Should You Downsize to a Smaller Home

The pros and cons of downsizing

Should You Downsize to a Smaller Home?

Have you looked around your home recently and wondered what to do with all those empty bedrooms?Or noticed that the kids whose height you faithfully charted on the closet door now have growing kids of their own? Or maybe you’re just thinking about living a smaller, simpler life? What are the pros and cons of selling your home and moving to something smaller?

I’m a baby boomer and a prospective downsizer. I’ve lived in my South Minneapolis bungalow for more than two decades. And this is a question I have started turning over in my own mind. Is it time to give up my home of many years and move to something smaller?

And maybe, much like you, I can’t really decide. So instead, I decided to make a pro-con list. Because I like to end on a high note, I’m going to start with reasons not to downsize. 

Downsizing Challenges

Downsizing from a large home to a smaller home, townhome, or condo can be a lot of work, both physically and emotionally. One of the most common roadblocks I hear from people when we talk about downsizing is the difficulty of getting rid of stuff.

Too Much Stuff

Images of a cluttered garage

 This is probably one of the biggest reasons people put off moving to a smaller home. You have to figure out what to do with all of the things you’ve accumulated over years or decades.

If you have adult kids, well, they probably already have their own stuff. And if you don’t, it’s even harder to know what to do with all those things you’ve lovingly collected over your life.

But here’s the thing, if you don’t deal with your stuff, your children or your heirs will have to eventually, and that’s not the kind of legacy you want to leave behind.

If you’re looking for help getting rid of stuff, don’t miss my next blog: Downsizing Tips How to Rid of My Stuff

Leaving Your Community

This is a tough one. If you’ve lived in your home for years, you have connections to your community. But it’s also true that if you’ve lived in your community or neighborhood for years, it’s probably changed. Maybe there’s more traffic, or fewer shops, or maybe a lot of the friends you’ve made have moved away.

While can be tough saying goodbye to a community or neighborhood you love, moving is also an opportunity to make new friends, to find a new favorite restaurant or coffee shops, and, for some people, it’s a chance to move closer to their family or grandkids.

Downsizing Costs

There are some expenses associated with selling your home and moving to another one. You may need to make some updates or take care of deferred maintenance before you sell your existing home.

There’s also the expense of moving, and if you’re moving from single-family home to a townhome or condo, you will have to pay a monthly HOA fee, even if you don’t have a mortgage. And that can be a hard concept if you’ve owned you own home for years.

Benefits of Downsizing

There are some challenges to downsizing, especially if you’ve live in your home for decades. But there are also many benefits as well. Here are just a few of those benefits.

Lower Living Expenses

For many people, one of the biggest benefits of downsizing is often financial. Depending on your situation, moving to a smaller home may bring greater financial security. You may be able to lower or even eliminate your mortgage payment, and you’ll likely pay lower taxes and have lower utility costs.

If you’ve paid off your mortgage or if you have substantial equity in your current home, you may be able to purchase your next home with cash, or apply for an FHA mortgage specifically for people age 62 or older that would allow you buy a new home and never make another mortgage payment. If you want more information on that, can check out my video on here.

Less Home Maintenance

If you’re moving to a smaller home, townhome or condo, it’s likely that you’ll have less yard to manage, or maybe no yard at all. And, of course, here in Minnesota, we also have snow management—clearing sidewalks, driveways, and even roofs can be a real pain.

homeowner repairing cabinet hinge

You may pay HOA fees, but you won’t have to worry about shoveling, mowing, and other routine home maintenance chores again.

Greater Freedom

With more financial security and less home maintenance, it’s easier to do the things you’ve been dreaming about in retirement, whether that’s travel, going out with friends, or having more time to do fun things with your family.

Not Passing on the Burden to Family

This is a big one. Knowing that you won’t be burdening your kids or other family with the responsibility of getting rid of your stuff. I have done this myself more than once. And I have to tell you, that it can be really hard to both grieve the loss of someone you love and have the added burden of sorting through their possessions and trying to figure out what they would want. You really want to avoid putting this burden on your loved ones if you can.

Pro Tip: The First Step

What’s the first step you should take if you’re considering downsizing?

Go out and look at homes for sale in areas where you want to live.  Go to open houses, visit model home, or get an Realtor® to set up home showings for you.

You can definitely look online too, but, especially if you’re downsizing from a bigger living space, it’s hard to know what a smaller space feels like, lives like, and how much space you really need unless your physically in it. Pictures just don’t tell the story.

If you can envision living somewhere new, it’s a lot easier to decide if you’re ready to make a move.

J Trout Lowen is a Twin Cities Realtor®, a baby boomer, and a prospective downsizer. 

Getting rid of stuff can be a challenge. In this vide talk about ways you can sell, gift, repurpose, and recycle things you either don’t need or won’t want in your next home.

If you’re a homeowner age 62 or older, you may be able to se the equity in your current home to purchase a new home, townhome, or condo and never make another mortgage payment. Watch the video to learn more.

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