Everyone Wants a Bungalow

If I had a dollar for every time a potential client said to me “keep an eye out for a nice bungalow fur us, we’re thinking of downsizing in the next few years”, I’d be able to buy that bungalow.  Okay, maybe not, but it does get mentioned a lot.  Here’s the down-low with bungalows:  A detached bungalow needs a bigger lot to build and therefore is going to be more expensive than its 2-storey friend in the same neighbourhood.  It’s a tragedy actually.  In new developments where the lots are getting smaller you really don’t see a lot of new bungalows (not in Edmonton, anyway) and they are in high demand because our aging population needs accessibility. l think empty nesters are often hopeful they will come out ahead and stay mortgage free when they sell the family home and move into a “smaller” bungalow.  Unfortunately, smaller bungalow often means older bungalow that needs upgrades.  Most early retirees don’t want to give up their modern chef’s kitchen for a galley kitchen in a 60s bungalow.

What is The Solution?

First, plan early.  

It’s easy for me to say while my knees are still good, but as we age we want to be at home as long as possible without needing assisted living.  If you’re thinking about downsizing, talk to a real estate agent  about how the market is going to affect the sale of your current home and the purchase of a new one.  It could take time to find that perfect bungalow for the right price and the most desirable neighbourhood because they are in demand.

Consider all the Options

Attached bungalows (half duplexes) in a condo complex may be an affordable and desirable option.  You could get a modern bungalow home with 4 bedrooms, 2 on the main floor and 2 downstairs for the grand kids, for substantially less than a detached bungalow in Edmonton.  This is a great option as the condo fees include snow removal and landscaping.  However, they often do not have a fenced yard and only green space you share with your neighbours.  

If your finances allow, the older bungalow with the big, mature, beautiful backyard with RV parking may be an option.  You can renovate and upgrade it the way you want, but it will take time. You probably won’t want to live in it while under construction.

Stuff

 

How much “stuff” do you have?  If big furniture and large amounts of personal items are limiting your options, consider enlisting the help of family and friends to de-clutter and get organized.  Include family members in the process if you think they may want some of your personal belongings.  Remember that not everyone finds value in the same things that you do.  If you need professional help, there are companies that specialize in  helping get you organized and they will also give you all the advice you need on staging your current home to sell.  If you’re thinking of selling, consider all of the “little things” around your house that you can do on your own.  Replacing light bulbs and keep your bulbs the same temperature, ie warm/cool. Replace broken fixtures, clean wall plug and switch plates, and consider painting. 

Upgrades

If you’re considering upgrades to your current home to facilitate a faster sale and the best return on investment, consider the major items like furnace, hot water tank, roof and windows.  Kitchens and bathrooms will also provide a good return on investment and increase the value of your home.

And most importantly, talk to a REALTOR®.  Your agent can provide valuable insight into current market conditions and come up with a plan to get you where you need to be.

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