Home Tip Tuesday: Tips on Downsizing

Take time to plan out the major changes of downsizing.

Empty nesters, retirees and free spirits may have one surprising thing in common—the desire to downsize. Downsizing can be stressful and a little scary, but for many the result is more freedom, more money and a more peaceful life. You can reduce the stress associated with moving into a smaller abode by taking the time to plan out the major changes associated with downsizing.

Will Your Cost of Living Really be Less?
Don’t assume less square footage automatically means more money in your pocket. Whether you’re moving across country or just across town your expenses will change. A tiny house in a chic neighborhood can cost as much or more as a home in a typical family suburb. Factor in the cost of transportation, taxes, utilities, maintenance and everyday expenses before making a final decision.

What Can You Live Without?
Surprisingly, many people fail to realize how little storage a smaller home provides. Start making decisions about which belongings you can live without and which you can’t before you invest in a new property. If you absolutely can’t imagine life without Grandma’s matching china hutch, buffet, extra-large dining set, piles of antique table linens and complete service for twenty-four, downsizing may not really be for you. Storage options such as a rental locker or onsite shed may provide a reasonable compromise, but ultimately downsizing means living with fewer possessions.

Shrink Your Technology
Few people can do without a home computer and all the extra equipment that goes with it.  You can stay online and in touch by streamlining your home technology. Choose a laptop and Wi-Fi printer instead of desk-top models to eliminate the need for dedicated office space. If movie night at home is your favorite form of entertainment don’t worry, you don’t have to give up that big-screen TV, just trade it in for a wall-mounted model to save space in your new smaller home.

What's the Upside to Downsizing?
There’s no rule that says you must downsize when you reach a certain age or your family gets smaller. If trading your current home for a smaller one doesn’t offer advantages, why do it? Take an honest accounting of the goals you hope downsizing will help you achieve. If you’re looking for a simpler life with less time spent cleaning house and maintaining a large property, “moving on down” might be a great fit. However, hiring a housekeeper and a landscaping company might also be a solution. If your main goal is financial it could be smarter to rent out one or two of the rooms in your current house or build a small “granny unit” in the backyard and use it as income property.  Talk over your plans with a real estate professional, investment planner and your family before making any final decisions.

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