When to downsize? - Page 3
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  1. #31
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    Ayanka, you are correct. SD, our mortgage was paid out long ago. Gotta run...talk to you all later... Thanks for your input everyone.

  2. #32
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    Hi everyone, again. Just reread the thread...well browsed it. I kind of let this die, but it's at the forefront again. What happened?

    The city comes by every year to clean out our sewer line because they planted an elm on top of it years ago and it's huge now (about 2' in diameter) and the tree roots keep blocking the line. This year they couldn't even get 6' from the sewer drain in the house before they ran into the first blockage. They got as far as 16' from the house with a 1" diameter camera and couldn't go any further. So they cleaned out a hole about 2" in diameter to get to the main sewer line in the street (about 40' away from the drain). Then told us we needed to replace our line ASAP.

    This is not cheap. It's in the thousands of dollars. Think about $5000. Because we have a lead water pipe close by the sewer line, that needs to be replaced as well. And, because of the awkward location of the line...under a sidewalk and that city tree, and near a light standard, they can only use small equipment and not the usual large stuff. Meaning it's going to take longer to do...and cost more.

    I'm waiting for a second quote to come tonight.

    DH and I looked at each other and sighed. He said that's what the C&H account is for. I agree. But there goes the new-to-us car next spring.

    More interestingly...it brought up the subject of moving again. We have had some changes since I last wrote about our decision to stay in this community. First off, the health care is not as good as it appeared at the time. We have done research on what health expenses will look like in retirement in our current province and in others. We are thinking of moving to get better health care for a lower price to another province on the other side of Canada. We'd be moving to Nova Scotia, close to our children.

    We've emailed and talked to the children. They are all for it, but one of them says she doesn't plan to be in NS for much longer. She and her DH are getting training and education there and then will "probably" leave. To move to the other side of the continent. Meaning we'll never see them again, because we will not have the means to travel in retirement.

    The other one is the question of affordability. There are other homes near one of the kids that are just as affordable as here. And condos and townhouses came up again. We are looking at 3 bedroom 2 bath townhouses or 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath condos.

    We also looked at more rural areas - small communities near larger service centres. Of course those places are much more affordable than here.

    I redid our retirement budget as if we were living in NS in a condo. It's doable. However, when I went to check the cost of a move I about died. It would be at least $15,000 CAD!!! We would have to do some serious downsizing.

    Due to a series of life events, we still have the boarder in our basement, but she should be out in the next couple of months. She's applying for work out of commuting distance right now and has an interview at one place this week.

    The one caveat one of our girls gave us is to be sure to talk to our financial planner before moving. She's right. We have a meeting scheduled to update her on what's going on.

    In other news...DH has thought more about his upcoming retirement. He wants to take a "gap" year or "bridge" year and travel to Denmark for a couple weeks to do some family research and to bike around a bit. He's talking about helping out (volunteering) at a local organization that helps newcomers settle into life here in Canada. He's also talking a part time job. I think both of us know it will be tight financially. But also, my friends and I look at him and think about him in retirement and shake our heads. He's been so involved in the community where he works that we think he will grow bored within six months. We'll see. At least that's more of plan than he had earlier this summer.

    One thing he discovered about himself on our 3 week vacation this fall is that he likes to spend money! I could have told him that! At least he has that self awareness now.

  3. #33
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    Went through the house listing furniture to get rid of before moving. Left the list to DH to double check.

    Looked on Kijiji to see what people in our area were selling their houses for and was surprised. Double checked on realtor.ca and realized we could walk out of this with more than I thought. Would be nice.

    DH is really wanting to move into a condo. They are more expensive than houses here...and the same holds true for where we're thinking of moving.

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  5. #34
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    condos have the high HOA fees usually, around here townhouses have $200/yr roughly to keep up the common grounds. I loved my town house, teeny yard, but it was too big for me alone, kids nearly launched. Would you consider one?

    do you have tons of friends and connections to your town that would sadden you to lose (Skype, etc notwithstanding)? It doesn't sound like you have a huge emotional attachment to your house. You would both be retired, right? Can you sell the house "as is" regarding the sewer?

    If my adult children were into me moving closer, I would take advantage of the seller's market and get out of Dodge. Good luck with the planner!

  6. #35
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    Yes, Bernice. I would consider a townhouse. Here most townhouses are condo units. Because of our cold climate a lot have underground parking. You go in and are confronted with a set of stairs to go up to the rest of the unit. Therein lies the problem. I've had medical issues twice where I'm not supposed to go up stairs for days. Not happy with it, but there you go. So we're looking at bungalows or apartment condos. I so don't want an apartment condo! At least not yet. But DH so does not want the maintenance of a bungalow.

    As for this community. I have two friends here, after 20 + years of living here, so no, I wouldn't really miss anyone. I can Skype them anytime. The biggest challenge would be leaving the network of health professionals I see, and developing a new network in NS.

    No, we cannot sell the house 'as is' with the sewer situation. It needed to be replaced "yesterday" according to the city guys. The line is cracked in several places and disintegrating. It will, however, increase the value of the house.

    Hubby is still working now, so we are not looking to move until he retires next spring or the spring after. Gives us time to pare things down.

  7. #36
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    I wouldn't count on the new sewer increasing the value of the house, but it should help it sell faster since that would have been recently done. Routine maintenance usually doesn't increase housing values. It's like the $9,000 worth of shingles we just put on our place last spring. I wouldn't expect to see any increase in the value of the house from that, because it's just maintenance. Buyers can reasonably expect a roof that doesn't leak or a sewer that works correctly, and wouldn't expect to pay extra for that. Usually what increases value is something like adding square footage, putting in an additional bathroom, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, stuff like that, but even then you don't get a dollar for dollar return on the investment. Stats I've read for things like new kitchens are you might get back 60% of what you spent, if you're lucky.

    Interesting about condos with underground parking. I've never seen that here, and our weather gets plenty cold, too. But if that's an issue for you, you can have a stair lift installed. My mom had one in her old house so she could get up and down the stairs to her basement. It worked out quite well for her.

    We're still working on purging/decluttering/organizing here, too. We could never clean this place out in a few months. We've been working on it for several years now, off and on. I hope you can get through it without having to rush, because IMO it always takes longer than you think it will. At least it does for us!

    I keep a mental list of items that wouldn't get moved if we left this area. We'd have to be like the people who headed west in wagon trains a hundred and fifty years ago and pare down to the bare necessities. Otherwise, it's going to cost a fortune.

  8. #37
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    Still trying to figure out what's shocking about a cost of $15K to move across the continent. I've estimated it would cost us at least $10K in US dollars to move only 800 miles, and I suspect that estimate is too low. I know it cost my mom $4K to move 350 miles when she moved up here and that was about fifteen years ago, before gas prices went up so much, and that also was only part of her household because my brother moved a U-Haul load up here for her, too. How did you estimate your costs? Is that for a DIY move such as U-Haul, or for hiring a moving company? If it's a moving company that would be an even better deal.

    Just curious.

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    SD, I filled in the blanks on a website that gave a free "ballpark estimate". I actually suspect it would be closer to $25K.

    I say that based on when my mom moved the contents of a 2 bedroom apartment (loaded!) from Edmonton to Moncton in 2000. They charged her $24000 in the end. At that time it was a rip off. Also someone broke into her stuff when it was in storage and stole her electronics. But they moved her car too, as I recall...and she flew down. They also held her hostage at the end and insisted she pay extra before they would drop off her goods...most of which ended up in my sister's barn...as there was no room for them at her new 1 bedroom apartment.

    Anyways...be that as it may...I'm guessing $20,000 - $25,000 is a much more reliable figure, and enough to discourage us, as it's half our annual retirement income! Needless to say, I'll be getting rid of a lot of stuff. We have a lot more than a 2 bedroom apartment would have.

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    Second quote came in for the sewer line and water line...$5500 +GST (5%). And he told us the line under the house would probably have to be replaced to, for another $4000 +GST. But a plumber does that, not him. I think we'll be going with the first guy. Not so much because of his lower quote ($4600+GST), but because he has connections with the City and can get things done faster we think. This will mean new landscaping next year too.

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    The moving expenses would have to come out of the sale of your house. It's going to cost you something to move, too, even if you stay in town, so that would be a bit of an offset.

    Yeah, we're in the same boat, if we moved more than about 100 miles, we'd be dumping a ton of stuff, too. Maybe two or three tons.

    Moving gets harder the older you get, so if you think you ever want to, IMO now's the time. You'll probably have the most money now, too.

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    Yep...it gets harder. And yes, moving expenses will come from the sale of the house.

    We're already de-cluttering. Today I'm sorting through the hallway books. There are "absolutely must go", "will go if we move" (as in irrelevant for the new location), and my "reference books", and "definitely keep" books.

    I sold a rocking chair on FB the other day. Trying to think of what else I could sell with the boarder still here. Hmm... I'm thinking of the furniture in the bedroom upstairs...

  13. #42
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    We've concluded we want to stay here as long as we can, but at the same time prep the house for sale as much as we can so we can enjoy it instead of just doing it for someone else right before selling, and to have less to do when/if the time comes. Basically, we're focusing on UFOs that should have been finished years ago. We're also working on getting things done so if something happens to one of us, the other won't be left with all the excess and UFOs to deal with alone.

    We did some planning when we built this house, and made sure it had certain features that will help us as we age. I'm so glad now we did that.

    If I can get my writing career going again, I'll need my cabin after Husby retires. It would be hard to work in the house with someone else around, TV on, etc. With my cabin, I can just go out there and close the door to be alone and focus. I'm having so much fun getting it just the way I want it, too. I still have things to sort and purge out there but it's still a great place to work. Even if I'm alone in the house, there are too many distractions in here. I'm far more productive in my office, especially now that I don't have internet anymore on my desktop. I'd have to boot up my laptop to go online instead of just clicking over to the internet, and usually I don't even bother.

    I think decluttering is good even if we don't move. We're looking forward to having everything organized around here.

    I've been working on getting rid of furniture this year, a LOT. Most of it isn't being replaced, some is being upgraded. Getting furniture that works better for us is making a big difference in our organization around here.

    Still have to get back into my sewing room and purge a ton out of there.

    I think Husby has accepted the reality that he's going to have to purge more books. He's also getting used to the idea of letting the library store the novels he wants to read. If I can only get him used to using his Nook now, and he can store thousands of books in the space of less than one.

    Sounds like you're really rolling on the moving prep. I hope it goes smoothly for you. So much work it's hard to even comprehend, but you have to start somewhere. Good for you!

  14. #43
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    Donated two boxes of books to the Diabetes Association today.

    Sold the piano...well...they say they want it. But they won't be able to drop off the cheque till Tuesday, and I may have to hang onto the piano longer than that. We'll see. Once they pay, I like to see it out of my hair and off my property. But the guys coming to dig up the sewer and water line may cause a delay. The boarder won't mind, as she plays the piano occasionally.

    Started listing the piano books for sale.

    Sorted through the bookcases some more. Have another box of books to go, if I could find a box to put them in! DH and I are going looking for boxes tomorrow at the liquor stores.

  15. #44
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    If you don't mind a suggestion. When we moved from Ohio to Florida which is about 1200 to 1300 miles we got rid of furniture.. washer dryer sofas chairs dining set. It's more expensive to move it than to re-buy it unless you want super expensive furniture. We re-bought nice and still came out ahead. Plus the added plus to that is with brand new furniture/needed appliances they will have a warranty and would probably last the rest of your life whereas your old stuff would have to be replaced with money spent in a period of time you don't want to be spending it.

    The money you would save transporting your old stuff would probably be enough to re furnish the new place. If it's irreplaceable that's one thing but if it can be replaced then ...my opinion only here.. replace it new with warranty when you get there.
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  16. #45
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    Thanks NikoSan. I'm trying to get rid of furniture. But I want to leave some to stage the house for selling. Right now I'd be happy to get rid of duplicates of things!

    When the piano goes out the door, the TV can come upstairs, and I can get rid of a love seat hide-a-bed in the family room in the basement. My goal is to empty out the basement...to start.

    I am also contemplating what order to get rid of the living room furniture in. Right now we have two chairs: one upholstered mushroom colour, and one oak mission chair (that needs new foam in the seat cushion). The upholstered chair has a matching hide-a-bed couch for our guests. BUT the couch is sagging badly in the middle. Unfortunately, it is also DH's favourite spot in the house...wouldn't you know it!

    I was hoping, after the boarder moves out, to move the expensive Mission oak futon she's been sleeping on upstairs to the living room to replace the couch. However, that means taking it apart piece by piece, hauling it upstairs, and reassembling it. DH would definitely have to be on board to do that!

    Plus it means calling the junk truck and paying to have the old couch hauled away! If I'm paying to have it hauled away, I'm having them haul a bunch of stuff! So I have to have DH in a certain head space to let a lot of big things go at once. This is challenging because he is attached to things and hates change.

    I may approach this by getting rid of some of the furniture he's hated for years that I love, but is getting old and uncomfortable. It's a 30 year old IKEA exposed pine frame cottage style love seat and chair. My friend uses the love seat every time she visits, but that could be changed. The chair I use in the bedroom for dressing. I'm not all that steady on my feet. I could put another folding chair up there, though that wouldn't be good for staging. It could always be stored away for that.

    Anyways...that's my thoughts so far... This definitely has to be done in stages and slowly over time. The key is to not replace what we get rid of. I'm not quite sure how to do that. DH is already talking another boarder after the current one moves out. That means we need a bed in the basement. I don't want it to be the Mission oak futon. I think I will have to move it upstairs and buy a cheap secondhand single bed.

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