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If your current house is feeling too large, expensive, or high-maintenance, downsizing has probably crossed your mind.
Visions of fewer obligations, less stress, and reduced expenses can be tempting. If you think downsizing to a smaller home may be on the horizon, there are several critical things to take into account before making this major life transition. Doing your homework and preparing in advance can save you money, time, and headaches down the road.
Read on for some important considerations and smart tips for downsizing.
Let’s face it: moving is a pain.
The cleaning, packing and preparations, changing of addresses, setting up and canceling utilities—you know the drill. You can make the chore less burdensome by setting a moving date well in advance, noting to-do tasks on a calendar, and cleaning and packing in increments. And be sure to perform thorough due diligence so you can make the best home choice when you downsize. The last thing most people want to do is go through the daunting task of moving multiple times.
Don’t expect to find a ‘perfect’ place to live.
That upscale oceanfront condo may seem fabulous until you find that your noisy neighbors regularly host raucous late-night parties. No matter where you live, there will be good things and less appealing things about it. Establish your priorities upfront. Decide what aspects are deal-breakers and what you can live with.
You may find more free time.
If home maintenance isn’t your thing, there’s something to be said for a smaller dwelling. You’ll probably have to spend less time on upkeep, and depending upon the type of residence you choose, the outdoor maintenance may even be included. If you’re considering a move to a senior living community, housekeeping services, meal preparation, and transportation may also be available.
Consider the overall financial picture.
Depending upon where you move, you may very well find a great new home with a lower cost of living. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll save money by downsizing. High-end condominiums and townhomes can be pricey, and you may wind up paying a small fortune in recurring condo fees. When you’re calculating expected savings, consider taxes, utilities, and maintenance, too. Don’t forget to include things like larger utility bills for air conditioning if you’re moving to a hot climate, whether the property taxes are higher in your new location, and if seeing your loved ones will now require plane fare.
You’ll need a plan for your precious ‘stuff’.
Most Americans have a lot of possessions. Getting rid of all those things you’ve collected over the years can be emotionally challenging. Don’t assume that your children will want your stuff, either. Studies show that millennials and Gen Xers prefer minimal furnishings that suit their mobile, disposable lifestyles. Gifting items to other family members or friends, or donating to your favorite charity, are good ways to repurpose useful things that you no longer need. Obtain receipts when making charitable donations so you’ll have them for tax time.
Will you be close enough to what matters?
If you’re considering a move to a faraway location, give careful thought to your social circle, including your friends and other family members. Loneliness is a common problem for Americans, and it becomes even more commonplace with age. Living in proximity to loved ones has definite value. Access to other important facets of your lifestyle, such as health care, religious organizations, clubs, and favorite shopping and dining establishments, should also be evaluated.
Consider your privacy needs.
How important are solitude and “me time” are to you and your partner? Some homeowners who have moved to smaller homes report feeling cramped because there’s less space in which to maneuver. It’s also harder to enjoy quiet time when needed because less square footage means there are fewer options for privacy.
Don’t put your lifestyle preferences on the back burner.
Will moving to this your new home require a major shift in the way you do things and how you enjoy spending your time? If you’re an avid gardener, for example, a high-rise condo with no green space may not be the best choice for you. Make a list of those features that are must-haves and those that are nice-to-have as you assess your potential new home.
Look to the future.
How long do you anticipate living in your new home? If you expect to live there for the long term, is it suited to a senior lifestyle? Your needs at 50 are likely to be much different than they will be at 80. Eyesight and hearing may become impaired. The stairs you climb easily now may be impossible when you’re older, so carefully evaluate accessibility and practicality if you’re planning to make it your long-term residence.
With the right preparations in place, downsizing your home can be a life-enhancing adventure. To make the most of your move, please contact our helpful team of professionals.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for industry-leading reliability and an exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.