Preparing to Downsize

People move down for all kinds of reasons, but the most common is financial. If you’ve made the choice to trade your place in for less space, you may think dealing with less square footage will be the biggest change. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are several things you need to know about moving down. 

You might need to downsize your furniture, too.

What’s one of the first things we say when we tour a new home: “Our furniture would fit perfectly in here.” But if you’re downsizing, that might not be the case. You may have fewer rooms to furnish, and the proportions of the rooms you do have may be smaller. 

If you’re looking for a smaller place for financial reasons, you’re probably not keen on spending money on new furniture. Be sure to measure your large pieces and take those measurements with you when touring homes. If it comes down to a couple of homes you’re considering, maybe the one with the larger living room that can accommodate your sectional gets the edge.

You may have to compromise less with new construction.

New homes today are built to feel more open and maximize storage. If you’re worried about going smaller, look to new construction. 

Your bills may go down.

If you’re trying to save money, the fact that a smaller home will presumably not only cost you less for your mortgage but also your ongoing bills is great news. If you can get a handle on how much your utilities will be (This is a good thing to ask your real estate agent, who can then reach out to the seller’s agent), you might even be able to use the presumed savings to boost your buying power…or to sock money away every month.

You may also save time.

Less square footage means less to clean and maintain! If you also have a smaller outdoor area, mowing and yard work will also be easier, allowing you to spend that leftover time pursuing other activities and interests. 

You may have some tough decisions to make.

City or suburbs. Attached or single-family. Long commute or not. When your homebuying plans are dictated by budget, the decision-making process can be challenging. Written pro-con lists can be tremendously helpful in helping you sort out your feelings. But make sure to be brutally honest with yourself. If you’re leaning toward a move to the suburbs and you’ve written off how grueling a long commute can be, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Other people may have to compromise, too.

“No room for guests: Hosting a huge holiday dinner might be out of the question in a smaller home,” said The Balance. “Out-of-town guests might need to stay at a hotel when they come to visit.”

There may be a mourning period.

People often tend to embrace the IDEA of moving down before they really embrace the reality. The idea of less square footage might be acceptable if it saves you money…but the reality of less space often feels like a loss.

It’s OK to see it that way. Anytime there’s a big life change, we need time to adjust. Give yourself time to mourn the loss of the home you’re leaving. It may make the transition easier.

See the upside.  

“While your home lifestyle varies from your neighbors, many homeowners agree that smaller homes enable the family to bond and work together as opposed to large and spread out floor plan homes,” said Freshome. “Smaller homes create an environment where family members and roommates get organized and can compromise over living arrangements, sharing closets, and making a small home feel cozy instead of cramped. Instead of looking at a smaller home as a down-grade, look at it as a way to a happier domicile.


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