfect
Whether you’re a first home buyer, an upsizer, or an experienced investor, planning should always be on the top of your real estate-related to-do list. Start by listing your “must-haves”, “nice-to-haves”, and “deal-breakers”. Analyze this list as a family, so no one feels like their needs are being left since family arguments can easily disrupt your search for the perfect (larger) home.
Keep in mind that, even when upsizing, you will likely have to make compromises. Do not rush your search process – knowing what you’re looking for, and preparing for all the topics we listed below helps to make the process a little smoother.
Consider Your Mortgage
Just like when you’re selling any property, you will need to consider the costs of dealing with your mortgage. If your goal is to sell your current home and buy a new one at the same time, selling first is often the easier way to go. However, you will need to check your mortgage agreement to see if your mortgage is portable or if you will need to bear the costs of possible penalties for breaking it. Even if you’re able to transfer your mortgage to the new home, you might still need to requalify to increase the loan amount.
The best way to figure this all out is to consult with your mortgage broker before even starting to look for a new home.
Consider All the Additional Costs
The bigger the home, the longer is the list of expenses. You can count on higher utility bills and maintenance costs, especially if you’re upgrading your backyard and adding new “toys” to your home, like a swimming pool, hot tub or a home gym. Since having a spacious private outdoor space is a game-changer for most house upsizers, keep in mind you will also have landscaping and general maintenance fees to maintain your backyard as pristine as it looks in your dreams.
For a larger condo or townhome, your strata fees will likely also increase as those are usually tied to the square footage of the property. Another “detail” people often forget when upsizing: you will need more furniture to fill out all that space – after all, your entertainment room and chef kitchen will not equip themselves.
Bigger isn’t Necessarily Better
Even when it comes to upsizing, choosing the largest home you can afford isn’t always the right move. Define how the different spaces in your new home will be utilized so you can look for a floor plan that caters to those specific needs.
Will you need a separate office away from the kids’ bedrooms? Do you want that spacious walk-in closed you’ve always dreamed about? Do you need an open concept basement for a home gym or entertainment room? Think about the reasons why you’re looking to upsize and what the perfect floor plan would look like.
Declutter Before You Move
Just because you’re moving to a bigger space, it does not mean you should take everything you have accumulated over the years with you. The very act of moving will require that you handle each item you own, so why not take this chance and “edit down” your packing? This Moving.com article has great tips on how to embrace a minimalist move and make the packing process easier.
From dealing with unexpected hidden costs to thinking about all that extra furniture needs, keeping tabs on everything involved in your upsizing plans can feel like a full-time job. Our team of Realtors is here to help! We are able to offer uncompromised service for buyers and sellers across the Fraser Valley.