Helpful Tips from BMO Bank of Montreal®

Retiring and want to relocate?

Consider these 3 pros and cons.

While nearly half of Canadian homeowners don’t plan to sell their homes when they retire, many are still unsure what they’ll do. Moving to a new city or downsizing to a more compact home can offer advantages but, depending on your goals, a few disadvantages as well. If you’re thinking about a post-retirement move, consider these pros and cons before you start packing:

When you relocate to a new city or property…

  • PRO: Save money on daily expenses: If you relocate to a less expensive area, you’ll be able to stretch your retirement savings further. Consider the benefits of a suburb vs. city, and look to exotic areas that provide a lower cost of living. Need a little inspiration? Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica are popular post-retirement spots for Canadians. Or, look to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where you can rent a one-bedroom apartment (in a good area!) for as little as $400 a month.
  • CON: Spend money on moving costs: Even if you’re exchanging your current digs for a less expensive property, moving isn’t cheap — real estate agent expenses, land transfer tax and moving costs can dissolve a big chunk of money. In Toronto, for example, land transfer costs, legal fees and moving expenses alone could be $15,000 or more. Plus, you’ll have to consider the cost of traveling to visit family, but if you pick a tropical locale, Canadian relatives may be more likely to come to you.

When you downsize to a condo or rental unit…

  • PRO: Save time with maintenance help: Tired of shoveling snow and cutting grass? Move into an apartment building, condo or townhome. Many building owners will take care of property maintenance for a monthly fee. A significant number of homeowners over 65 choose to sell their homes, preferring to rent instead.
  • CON: Spend time to downsize belongings: Condensing decades worth of personal belongings, furniture and other items isn’t easy — one possible reason why Baby Boomers who want to move don’t want to switch to a smaller home. Of course, if you declutter now, you’ll have less to clean and organize during retirement (and you’ll make a pretty penny from a massive yard sale).

When you downsize to a condo or rental unit…

  • PRO: Increase your available funds: By selling your home, buying a less expensive one with the profits, and then investing the leftover cash, you can boost your post-retirement financial status. Downsizing to a smaller, less costly home may even help you retire earlier by increasing your amount of available funds.
  • CON: Decrease your available equity: If you stay put, your home equity could potentially provide a back-up plan should you (knock on wood) run out of savings. You could borrow against the equity you’ve built in your home with a home equity line of credit — just be sure you can make your monthly loan payments. Equity could also help fund a retirement home stay, where monthly fees can range from $1,400 to over $3,000 a month.

To locate a BMO Mortgage Specialist who can help you with your home financing needs, visit