We spend the majority of our working years striving for more – a bigger house, a better car, and a bigger retirement fund. We enjoy the physical fruits of our labor and a large home for our families. Yet, there comes a time for most of us after our children have moved out (and often have children of their own) when our home feels a little empty or a little big, and we think about downsizing.
Downsizing is something many people resist, but it’s often one of the best decisions someone can make. Some of the benefits are:
- Reduce your expenses – a smaller home naturally costs less to maintain and run
- New lease on life – we often get stuck in a rut, doing the same things in the same places, but downsizing gives you a chance to start over, even if it’s just a few miles away from your current home!
- Live in a more convenient location – you could move closer to the center of town or closer to your favorite amenities so you can leave the house more often or be within easy commuting distance of your family and friends
- You can create a home just for you – leaving behind the family home is always difficult emotionally, but downsizing gives you a chance to create a home that is solely yours (or you and your partner’s)
- Only have rooms you use – your current home likely has extra bedrooms and family rooms you never use or only use once a year for special occasions, but still require year-round cleaning!
- You can free up some equity – if your current home will sell for more than your new home, you can keep the equity to boost your monthly income or make your new home more convenient for you
- Go through your things and decide what you’ll keep – this aspect of downsizing is usually something people do not enjoy, but there are advantages to going through all your possessions and deciding what to keep. Many of us tuck memories away in cupboards or the attic and forget them, but downsizing allows you to find them and display them in your new home.
- Think about how your home can be more convenient for you – downsizing often feels like a downgrade, but think about how much easier your life will be when you only have rooms in your house you’ll actually use regularly. Consider how you’re using your home now when you look at potential new properties.
- Consider what you want to maintain – for some, a garden is an absolute necessity for their quality of life, but for others, it’s just a burden. Think about the hobbies you love (or have loved in the past) and find a home that offers you a manageable way to continue or get back into that hobby, and doesn’t have too many extra amenities you’ll need to maintain.
- Decide what you want to afford – Do you want to be mortgage free? How much can you afford for your bills? If your budget is feeling a little stretched thin in your current home, think about what kind of expenses would make you more comfortable and look for a home that can match those expenses.
- Consider a single-story home – if you’ve always lived in a two-story home, you’ll likely resist this, but a single-story home is so practical that you’d almost be crazy to consider a home that isn’t when you’re downsizing later in life. If you can’t or won’t live in a single-story home, consider setting aside some money so you can have a stairlift installed, should you need it.
- Location, location, location – Many people think of moving closer to town or family is so you can be less mobile should you need to be, or be “looked after” by your family, and while yes, both are possible when you’re close to town and/or your family, also remember that being close to others ensures you’ll never be isolated. Being close to others doesn’t mean you have to be less active, but being miles away from town and/or everyone you know and love will make it difficult to have a social life.
- Start decluttering now – Once you have decided to downsize, begin decluttering. There is a good rule that if you haven’t used something in over a year you probably don’t need it. Another is: if in doubt, throw it out. Remember, you can always gift or sell items that have value. Consider donating anything else that has life left in it as it can help someone in need.
- Digitize anything you want to keep but don’t have space for – Digitizing memorabilia like photos, newspaper cuttings, kids’ drawings, letters, and the like can save a lot of space and make them easier to sort and display. There are companies who can do that for you.
- Be positive but it’s okay to morn – Downsizing is not often easy. There are a lot of emotions involved in selling your family home and going elsewhere. Not least, downsizing can feel like an admission of aging, something none of us like to dwell on. Remember why you are doing it and that it is not an admission of failure but a smart move that will improve your quality of life. If you find something that makes you feel sad about someone who has since passed or a missed opportunity, feel those feelings now and move on – you’ll feel so much lighter when you get to your new home!
- Keep moving forward, but don’t rush – It’s important to keep moving forward when you’ve decided to downsize, but don’t rush into it. Do your research, spend time exploring local areas where you want to move to, and think about what you really want and need from your home.
Downsizing can seem daunting if your home is in disrepair, has been on the market for some time, or is full of things you aren’t sure what to do with. We buy homes in as-is condition in Massachusetts and can allow you to move on with your life as soon as possible. We’ll never ask you to do repairs and in many cases, you can just take the furniture you want with you and leave everything you don’t. To find out more or to get our best cash offer on your home, click here.