5 Signs It's Time to Downsize Your Home

By: , Contributor

Published on: Sep 24, 2019 | Updated on: Dec 01, 2019

Retaining a larger property doesn’t always make sense. Here’s when to scale back.

There are lots of benefits to having a large home, and in some cases, it can be a smart investment.

Having more space means you won’t feel cramped if your family expands or when guests stay for days on end. But it generally costs more money to live in a larger home than a smaller one, so there may come a point when it makes sense to give up some square footage. Here are a few signs that you ought to consider downsizing.

1. You're struggling to keep up with maintenance

It takes time and money to maintain a home, and the larger your living space, the more work it entails. If you have a hard time affording maintenance or don’t have the bandwidth to deal with upkeep, unloading some square footage could make sense.

Furthermore, it costs more money to heat and cool a larger home than a smaller one. So downsizing is a great way to lower your utility expenses and pocket more cash for yourself.

2. Your children have moved out

Having a large home makes sense when you have children living under your roof. But once those kids become adults and move out, your need for more room may no longer exist.

This especially holds true if your grown children live relatively close by and won’t be using their old bedrooms for overnight lodging when they visit.

3. You're not using all of your space

Maybe you liked the idea of a second living room and office on the ground floor when you moved in. But if you find that there’s a lot of space in your home that never or rarely gets used, it may be time to consider downsizing.

After all, what’s the point of paying for rooms you don’t set foot in?

4. You're retiring

Many seniors choose to downsize once they retire and no longer have the money or desire to live large. Unless you’re planning to work in some capacity during your golden years, you’ll be forced onto a fixed income.

At that point, you may be better off downsizing. You'll spend less on housing rather than having your home eat up a large chunk of your limited income.

5. You're having trouble physically navigating your home

As you age, you might struggle to climb stairs or walk the longer hallways in a larger home. Similarly, if you have a medical condition that makes it hard to get around, you may find that a larger home is more of a burden than a convenience.

If that’s the case, it doesn’t pay to keep a large property when you can sell your home and move to a smaller space.

Weigh your options

Let’s be clear: Downsizing doesn’t always mean lowering your housing costs. For example, if you trade in a 3,000-square-foot home in a suburb for a 1,000-square-foot apartment in a major city, you may pay more for the smaller space due to its location and nearby amenities. But most of the time, you'll save money if you downsize from a larger home to a smaller one within the same neighborhood.

Money doesn’t have to be the only factor that guides your decision. If you enjoy living in a larger home, there’s value in that, too. But if the above circumstances apply to you, downsizing can not only save you some money, but also, in many ways, make your life easier.

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