Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Accessibility Menu

15 Reasons Downsizing a Home May Not Work Out Well for You

By Maurie Backman - Sep 27, 2022 at 1:08PM
Pretty single-family house with a turquoise door.

15 Reasons Downsizing a Home May Not Work Out Well for You

Beware the pitfalls of downsizing

There may come the point in your life when you start thinking about downsizing your home. Maybe you're struggling to keep up with your housing costs. Or maybe you're older and tired of having to maintain so much space. While there are definite benefits to downsizing, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Here are a few reasons why you could end up bemoaning your decision to downsize.

5 Stocks Under $49

Presented by Motley Fool Stock Advisor

We hear it over and over from investors, "I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by The Motley Fool. I'd be sitting on a gold mine!" It's true, but we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Click here to learn how you can grab a copy of "5 Growth Stocks Under $49" for FREE for a limited time only.

Previous

Next

Two people sitting apart and looking stressed.

1. You might struggle with less space

If you're used to living in a 3,000-square-foot home, you might have difficulty settling into a living space one-third the size. Not only might you feel physically cramped, but you could also have a hard time mentally sharing a smaller space with family members. And being unhappy with where you live could impact your overall outlook.

Previous

Next

A suburban street with numerous houses for sale.

2. You might have to move to a different neighborhood

You might manage to downsize to a smaller home within your neighborhood. But what if you can't? If there aren't smaller homes in town, you may need to pull your kids out of their school district and relocate to an area where it'll feel like you're starting over.

ALSO READ: 6 Tips for Picking the Perfect Neighborhood

Previous

Next

Group of people eating at a table by a decorated tree.

3. You might have a hard time hosting family gatherings

Is your home the go-to place for the holidays? Once you downsize, that might have to change. That could be a hard adjustment if you're used to hosting.

Previous

Next

A family of four smiling for the camera.

4. Your out-of-town relatives may no longer have a place to stay

If you have family members who tend to come into town and bunk with you, that option may be off the table once you downsize. That could mean not getting to see the people you care about. And if those people happen to be your adult children and grandchildren, that could deal a serious blow.

ALSO READ: 5 Reasons I Refuse to Die Before Teaching My Grandchildren About Money

Previous

Next

Basement being converted into room.

5. You might lose the chance to monetize your home

In some cases, hanging onto a larger home could mean having the option to rent out a portion of it for income. Downsizing could mean giving up the chance to rent out a finished basement or garage. So financially, you may not come out all that much ahead.

5 Stocks Under $49

Presented by Motley Fool Stock Advisor

We hear it over and over from investors, "I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by The Motley Fool. I'd be sitting on a gold mine!" It's true, but we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Click here to learn how you can grab a copy of "5 Growth Stocks Under $49" for FREE for a limited time only.

Previous

Next

People in front of a home that is for sale.

6. You might end up in a home that's tougher to sell

Smaller living spaces can sometimes be a hard sell. If you downsize and aren't happy in your new home, you could get stuck with it. Or you might take a financial hit when selling it.

Previous

Next

Group of people taking a vote by hand.

7. You might get stuck with hefty HOA fees

Although it's possible to downsize from one single-family home to another, downsizing often means moving into a townhome or condo. But that could mean paying expensive homeowners association (HOA) fees that eat into your income. Plus, your HOA could end up being too restrictive for your taste.

ALSO READ: HOA Fees: What Are They and What Is Covered

Previous

Next

Labeled moving boxes, house plants, and coffee mugs in a den.

8. You'll have to bear the cost of moving

Downsizing your home could be a means of saving money. But first, you might have to shell out a lot of money to move from one home to another. And if financial issues are prompting you to downsize, that's an up-front expense you might struggle with.

Previous

Next

A storage unit with the door halfway raised.

9. You might need to pay for storage

Once you downsize, you may not have room for all the items you've acquired through the years and wish to keep. And if you're forced to rent a storage unit, the costs could really add up. Granted, downsizing might help you assess your belongings and get rid of things you don't need -- but you might still have difficulty storing things that mean a lot to you.

ALSO READ: Why Self-Storage Real Estate Can Make Investors a Fortune

Previous

Next

Person with child on lap is working on laptop in home office.

10. You might struggle if you work from home

Many people now work from home full-time. If you're one of them, shedding square footage might make your work life more difficult. You might struggle to carve out a dedicated workspace, and you could have a hard time staring at the same few walls all day long.

5 Stocks Under $49

Presented by Motley Fool Stock Advisor

We hear it over and over from investors, "I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by The Motley Fool. I'd be sitting on a gold mine!" It's true, but we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Click here to learn how you can grab a copy of "5 Growth Stocks Under $49" for FREE for a limited time only.

Previous

Next

Person looking stressed while using a laptop.

11. You may not save as much money as expected

Many people downsize for the express purpose of saving money. But between HOA fees and other costs, you may find that you're not saving a whole lot in the course of giving up living space. If money is tight, you might manage to find different ways to save that don't require you to move.

Previous

Next

A car parked in a driveway.

12. You might spend more to access amenities

If your former home was in a walkable neighborhood and you downsize to a home in a more remote area, your transportation costs could soar. This especially holds true if you end up needing to purchase a car. In fact, what you spend there could offset the savings you reap by downsizing.

ALSO READ: Ask Yourself This Question Before Buying a Car in 2022

Previous

Next

Two people talking across a fence.

13. You might give up a lot of privacy

Downsizing could mean having less room to do your own thing without your family members looking over your shoulder. And if you downsize to a condo or townhome, it could mean having to share a wall with your neighbors or running into people every time you leave your home. If you're the type who craves privacy, that's not a good thing at all.

Previous

Next

Person looking at a laptop while wearing headphones

14. You might have to deal with noise

If you downsize to a townhome or condo, you won't just give up privacy -- you'll also potentially give up the peace and quiet you once enjoyed. You might end up sharing a wall with a family with screaming toddlers or a dog who barks early in the morning. That could seriously take a toll on your patience.

ALSO READ: 3 Surprising Costs You Could Incur After Buying a Condo

Previous

Next

A modern kitchen with recessed lighting and big open windows.

15. You might just plain miss your old home

Maybe your old home had a custom-built kitchen or a charming family room with built-in shelves you enjoyed looking at. Even if you can manage with less space and end up saving a lot of money by downsizing, you might simply come to miss your former home. This especially holds true if you lived in it for many years before moving.

5 Stocks Under $49

Presented by Motley Fool Stock Advisor

We hear it over and over from investors, "I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by The Motley Fool. I'd be sitting on a gold mine!" It's true, but we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Click here to learn how you can grab a copy of "5 Growth Stocks Under $49" for FREE for a limited time only.

Previous

Next

Brownstone facades and row houses in an iconic neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights in New York City.

Is downsizing right for you?

Downsizing to a smaller home could save money and time when you factor in less maintenance and fewer repairs. But before you rush to shed square footage, think about the drawbacks of downsizing. Ultimately, you may decide it makes more sense for you to stay put -- and if money is an issue, find other ways to cut back on expenses.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Previous

Next

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.