Is it time to downsize?
In a country that seems to be enthralled with “bigger is better” and “super-sizing” everything you would think that we would be leaning in the same direction when it comes to homes.While we most people are buying bigger TVs, they’re putting them in smaller homes more and more often.
Many of the baby-boomers are finding that less is best and double income families are finding that being closer isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in a world where most trends are to get bigger and better why would we start downsizing when it comes to our homes? It all comes down to common sense and economy.
For baby boomers they’re finding that, like most retirees, the homes they once felt they needed to hold three kids and family gatherings are now just too big to take care of. As our population ages their needs are changing and they find that spending less on housing is a positive thing; especially when on fixed incomes. They’d rather be out golfing or vacationing instead of worrying about keeping up an oversized house that no longer serves their purpose.
While you would think most families would be moving into bigger places, often the exact opposite is true. Many families are finding that kids can live just fine sharing bedrooms and not having huge family rooms to be entertained in. Instead, with both parents working and kids running after school & weekends families are finding that they really want less to take care of when it comes to being at home. Other times families decide to downsize their home to make life more affordable on one income; allowing one spouse to stay home and raise the children.
While there will always be a need for big houses, many are downsizing for different reasons. Some downsize for cost efficiencies while other for ease of care. So what are the pros of downsizing your home?
- Less cleaning and maintenance is needed with smaller homes and smaller rooms. Having fewer rooms to keep clean and maintained means giving families more free time to do things they enjoy doing; especially when both partners are working while kids are involved in various social and sporting events. Huge homes can overwhelm a family when they’re spending less and less time at home and more time out having fun and enjoying extracurricular activities. Coming home to a house that needs vacuumed, dusted, and picked up isn’t fun for anyone but it’s a lot less fun if you have a huge house to contend with.
- Smaller homes generally mean smaller mortgages. If you’re trying to pinch pennies and stay afloat in today’s economy a smaller mortgage is definitely a positive thing. You seem to miss that extra “sitting room” and spare bedroom a whole lot less when you sit down each month and write out that mortgage payment. With aging baby boomers they are finding they need to free more money up for necessities in life such as medications and medical bills. They want to have access to more funds to enjoy life and not to be stuck inside the walls of a huge showcase home. Vacations are more appealing than a huge home filled with empty rooms of furniture that go unused.
- Utility bills are often reduced when you downsize your home. Common sense tells us it’s generally less expensive to air condition and heat a smaller house than a big oversized home. In today’s economy everybody is trying to save money and smaller utility bills make everyone happier.
- Less money spent on decorating and collecting. When people live in smaller areas they tend to buy less “stuff” to collect and decorate with. With fewer spaces to store things it becomes easier to stop buying more Christmas decorations because you have less space to store it out of season.
- Less clutter is a definite benefit of a smaller home. When you’re packing to move from a larger home to a smaller one you’re going to find yourself de-cluttering almost every room. That huge ceiling to floor bookcase you had filled with books won’t have a place in your smaller home so you will most likely start giving them away or donating them or finding a way to store them in basements or attics. Soon you’ll realize that those can be removed from there and are serving no real purpose and next thing you know you’ll end up with less and less clutter.
Other Benefits of Downsizing
- Many who choose to downsize also choose which one or two rooms they are willing to spend more on; for example a gourmet kitchen. When you have less room to work with you find that the rooms you do have are given more attention and are created to serve the purpose of your entire household in a more streamlined and better way.
- Often those who downsize and already have a home are going to make a substantial amount of money if they’ve lived in their home for a lengthy period of time. The equity they’ve made or perhaps even paid off a mortgage will be money in their pocket when they have to use a portion of the funds to buy their new smaller, cozier house.
So should you downsize by buying a home and then selling yours or should you sell your home first and then downsize? Be informed. The best person to answer that question is your agent. Your agent knows the market, especially for your particular area, and can advise you which direction you should go when downsizing. They can guide you so your move goes smoothly and as perfect as possible. Each locale and each situation is different; so what may be a good time for one person or family to sell may be a “not so good” time for someone else. Talk it out and make that decision as a well-informed consumer.