Many people nearing retirement start to wonder if downsizing would be a good plan. If you’re thinking about downsizing your home, it’s a big decision. You need to start by deciding if downsizing would make sense for your situation. Here are some of the issues that will point you in one direction or another.
Consider downsizing your home if you feel like you spend too much time on home maintenance.
You’d probably spend less time doing maintenance tasks around the house after you downsize. Just think carefully about the maintenance tasks you do enjoy. If you spend a lot of time in your garden, for example, decide if you still enjoy gardening or would be willing to give it up.
If you’d enjoy your time more pursuing other hobbies, a townhome might be just what you need. But, if you enjoy gardening, consider that you may need a smaller home that still provides room to design and nurture a garden.
Consider downsizing your home if your existing home doesn’t meet your needs.
Think about what you’d like to change about your existing home. Here are some examples that might point to downsizing.
Are you living in a two-story home, but think you’d be happier in a ranch? Typically, the only way to make that change is to downsize, or at least move to a one-story home.
If you live close to friends and family, perhaps you only need one guest room as opposed to the three you ended up with after your children established their own homes. If you anticipate that a child or parent will eventually come to live with you, you can look for a smaller home with a separate living area – often called a mother-in-law suite.
Sometimes people live on large properties to allow them to raise animals, or keep horses. If other interests are replacing those hobbies, you don’t need the same amount of acreage.
Consider downsizing your home if you want to cut living costs.
Perhaps you don’t think you’re getting enough enjoyment from your home to justify the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utility payments. Or, you may be preparing for retirement and want more money for travel or other interests. In those situations, you will probably be able to reduce your living costs by downsizing.
Consider downsizing your home if it won’t cost much to prepare to sell.
If you’ve lived in your existing home for a relatively short period of time, it might just need a coat of paint or some new plantings to improve curb appeal. However, if you have lived in your existing home for many years, the odds are you’ll need to prepare a plan to sell.
You may need to update the kitchen, baths, or even the layout to get top dollar when you sell. If that’s the case, you will need to create a plan that moves toward downsizing in steps. First, you may need to get your home in peak selling condition. At the same time, you can start deciding how to make your furnishings fit into a smaller home. If you’ve lived in a home for 20 years, it will take time to make decisions about what to keep.
You will also need to account for the cost of moving. There will be closing and moving costs, for example, that you will need to consider before making the final decision.
If you’re just starting to think about downsizing, the issues discussed above will give you a place to start. There are lots of things to think about and plan to downsize successfully.
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