As we navigate through life, the choices we make can have a profound effect on how our life plays out. While we do the best we can to anticipate the future, we cannot possibly know everything about what the future holds. We can be doing everything right our whole lives—eating healthy, exercising, enriching our hearts and minds with positive messaging through books or meditation. Then, one day, while we’re driving along, we don’t see another car speeding through a traffic light that slams directly into our driver’s side door, leaving us paralyzed from the waist down. That’s a pretty grim circumstance to talk about, but it does happen to people.

What is downsizing?

Downsizing is essentially moving into a smaller home than you had previously lived in. One major implication of downsizing is that you now have less space to store your belongings that you’ve accumulated, perhaps, over the past few decades. This can be extremely challenging and stressful.

When is the right time to downsize?

Not everyone is going to have the same reasons for downsizing their home. Perhaps all of your children are fully grown, have families of their own, and have their own places that they call home. If this situation applies to you, it would make sense for you to downsize your home because you may not need the empty space that your loved ones once used.

Another circumstance people sometimes find themselves in is their financial circumstances have changed. Maybe they’ve lost their job and can longer afford to live in the same home. So, to make matters more manageable for themselves, they downsize to a more affordable place.

If you find that your mobility has decreased over the years, homes with stairs, narrow hallways, or small bathrooms may present certain challenges that you’d much rather avoid if you could. Downsizing your home could present an opportunity to live in a home with a single floor.

If you’ve retired and have grandkids that you’d like to see more often, but they live in a different state, you may be presented with another opportunity to downsize your home.

What are some advantages to downsizing?

Access to equity – Given the situation that real estate prices are currently at an all-time high, you may have an opportunity to use the situation to your advantage. If you are a homeowner, you could cash out all of the home equity when you decide to sell. And, since you’re buying a smaller home, you may end up with no mortgage whatsoever.

Lower bills – Smaller homes tend to use less energy. This means lower gas, water, and electric bills. Who doesn’t appreciate paying less?

Less maintenance – Smaller homes have less square footage which means less space. You won’t need to spend as much time cleaning and maintaining your home. If you move to a condo or an apartment, your condo association or HOA will handle outside maintenance for you.

More accessibility – When you downsize, you may have the option to choose a home that is handicap accessible. It may come in handy in the years to come.

What are the disadvantages to downsizing?

If you’re an older adult, downsizing may be a good decision for you. However, before you make that decision, consider these cons:

Home availability – If it’s a seller’s market, this means that the inventory of available homes is lower. This means that those choosing to sell their homes during this time can list their homes at much higher prices. Additionally, since there are less homes available, those that are available may sell quickly.

Adjusting to small spaces – As is the case whenever you make a change in your life, there tends to be an adjustment period. Moving to a smaller space is no exception.

Leaving memories behind – No matter the size of your home, you will always have memories of significant events throughout your life. Maybe you’re moving out of the home in which you first decided to start a family. That undoubtedly is going to take an emotional toll.

Moving costs – Moving oftentimes requires a lot of upfront costs. Hiring movers, paying for storage space, or transportation costs should be considered, so make sure you have some money in savings to cover those costs.

How to Prepare for Downsizing

If you’re ready to downsize your home, follow these steps to make the transition into a smaller living space run more smoothly.

Fix up your home – Before selling your home, you’ll want to fix any blemishes. That means fixing leaky faucets, cracks in ceilings or walls, removing stains from carpets, etc. You’ll have a better chance at selling your home if you do these things and you may even be able to boost the selling price a bit.

Declutter – Go through your possessions and discard of anything you won’t be needing in your new living space. Keep anything you use frequently and donate, sell, or give away everything else.

Limit legacy gifts – While holding on to old family heirlooms has great sentimental value, you have to ask yourself whether or not your children value these items as much as you do. If you have old photo albums, consider converting digitizing them.

Measure your furniture – One of the worst scenarios you can have when moving into a new space is having your furniture not fit. Make sure you take measurements of your furniture pieces as well as measurements of your new living spaces to ensure that everything will fit nicely.

Call us! – There are several factors that go into the process of determining how much your homeowners insurance will cost. Just because you’re moving to a smaller home doesn’t necessarily mean that your insurance for your new home will cost less. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you through the process!