Thinking of Downsizing Your Home? Here Are Three Big Pros and Cons.
Different homeowners at different stages of their lives have different housing needs. A young, growing family, for example, probably needs a larger house than a single person or retired couple. If your need for a large home has passed, you might be thinking about downsizing.
It’s not an easy decision. If you have adult children who have moved out, perhaps you enjoy having space for them when they come to visit. Maybe it’s hard to separate yourself from the nostalgia you feel from raising a family in the home you’ve loved for years.
If you’re thinking of downsizing your home, you must weigh a number of factors. Here are three big pros and cons.
- Smaller homes cost less
This is just common sense. If you have a good deal of equity in a large home, you can probably save on your monthly housing costs by selling it and buying a smaller one. If you have enough equity and buy an inexpensive enough home, you might even be able to pay cash for your downsized digs.
But it’s not just the price of the home that’s cheaper. Smaller homes also tend to have lower property taxes, lower insurance costs, and even lower maintenance costs.
- Smaller homes are less work
It might be tempting to move into a maintenance-free condo when you’re downsizing, but even if you move into a smaller single-family home, it’s likely to be less work.
Outdoors, smaller lawns, decks, or flower beds require less labor to maintain than larger ones. There is less house to pressure wash or paint. In the interior of the house, a smaller footprint means less area to clean and usually fewer windows to wash. Smaller homes tend to require less work overall.
- You get to reboot
Downsizing is a big step, but you could think of it as a kind of reboot or redesign of your life. Whatever your reasons were for staying in a large house, those reasons were dictating part of your life.
Downsizing might mean being able to pick an area you’d rather live in. It might mean not needing five televisions in your home or having to worry about enough parking or how long your commute to work is. A move to a smaller home can be a fresh start.
- You have less space
Obviously, moving to a smaller place means you’ll have less space. That might appeal to you in many ways, but it can be an inconvenience at times, too.
If you have out-of-town family, a smaller home might mean they can’t stay with you when they visit. A smaller home likely will mean less storage, so if you have things that are important enough to keep – family heirlooms, a hobby, important collections – you might have to find alternative storage options.
- It’s hard work to move
If you’ve lived in a large home for an extended period of time, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the years. Downsizing means going through it all and probably purging some of it.
There might be sentimental aspects to parting with your belongings, but cleaning, sorting, maybe having a garage sale, packing, and moving can also be physically hard work.
- You might miss things you don’t realize now
Of course, a smaller house means less room to entertain and less storage space, but there could be other less-obvious aspects of larger-house living you might miss.
If you’re a gourmet, cooking in a smaller kitchen might feel uncomfortable. Maybe you’ll miss having morning coffee on your big porch or patio. Even smaller bathrooms and closets can make you feel cramped. It’s important to think about day-to-day living in a smaller home, too.
The bottom line
Downsizing to a smaller home is a big decision. Contemplating the three largest pros and cons might make it a little easier to make.