Are you thinking of downsizing? There are lots of reasons to downsize. You may be empty nesters and the size of your home just doesn’t match your lifestyle any more. You may not want to pay that big mortgage any more when you could be traveling the globe! You may be watching Netflix and thinking that you are drowning in clutter and you want a clean slate! If you are thinking of downsizing – you are not alone! There are many advantages associated with moving to a smaller house, but there are some potential disadvantages you need to consider too!
Thinking of Downsizing? The Benefits
Most people who downsize do so to save money. There is no reason to make high monthly mortgage payments for a house with rooms that sit empty. Moving to a smaller home can help you dramatically lower your mortgage payments and save money each month. A smaller house will also likely have much lower utility bills. The money you save can be used to invest for retirement, take vacations, visit other family members, pursue a hobby or help others in need.
Downsizing can save you time. Fewer rooms means less cleaning. If you move to an apartment or condo, your landlord or management company will likely handle maintenance, landscaping and repairs, which can save you even more time.
If your current home is cluttered with possessions you have accumulated over the years, downsizing will give you reasons to get rid of things you no longer need and to become better organized. Less truly can be more! You can share those family treasures with loved ones and enjoy seeing how much pleasure your gifts can give!
Many people choose to downsize to a home all on one level. There is comfort in knowing that if you are laid up with a broken leg or surgeries, you will still be able to get around all parts of your home. Moving to a building with a garage and an elevator can make life much simpler to “age in place” if that is your decision. Many people think of Leisure World but there are lots more choices.
Other people choose to downsize to a condo in the center of DC, Bethesda, or Old Town. A small dog and a pair of sneakers are a great change of pace after years of living in the suburbs and driving everywhere! There is lots of new construction to choose from – and you will love the big windows, shiny kitchens and easy lifestyle that comes with those new buildings.
Thinking of Downsizing? The Negatives
If you enjoy hosting parties or large holiday gatherings, you won’t be able to do that as comfortably in a smaller house. Think about whether that is a change you and your family would feel comfortable making. Many of the new condos being built around the DC area have a very open floor plan with the living room, dining area and kitchen as one great room. If you still enjoy having sit down dinners, you will want to focus on smaller homes or condos with the potential of a formal dining room.
Some people find a smaller home cozy, but others feel cramped. Downsizing generally means having significantly less storage space. That means you’ll need to eliminate unneeded possessions and buy less when you go shopping. You can save space by using furniture with built-in storage and digitizing important documents, photos and even your music collection. Even if you prefer the greater simplicity and organization of a smaller space, it will still take time to get used to the change.
Even though most efforts at downsizing do mean less storage space, it is not always the case. I just helped a client downsize from the home they had been in for forty years. We found a condo which had a large storage room (complete with cedar closet) which is perfect for their kayaks and other camping equipment and holiday decorations plus an extra bin which is perfect for their bikes. The client is ecstatic!
Thinking of Downsizing? Is It Right for You Now?
Moving to a smaller home is an excellent way to simplify and organize your life. Downsizing is also a major adjustment. Before you make the decision to find a smaller home, think about the many ways in which your life would change—and consider how you and other members of your family would feel about your new lifestyle. If you decide that downsizing is right for you, it can be the beginning of a rewarding new life.