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In the past, residential downsizing was typically reserved for empty-nesters and retirees. But in today’s economic climate, the decision to scale down is becoming more and more popular among younger homeowners. In fact, some studies indicate that the average downsizer is now just 40 years old. If you’re thinking about selling your home and moving to a smaller one, here are some pluses and minuses to consider before taking the plunge.
- Reduced expenses: Probably the most obvious reason to move to a smaller home is to reap the financial benefits that come with lowering your mortgage, property taxes, and utility bills. As the cost of getting a college education continues to rise, downsizing is becoming an appealing option for younger parents, as well as for cost-conscious folks approaching retirement.
- Less cleaning and maintenance = more free time: Reduced maintenance is definitely an upside to not living large. The time, energy, and money you used to devote to cleaning and upkeep can now go toward fun things like leisure activities and spending time with family. People who downsize often feel a sense of liberation from the endless amount of chores that come with owning a larger property.
- Shorter commute: Moving into the city to be closer to work can be a real incentive for many people. Aside from the time savings, cutting down your commute will also reduce your gas expenses and the wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
- Better access to amenities: Many adults are leaving the suburbs behind and moving into townhomes, condos, or lofts in downtown areas. Not only are these homes easier to maintain, they’re also located in walkable neighborhoods that offer access to culture, dining, and nightlife.
- Peace of mind. Downsizing generally reduces monetary stress and provides more time to relax and enjoy life.
- Parting with possessions: Moving to a smaller home usually requires selling, donating, or trashing furniture, books, knick-knacks and the like, as well as decluttering the garage, attic, and basement. Many people form emotional attachments to their belongings and find it difficult to part with them.
- The inability to accommodate guests: Hosting your annual Thanksgiving dinner for 30 guests may not be possible in a smaller home. Guests who aren’t local may need to stay at a hotel when they visit if you don’t have space to accommodate them.
- Feeling cramped: Some downsizers say they feel cramped because there‘s less space in which to maneuver. It can also be challenging to find a place for private, quiet time.
- Less prestige: Moving to a smaller home goes against the ingrained notion that “bigger is better”. For homeowners who place a great deal of importance on how they are perceived by others, a smaller home may not project the image they desire.
- Not saving as much as anticipated: While expenses such as your mortgage, property taxes, and utilities will likely be reduced when you downsize, other expenses can eat into that savings. The costs associated with buying new furniture, preparing your current home for sale, commissions paid to your realtor, moving expenses, and prepping your new home all need to be considered.
If you’re considering downsizing, it’s wise to discuss your plans with someone who has actually done so themselves. They can they help you to determine if downsizing is right for you and share valuable insights to help you avoid the issues they encountered.
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