Steps to downsizing your residence for retirement in Cobourg, Ontario

Elderly couple with an agent

Downsizing entails months of weighing the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, thoroughly looking at one’s finances, and basically just coming to terms with letting go of the one place where you accumulated so many fond memories. Now that you have finally decided to go for it, then comes the question: “How do I go about downsizing?”

Below is a handy guide that will help ease you through the motions of downsizing your home in one of the most beautiful places in Canada for retirement: the picturesque town of Cobourg, Ontario.

A 2018 survey by global market research firm Ipsos stated that 18% of Canadians aged 55 and above have downsized their homes while 34% had plans on downsizing in the next five years or so.

Among the downsizers, 91% of them said that they were happy with their living arrangements but 27% also noted that the costs incurred were more than what they expected.

These results show that preparation is key if you’re pondering about relocating from a large property to a smaller home for retirement. That way, you could manage your expectations and minimise the risk of making costly mistakes along the way.

So, if you feel that you’re ready to take the plunge, here are the steps to downsize your home.


Old couple packing

1. Know your goals and reasons for downsizing

Before downsizing, you have to weigh its pros and cons. Try to envision what you want to achieve from this move. Below are some factors to consider, along with questions to reflect on.


Moving to a new home as a senior is a major milestone and must not be taken lightly. As you design your new lifestyle alongside your financial capacities, doing a thorough check of your current financial situation and goals is critical.

  • How much money do you want to save on mortgage payments?
  • Is the cost of living reasonable?
  • What will be its impact on your short- and long-term finances, including property taxes, utility bills, and maintenance costs?
  • Do you need to pay off some debt?


As you get a better understanding of your finances, you may now make more informed decisions on the lifestyle and activities you will be engaging in when you move to your new retirement home.

  • Are you keen on relocating to another town or do you want to remain in the same neighbourhood?
  • What kind of weather suits you best?
  • Does the location provide access to activities you enjoy?
  • Do you prefer to live in a retirement community with leisure amenities?
  • Do you intend to be part of community clubs or groups?


You may be active and strong now but what about several years down the line? That’s why on top of providing comfort and relaxation, the home you’ll move to should keep up with your changing health requirements.

  • Do you have existing slip and fall issues?
  • Do you require assistance from your children and need to stay closer to them?
  • What place will give you easy access to healthcare/hospitals and senior services?
  • Which locality has a low crime rate?


Proximity of the new place to loved ones may also be an important factor in your downsizing plans.

  • Do you want to spend more quality time with your grandchildren and see them grow up?
  • Do you wish to treasure your golden years by living close to your loved ones?

2. Compute for costs, not just for the move but also for home maintenance

A good number of people opt for downsizing to reduce expenses brought about by maintaining a large home. If you have set your sights on downsizing to a new Cobourg retirement residence, make sure you’re aware of the financial requirements so that you don’t end up with more bills instead of savings.

Start by determining the current worth of your home by researching and asking for help from your local real estate experts for comps and other relevant market data. Your findings and their recommendations may help a lot in allowing you to set a realistic budget for your new residence.

Several expenses to factor in your downsizing plans include

  • Fees by the local homeowners’ association if getting a condo unit, townhome, or single-family home in a gated community
  • Taxes
  • Insurance fees
  • Mortgage (if you secured a loan)
  • Utility bills
  • Real estate agent fees
  • Fees for related service vendors (moving services, lawyers, accountants, etc.)

Of course, the home you’re about to leave will also require maintenance and sales strategies as you put it on the market. The staging process alone will entail you to do repairs, upgrades, and renovations to boost its market price and sell it easily at the soonest time.

3. Plan ahead

These steps to downsize your home are not meant to discourage you from going through the process. On the contrary, the goal here is to give you a roadmap so that you could easily anticipate bumps in your downsizing journey and make the necessary preparations. One of these includes setting a realistic schedule and deadline. That way, you hold yourself accountable and make the tasks more manageable. Your timeline must also factor in your hunt for ideal locations, neighbourhoods, and housing types based on your goals and needs.

Also, try to envision the layout of your new home. Find out if your Cobourg retirement residence will be able to accommodate your furniture and appliances by getting the measurements and layout of your new space so you could map out a floor plan.

4. Declutter by donating, selling, or gifting

Decluttering usually triggers old memories and sentimental attachments so make sure to give yourself some time to process your emotions. Go through your possessions one room at a time, starting with the less-frequented areas. Organise your possessions into boxes labeled with “keep”, “donate”, “store”, or “trash”. Family members could be helpful in pointing out objects that you won’t need and disposing of them.

Pick out furniture and appliances that you’ll be using in your new home, then decide what to do with the items that didn’t make the cut. Selling them not only helps you free up space; it may even raise extra funds to offset your other expenses. The internet is a great place to start your selling spree; the rest may be sold in a garage sale. Admittedly, not everyone is online or marketing savvy so don’t hesitate to ask for help from family or friends.

You may also consider donating your possessions to your favourite local charity. Parting ways with your belongings may be easier if you know that someone else will benefit from using them. Of course, your children may also become grateful receivers of your beloved stuff.

5. Hire professionals

Couple with agent

If you need extra help in downsizing for retirement, bringing in a team of experienced real estate professionals may do the trick. Not only does this take off the burden of navigating the transaction but it also gives you more time for other important things in your life. These experts can keep you grounded all throughout the process and help you manage the emotions involved with downsizing.

There are many ways of finding a trusted Realtor to help you with your downsizing endeavor but you could start by asking family or friends for referrals. This agent should be adept at helping retirees settle down in the home of their dreams. You could also check for their status, legitimacy, and reliability by searching for their name on the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) website. The same website also allows you to see if there were complaints and disciplinary actions filed against them. You may also do a quick background check online and from referrals. What do their previous clients have to say about them? How do they handle comments from clients? Are they effectively communicating their expertise online?

Good Ontario agents usually have a wide network of reliable experts from affiliated industries, including photographers, stagers, cleaning services, accountants, lawyers, and inspectors, among many others. This eliminates the need for you to look for these professionals on your own.

With your selected Realtor’s help, selling your old home and finding options for retirement homes in Cobourg will be a lot easier. Once your property is in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), you’ll have a bevy of potential home buyers inquiring about your home.

6. Look for the retirement home that aligns with your downsizing goals

With the help of a real estate specialist for retirement homes in Cobourg, they could narrow down the choices to a select few that align most with your downsizing goals. You just need to be open with your Realtor and let them know what these goals are.

Consider how living in Cobourg on your retirement will allow you to enjoy your desired lifestyle in your senior years. and the kind of independence you wish to have. You could get a condo or townhouse in the area, move to an assisted living facility, or buy a smaller house. The items below should give you an idea of what to look for in your new retirement home in Cobourg.

  • Location – access to nature, parks, beaches, accessibility to shops, etc.
  • Cost of living, housing costs, and other additional fees
  • Community amenities
  • Medical facilities
  • Public transportation
  • Proximity to family and friends
  • Size and layout of the residence, facilities, and amenities
  • Social activities
  • Mobility requirements
  • Health and safety

You could also ask your potential agent for hyperlocal information about Cobourg and your preferred home such as the demographic of the area, neighbourhood crime and safety rates, property taxes, the presence (or absence) of structural and appliance warranties, and additional fees.

It will also be great to look into the open houses offered in your preferred neighbourhoods so that you will have a grasp of what it’s like to live there.


yacht dock

Characterised by a scenic waterfront, a laid-back suburban vibe, and a historic downtown area, the lakeside town of Cobourg is more than just a holiday destination. Home to nearly 20,000 residents, it has been hailed as “One of Canada’s Best Places to Live” by MoneySense Magazine. Over the years, Cobourg has also successfully preserved its traditional Main Street and the surrounding residential Heritage Conservation District.

Cobourg is Northumberland County’s largest town located just off Highway 401. It’s situated near major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Kingston. Even with the proximity to these urban centers, Cobourg still manages to keep its small-town vibe and strong community spirit. Cobourg also lies on the fringes of the massive Lake Ontario, which makes it ideal for numerous activities for sports and recreation in and around the lake’s waters. Beaches here have beautiful sandy shores with a bustling heritage marina.

What you’ll find in Cobourg

A historical and cultural gem found in Cobourg’s downtown area is Victoria Hall, a 19th-century structure that is now a multi-use structure where you’ll find the Town Hall and even a popular concert venue.

The town has a wide array of amenities, including arenas and skating parks, several arts and culture spaces, trails and campgrounds, beaches, as well as cycling and walking trails. Nature parks are also found here, as well as several shopping, entertainment, and dining options.

As for the real estate, prime waterfront properties are found here. The dominant property type here is the single-family home which you will find scattered throughout town. Those with mobility issues especially favor the bungalows that allow for easy access to every living space of the home sans the use of stairs.

Listed below are some of the town’s standout fixtures:

  • Northumberland Hills Hospital – A state-of-the-art healthcare facility delivering a wide range of services to patients
  • Cobourg Public Library – A two-story library located at C. Gordon King Centre
  • Cobourg Community Centre – Features a plethora of recreational activities for kids, adults, and seniors (public skating, zumba, pickleball, table tennis, square dancing, hockey, creative dance, etc.)
  • VIA Rail – Cobourg’s train station where residents may board trains that will bring them to Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
  • Recreation and Community Centre – This family-friendly facility is the perfect place for mingling with fellow residents as they engage in the Centre’s many programmes, events, and activities. These include summer camp, public skating, child and youth programmes, a 55+ seniors’ activity centre, and even hockey and figure skating.


There’s no better place for living the finest years of your life than in Cobourg – Ontario’s feel-good town! We at the Jacqueline Pennington Team will be here to help you with the transition to Cobourg to make your retirement living a wonderfully pleasant and stress-free experience.

Find out more about finding your new Cobourg retirement residence with us! Drop us an email today or contact us at 905.375.0062.

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