February 02, 2020 at 10:17am | Denise Bodman

 After many years in a large home with three generations living under one roof, life changed abruptly.  Our daughter headed to college, my mother-in-law needed more assistance than we could provide at home, and suddenly there we were - my husband, my son, and I - in a humongous home where we barely saw each other and constantly worried about upkeep. The pool needed cleaning, the yard needed trimming, and rooms that no one used anymore still needed to be dusted off and maintained. Our cats would be tucked away somewhere and it would take us forever just to find them. 
These are definitely first world problems, but nevertheless, there we were with a huge home, lots of work to be done with our businesses, and not enough time to enjoy life. After about a year of this, we decided to give condo living a try.
We took our time as we looked for the perfect place and ended up buying a 1,500 square foot condo in East Austin, right near Downtown. The price and the location felt right for this new phase of our lives and we didn't even wait for our current house to sell before we decided to move in.

Downsizing is definitely not a joke (I still have a storage unit to prove that I’m not completely done purging), but overall we couldn't be happier with the new life that we're living. Even with some of the bumps we've had along the way, we love living in the center of a bustling, vibrant city. Our condo lets us enjoy amenities like a community-managed pool and rooftop terrace while giving us none of the upkeep that took up so much time in our previous home.

If you've been thinking about downsizing or wondering if the condo lifestyle might be for you, here are some tips and tricks on how to find the perfect place and downsize like a pro.

1. Decide Where You Want to Live

Take a look at the city around you. What neighborhoods look appealing? Is there anything that would be an absolute dealbreaker? What types of features are important to you - transportation options, amenities, local features? Make a list of the most important things to consider and see if there's an area of town that can give you everything you want! Not sure which neighborhood is for you? Bring your list to your real estate agent and let them do the work for you.

2. Have a Trusted Real Estate Agent Show You Around Town

A real estate agent is going to be your best asset while you look for your new home. They will know the different areas of your city and can give you advice on which ones might meet your lifestyle desires and price point. Downsizing is a big task and having a professional do the leg work will give you more time to focus on the upcoming move and which items you'll want to keep or get rid of.

3. Choose a Building and Pick a Unit

It's worth it to find exactly what you're looking for, even if you might have to wait a bit longer to get it. You might be particular and that's okay! Do you want a building facing East or West? Are large windows a must? As you explore your options, you'll find the criteria that really matters and hone in on the kind of place that will make you feel at home.

4. Get Your Current House Ready to Hit the Market

Ask your real estate agent what you need to do to give your house the best chance of selling quickly or check out our Realtor's Guide to Selling Your Home. You'll want your space to be clean, organized, and in tip-top shape before your agent begins showings.

5. Embrace the Move and New Phase of Life

Change is never easy and often times the decision to downsize coincides with other major life changes. It's okay to take a moment to look around and process what this change means to you. Sometimes it means saying goodbye to the home that your children grew up in or moving further away from a familiar circle of neighbors and friends. Take some time to think about what this exciting new phase will mean for you. 

Lastly, there are a few additional things you should plan to prepare for before you move into your condo:1. A Different Kind of Noise
Depending on the construction style and location of the building, you may experience an increase in noise. Stick frame buildings tend to have more noise than concrete builds and the floor you live on can have an impact on noise level as well.  I’ve lived on the 4th floor and the 29thfloor and surprisingly I felt like there was more noise on the 29th.  I’m not easily bothered by noise, but my husband is so at night he likes to wear earplugs.  I’d love to say it’s because of the city noise, but it's really due to my snoring! 
2. Lock & Leave Lifestyle
Condos often come with convenient maintenance and amenities that can make your life a little easier. Instead of taking the trash out, there might be a trash shoot and someone to take the dumpsters out weekly.  No more having to make sure you have the trash can by the curb at a certain time!  If you are in a full-service building, it all gets a lot easier.  The staff will deliver packages to your unit and take your dry cleaning.  When anyone comes to a unit in a full-service building, the concierge makes sure they are supposed to be there and can assist if you are unavailable.
3. Parking
Depending on where you live, parking can be a bit of a hassle. Check to make sure that there is on-site and visitor parking and if there's not, be sure to know where to direct friends and family when they visit. 
4. Living Your Best Life
We drink, we eat, we have a great time.  We even bought bicycles and walk to most of the restaurants nearby.  I will say, straight out of the shoot, we started having a blast.  We are stillhaving a blast.  I thought it would be hard downsizing, but it ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made.  We have a closer relationship with our son, we discovered we had more time together when we weren't working on the house all the time, and even our cats seem to get along better. 
So if anyone ever asks me what it’s like, I say it’s fantastic and the best decision we ever made and my quality of life has improved significantly.  I love being around all age groups and heritages and man, do I love being around some of the best restaurants, bars, and shops the city has to offer.
So after making the change and downsizing to a condo, what's my suggestion?
Try condo living. It could change your life.



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