Yard work feels harder. The kids have moved out. It may be time to start thinking about downsizing your home. Not only does a smaller home cost less, but it’s also easier to maintain. It’s no wonder many people, especially those over the age of 50, choose to offload some belongings and pare down their square footage. So, if your house is beginning to feel too large for your needs, here are some things to think about as you consider downsizing.
Your Financial Goals
What are your priorities at this point in your life? Do you want to pay off your mortgage? Focus on retirement savings? Perhaps you’re just focusing on paying down debts. Whatever your goals, downsizing can make them a lot easier to achieve.
Pay Attention to HOA Costs and Their Value
If you’re looking into a condo or 55+ community, many are part of homeowner’s associations that include a variety of services and amenities. These services can make life a lot easier, but it’s important to make sure that you’re not paying for things you don’t need or use. For example, if you’re relocating to a new area and need to make new friends, an HOA that includes a pool or clubhouse could be a valuable amenity for you! But if you’re simply searching for a place where you don’t need to mow your own lawn, an HOA with all the bells and whistles could wind up wasting your money.
Think About How You Will Use the Home
Even though downsizing may mean sacrificing some extra space or features, make sure you don’t sacrifice so much that you wind up being unhappy. By thinking about how you plan to use your new home, you can determine what areas you’re okay doing away with.
For example, if your children have begun to host big holidays, you may not need a double oven or dining room that seats 10. But if there are grand kids or pets in the picture, make sure you consider their needs by choosing a home with a suitable yard or extra bedroom.
Plan For Future Health
Be sure you plan for your current needs as well as down the road. Even if your health is good now, there may come a day when stairs could become difficult. First floor living options and open floor plans with handicap-access may be important factors when looking at a home.
Location of the home is also important. Yes, you can drive to the doctor and the grocery store now, but some day you may need alternate modes of transportation, or have family close by to assist.
Consider How to Manage Sentimental and Heirloom Items
One of the toughest parts of downsizing is figuring out what to do with all your stuff. Parting with objects of sentimental significance can be really difficult. If you think this will apply to you, giving your belongings to close friends or family members who value them as much as you do can make the purge a lot easier.
Letting go of physical possessions and starting a new chapter with a fresh space can be really cathartic. If you’ve started to feel like your home is too cluttered or too large, it may be time to start thinking about downsizing your home. But before you dive into the house-hunting process, take some time to examine your goals, needs, and vision for your future. These considerations will help inform your decision and, with any luck, lead to a great move that will reduce your responsibilities and expenses.