28 Aug Am I Ready to Downsize? 4 Questions to Ask
We love our homes and all the memories they hold, but there does come a time when the benefits of downsizing outweigh the sentiment of our home. For help making this important decision, ask yourself these 4 important “Is it time to downsize?” questions.
How much money will downsizing save me?
Saving money is one of the primary reasons to downsize. Unused space doesn’t sit there free of charge, we actually spend money on all the space in our home. The costs include routine items such as property taxes, heating, cooling, plus cleaning! Additional costs are incurred based on the size of your home for maintenance and updates such as painting, mowing, snow removal, duct cleaning, window cleaning, roofing, and carpet cleaning. Lastly, a home you are downsizing from often has older mechanical systems & appliances, which will require replacement in the near future.
How will downsizing benefit my retirement?
This is a very important questions and needs to be asked whether you are retired, heading towards retirement, or just planning in advance. Retirement usually means living on a fixed income, unexpected home repairs, escalating taxes or other unplanned expenses are sincere hardships in retirement. I would advise talking to your financial planner about how your real estate fits into your retirement planning. We often assume that downsizing will result in less expenses for housing, however that is not always the case.
When is the last time we used that room?
One of the biggest signs you’re ready to downsize is unused rooms in your house. Are there rooms you only enter to clean? If you have a formal dining room, living room, den or an entire basement that is no longer being used, it’s a good time to think about downsizing. Try counting which rooms you use more than twice a week to estimate how much square footage you’re using. The next step is to analyze if the rooms you use are being fully utilized.
- Is there extra seating in your family room?
- Do you have a cabinet in your kitchen that is only opened for a couple select dishes?
- Does your back closet have coats and shoes from grown and absent children?
- Do you know what’s in your attic?
How much time will I save in a smaller home?
The first time saver is less cleaning and small maintenance. Then depending on how you downsize there is less yard work. When my three children were younger we had them at our disposal to help with the house work. With them gone or too busy with work I have realized how much work our home takes! Things like raking leaves, mowing, shoveling, vacuuming, watering the flowers, and hanging Christmas lights are all a challenge to orchestrate around busy schedules. A smaller house makes it manageable to do things yourself and more importantly you can do it without sacrificing all your free time!
How will downsizing effect my lifestyle?
I can tell you there are pros and cons to downsizing and it’s a lifestyle change. That’s why it’s important to downsize when you are ready. Living in a smaller house not only means a massive decluttering once but living decluttered afterwards too. This may frighten those with every closet filled and can’t imagine living with less storage. Your life may call for a serious decluttering.
Other than learning to live decluttered a major reason people chose to stay in their home is family get togethers. Many are used to holding Christmas, Thanksgiving Day, and birthday parties at their home. While switching to a smaller home means more elbow brushing on special occasions the rest of your year includes less expenses, less cleaning, less yard work, and more free time. Eventually everyone has to examine the benefits of downsizing versus staying in your home, and when downsizing benefits outweigh an empty house it’s time to start looking! Remember home is where the heart is and square footage all depends on how you use it.
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