The Costs of Moving House Vs. Aging in Place

The Costs of Moving House 2

The age-old question facing seniors nowadays has been sung, blasted and mimed while rocking on an air guitar since 1982: “Should I stay, or Should I go?”. Wise words that have echoed in the heads of those facing an almost impossible decision as they’ve weighed up the pros and cons of aging in place and moving. Of investing in a home they have built up around them or starting from scratch somewhere better adapted to their needs.

Though there’s no easy answer to this almost haunting question, one factor has proven to be particularly influential in deciding whether to modify a home or move house: cost. Though years of memories, the surrounding community, and touches put on a home over time to make it, well, “home” weigh heavy on the decision to give it all up, the critical information most people seek out when making this decision is the price of home adaptations for seniors, so that they can compare it to the costs of moving house.

The Cost of Moving House in Canada

First, the basic cost of moving house in Canada, which involves paying fees, taxes, and services, including:

 – provincial land transfer tax
 – municipal land transfer tax
 – real estate commissions (and HST)
 – moving company expenses
 – lawyers
 – closing fees.

The Cost of Home Adaptations for Seniors

Now, though the cost of moving is something we can calculate at somewhat of a blanket rate, the cost of staying can vary greatly. This is because keeping a senior safe in their home as they age will depend on their particular needs – needs that change as time goes on. These requirements mean a home has to be adapted so that it remains functional and safe, allowing them to maintain their independence.

When it comes to home adaptations, seniors should also make sure to include the cost of installation, site preparation, and any necessary permits beyond the price of the materials themselves. While grab bars, anti-slip flooring and reachable cabinets may not be very expensive or complex to install, an entire bathroom refurbishment, residential lift installation or plan to widen doorways and remove steps could put a considerable dent in your bank balance.

However, Canadian seniors may also benefit from certain tax credits that can be applied to these costs, providing a decent reduction in the overall price.

This chart outlines the basic estimates for a home in Southern Ontario:

*Pricing examples are based on a home sale price at $910,000 and the purchase price of a $600,000 condo. The total project price for a Homelift is based on typical renovation scope. Exact costs will vary.

Though neither option comes out cheap, the best way to consider this decision is the impact it will have on your future. Whichever path you choose, it’s an investment into keeping you safe in your home as you age.

The Costs of Moving House

Insights on Aging in Place from the Experts

With a combined 40 years of experience in the industry, Jim Closs of Age Safe Canada and Randy Sore of EZ Access Inc have heard their fair share of homeowners ask the question: Should I stay? Though the answer’s never an easy one, they’ve put together a list of factors to help guide seniors towards making the best decision for them:

Your home’s renovation potential

Will you actually be able to make the changes you need to stay safe in your home as you age?

Your neighbourhood

Is it generally accessible? Can you get to everywhere you need to go easily and safely? Can you stock your cupboards and see your friends in complete peace of mind?

Your neighbours

Good neighbours are something money just can’t buy. If your neighbours are your community, think carefully before giving them up.

Local property values

Can your local market withstand the investment you’re putting into your home? Will it be worth your while if you do eventually sell up?

Other family members

Where are they, and how often do you see them? Would a move impact negatively on your relationship?

Emotional attachment

It’s not just a house; it’s your home filled with happy memories. Is that something you’re willing to give up?


Relocating isn’t necessarily easier or cheaper than modifying a home to meet your needs and finding an accessible house may not be all that easy. Consider the overall moving costs you’d be facing and have a think about how that same money could be spent in your own home. Which gets you closer to what you actually need?

There’s no denying that making the decision to stay or go is tricky and influenced by a whole host of factors. However, weighing up all the information available beforehand and considering your exact circumstances are helpful steps to take before making a final decision, ensuring you do what’s best for you and your safety long-term.

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