According to AARP, for the next 18 years, baby boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day. That's a lot of American homeowners who are reaching retirement age and are starting thinking about their next phase in live. Part of that next phase may include unloading their large family homes in favor of spending their 'empty nest' years enjoying their newfound freedom.
When you think about the combination of approaching retirement and the children off on their own, what are the real advantages to downsizing?
Here are six enticing advantages to living the "Less is More" lifestyle.
Smaller House = Smaller Mortgage
Generally a smaller home can translate into a smaller monthly mortgage payment. In many cases, if you have lived in your family home for many years, and built up a sizable home equity, you may be able to cash out and purchase a new smaller, less-expensive home – even possibly eliminating a mortgage payment completely. When searching for homes on Trulia, a quick search filter allows to arrange for-sale homes by square footage to help narrow down your options quickly and easily.
Less Monthly Expenses
Downsizing your home also downsizes your monthly expenditures, too. Utilities may be smaller, taxes and insurance may be reduced, and general upkeep and maintenance on a smaller home is going to be more affordable.
Downsizing also provides a fantastic opportunity to give up the snow shovel and slap on some sunscreen. Raising your family in the cold winters of the mid west and northeast could become a distant frozen memory if you take the opportunity to move south or west to follow the year-round sunshine.
More Affordable Town
Downsizing is a great opportunity to move to a less expensive metro area. Finding a city that gives you more 'bang for your buck' is a big boom to retirees and empty nesters that will soon be adjusting to living on a fixed income. In a hot retirement market like West Palm Beach, Florida, the average sale price on a home is $127,000 and the cost of living in the area is affordable. Compare that to a family and industry-friendly metro like the Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL, where the median sales price is $335,000 and cost-of-living expenses are generally higher, and you'll see that costs can shrink in towns where affordability is in alignment with real estate prices.
Empty nesters have a bit more time for themselves. So, in the process of downsizing, you have the opportunity to relocate closer to all the new lifestyle amenities you will want to enjoy with all that newfound spare time. Is it golf, tennis, biking and other outdoor activities? Or do you prefer life in the city, with restaurants, theater, shopping and cultural activities all within walking distance? Downsizing allows you to live closer to lifestyle you want – and hopefully, you have a bit of monthly cash left over to pay all those golf tee fees!
Less Stuff = More Life
There is also something intangible about downsizing and getting rid of all that 'stuff.' Here is the wonderful added benefit to this clearing-out process: when you organize your home, you organize your life. When you create space in your home, you also create space in your life! Remember, your home is a mirror of you and how your life works, so as you simplify your home, you simplify your life. By investing the time needed to clean out and edit your possessions, you are on the road to creating a new lifestyle that not only functions better, but is easier to maintain. Talk about a win-win!
Remember, if you're deciding to move to a new town, check out Trulia Local to get a sense of how it is to live in a new area. Their natural disaster maps, crime maps, local amenities and commute maps help you get the inside scoop on a new location before you pack up to a new, smaller space.
This article originally appeared on Trulia.com
Michael Corbett is Trulia's real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC's EXTRA's Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC's The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY! Follow him on Twitter @1MichaelCorbett
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