Making the decision to downsize your home can be hard. For many, it’s where you watched your family grow. It’s your source of comfort and filled with memories. It’s safe to say that many homeowners don’t typically dream of the day they buy a smaller home. But minimal maintenance is definitely appealing. That’s why some people see downsizing as a step forward, not backward. Wondering if it might be time for you to downsize your home? Here are four signs it might be time:
The maintenance is too much
Keeping your home well-maintained can be a lot of work! Between yard work and perpetual maintained, the upkeep can leave you exhausted. Or maybe it’s getting harder for you to do certain household maintenance tasks due to age or physical restrictions.
There’s also a financial component to home maintenance. You might be reaching a point in your life where you don’t want to or you’re physically unable to spend time cutting a large lawn or shoveling a long driveway. When that day comes, you’ll likely need to pay others to take care of your property for you, which will increase your cost of living. By downsizing your home when the time is right, you’ll leave more time for yourself and save money.
You’ve retired or you’re retiring soon
Downsizing for retirement is one of the most common reasons people scale back on home size. When you downsize, you’re cutting basic expenses and creating more retirement income. In downsizing your home for retirement, you’ll move into a smaller, cheaper property that will likely reduce your property taxes, insurance and mortgage payments.
Even if you plan to have your mortgage paid off by the time you retire, your current home could be a major source of retirement capital. The thought of living in your home, mortgage-free is tempting; however, having too much capital tied up into a home could mean less retirement savings.
You have a lot of unused space
If you’ve already raised your children, you might be paying for space that you’re likely not using. If it’s just you and your spouse, maybe you no longer need four bedrooms and three bathrooms! Even if you’ve paid off your mortgage, you could still be paying a lot in property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities and maintenance, all of which are higher on a larger home.
You’re filled with wanderlust
Maybe you’re mesmerized by those cruise ship commercials or you find yourself dreaming of faraway places. Downsizing your home and the expenses you’re spending on your home can free you up to travel. It’s not uncommon for snowbirds to downsize into town homes or condos where they can travel care-free because they’ve relocated to maintenance-free properties. If your over-sized mortgage and maintenance costs are eating up your travel money, it might be time to consider downsizing.
Home Downsizing Checklist
Start decluttering early:
Start thinning out your belongings a few months before the move. Sell or donate items that you know you won’t be taking with you. If you have adult children who no longer live in the home, have them help with the process by taking their own belongings and keepsakes that have piled up through the years. Consider selling your higher value items at a garage sale or on eBay.
Stage your house before you sell:
Maybe your last move was when you had small children or was many years ago and your interior looks dated. Consider some low-cost upgrades, like new bedding and fluffy towels. Be sure to clear out that clutter, too. Paring down your belongings before you sell your house will make your transition into your new home much easier.
Bust out the tape measure:
If you’re downsizing, you already know space is going to be limited. Measure your furniture and ensure it’ll properly fit into your new space. This will give you a better idea of what you can take with you and what you might need to part with.
Determine your lifestyle needs:
Think about what kind of lifestyle you want to embrace as you move forward. If you’re going to travel a lot, consider a condo or townhome where you’ll have minimal maintenance.
Create a moving checklist:
Keeping track of all the details related to your move can be overwhelming. Making moving a breeze with a moving checklist.
Source: "4 Signs You Should Downsize in 2018." Farmer Bureau Financial Services. 24 October 2017. Web. https://www.fbfs.com/learning-center/4-signs-you-should-downsize-in-2018