Photo by Andrea Cox / for CREB®Now

Coming full circle

Brian and Susan Vos “upsized” after their downsized lifestyle no longer met their needs

Empty nesters Brian and Susan Vos are at the forefront of a growing downsizing trend. It has taken them full circle from a single-family home to a condominium and then back to a single-family home.

Six years ago they took the traditional downsizing plunge, moving from a large, single-family home where they had raised their three children into an executive bungalow-style condominium.

At first, the lifestyle shift worked, but when their grandchildren were born, the dynamic changed.

The couple found there wasn’t enough space. They wanted a home more conducive to entertaining children, a place with a yard and lots of room to play. Their search brought them to the community of Legacy, where they purchased a two-storey, four-bedroom walkout home that backs on to green space, walking trails and a beautiful pond.

CREB®Now: Do you find downsizing to be a common scenario?

Brian Vos: We have several friends who have downsized to condominiums who are experiencing the same reaction.

Space becomes a really important thing when you have grandchildren. In addition, I know that I don’t want to be ruled and told what I can and can’t do – whether or not we can plant flowers and so forth.

I think as people become older and have greater disposable income, they don’t want to put up with that. There are many ways that you can run a single-family home just like a condo complex from the perspective of a reserve fund or finding someone to look after your property when you are not there.

CREB®Now: How has the transition worked from condominium to single-family home?

Susan Vos: It’s been wonderful. I love the openness and the view from the backyard. There are so many people coming and going.

It’s friendly and everyone says hello. We never felt that way in our condo. People would come and go in their cars, drive into the garage and sometimes there were days when we saw no one. It was so isolating. At the condo, I felt really old. It was like I was aging.

Here, I feel like I am back in life again. Kids are laughing and playing with balls and flying kites. It’s so nice to be back in a house. It feels like home. We will stay here until we can’t climb the stairs anymore. And then maybe we’ll just put in an elevator.

Space becomes a really important thing when you have grandchildren. In addition, I know that I don’t want to be ruled and told what I can and can’t do – whether or not we can plant flowers and so forth.

CREB®Now: How do you like the location in the southeast?

Brian Vos: I work downtown and throughout my life I have mostly lived closer to the core.

While many would consider it a long commute, the drive from downtown to Legacy is a good commute from the perspective of getting things off of your mind. When you get home, you are not thinking about work. I like that.

Legacy is on the edge of the city, but you get to see mountains and open fields. It feels like you are leaving the city and going to the country. In my opinion, not living so close to work is a good thing.

Susan Vos: I love the location. It’s so close to my children. I’m always over there or they are over here. Someone is always popping in. And the stores are great. My daughter and I are big shoppers, so we are always checking them out. There are new stores popping up all of the time. We are so close to the shopping centres at Shawnessy and 130th Avenue, and to Southcentre Mall. And if we need to pick up something quickly, Walden has a plaza with everything from Save-On Foods to Starbucks.

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