A lot of people downsize for many different reasons, perhaps your empty-nesters, looking for a little less space, or a change in family status. Whatever the reason for going from a large house to a small house, there are some key points to keep in mind. You want to make sure that your new home provides all the necessary amenities and needs that you require without sacrificing a lot, except for space of course. You have to think about whether you’re taking all of the items you have now, or getting rid of a lot of “stuff” and truly downsizing, not just the space but your things as well. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts of downsizing.
#1. Why are you doing it?
Obviously, you should already know this but find out the real purpose for downsizing. Are you tired of cleaning more space, taking care of rooms or heating rooms that you just don’t use, perhaps you’re just looking for a different location? Getting to the bottom of why you are downsizing will help you make a better decision on the right house. If you’re only moving because of the location, changing the size of your home may not be the best option.
#2. Don’t go too small.
We are in an age of the “tiny house movement” where people go from 2000 ft.² down to 320 ft.². That might be a bit extreme for most people so don’t just assume that going smaller means less maintenance. You might be so crowded and living on top of each other that it’s more frustrating than beneficial. Smaller houses don’t necessarily mean less maintenance, the places like condominiums or townhouses might provide you the low maintenance lifestyle you are really looking for. In this case, it might not necessarily be downsizing, only choosing a better home for your current needs.
#3. Think long-term.
Is this your forever home, are you retiring in this home, or are you looking for about 5 to 10 years until things might change again? Look at your life over the next 5 to 15 years and see if this is the best fit. If you’re only planning on staying in the house for a couple of years, saying where you are now might be more beneficial on the equity standpoint. We’ve spoken to a lot of people who have had a divorce and then choose to buy a house only to sell it a year later when they plan on getting married again and moving in with their new spouse. Of course, no one can predict the future, but choosing the right financial moves now may help you down the line.
#4. Consider location.
Is downsizing really the best option or will a change of location suffice? Are you looking to be closer to medical facilities, grocery stores, and restaurants? Are you looking for someone to do a lot of the exterior maintenance for you or just be closer to family members? Again, this comes down to why exactly are downsizing and your needs may change because of the location.
#5. Think about practicality.
If you have four bedrooms now, will two bedrooms suffice? What will you do with all your extra stuff? Do you want an extra room simply for an office or hobby room? What about a guest room and people to come and visit? Are your rooms just taking up space and becoming a clutter or catchall for storage? How many rooms do you really need in the house and do you need additional living spaces such as a family room and living room? Will a simple eat-in kitchen work for you or do you need a formal dining room? If these extra rooms are just not used, you can save yourself a lot of time cleaning and money by choosing a home that simply has fewer rooms.