Should You Downsize? Let’s Look at the Pros and Cons.
Have you ever considered downsizing – or buying a smaller house? People downsize their homes for many reasons, but often it’s for the cost-savings aspect. Homeowners whose children have moved out or who have retired sometimes find themselves in spaces too big – and opt to find a smaller place. Others are looking to simplify their lives and save money. Whatever the reason, there are pretty clear advantages and disadvantages to downsizing your home.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of downsizing your current home in each of these categories. Depending on your reasons for making this move, you might realize the cost (emotionally or financially) just isn’t worth it. Or you might find you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of a simpler, less expensive life.
Pro: You’re About to Save a Lot of Money (Probably)
The advantage of downsizing here is pretty straightforward: Your smaller home will almost certainly cost less than what you’ll sell your current home for, which offers plenty of leftover equity. If your home isn’t currently paid off, your new mortgage payments will also be lower. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of lower living costs almost immediately.
Pro: Energy Savings Are Coming
It makes sense, right? A smaller home will cost less to light, heat, and cool. In addition to enjoying lower monthly mortgage payments (if you don’t pay the new house off outright), you’ll be delighted by lower energy bills.
Con: Moving is Expensive!
Now, there is a disadvantage here – and that’s the cost of moving. Maybe it’s been decades since you last moved, so I’ll just remind you: Moving is expensive. There are always hidden costs, and you might need to put some money into your new home right away.
Pro: Less Home = Less Home Maintenance
You’ll spend less time on house upkeep now that your total square footage is smaller. Consider not just significant projects (plumbing repairs to multiple bathrooms, updating the flooring in larger spaces) but the day-to-day work. Vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and tidying will take much less time.
Pro: You Have the Opportunity to Downsize Your Belongings, Too.
To prepare for your smaller house, you’re going to get to go all Marie Kondo on your clothes, books, DVDs, furniture, artwork, and all your odds and ends. You’re going to be living a simpler life by default since you’ll have no place to put everything. Take advantage of this by selling items you’re parting with to turn junk into cash.
Con: You Need to Downsize Your Belongings, Too.
Yes, this one can be both a pro and a con depending on the type of person you are. If you love collecting furniture and creating different house areas, a smaller house will feel stifling. If you have a sentimental attachment to several belongings, you’ll have trouble parting with them. And if you’re a fashion collector, you run the risk of turning every nook and cabinet into a makeshift closet.
Con: Where Are You Going to Put Everything?
Even if you’re thrilled to part with belongings that have been collecting dust or taking up space for years, you are going to be dealing with a problem in your smaller house. There will be far fewer storage spaces for the items you don’t need year-round: Holiday decorations, warm or cold weather clothes, spare bedding or towels… the list goes on. Space will be at a premium, so you might struggle to find a place for everything in the new house.
Pro: If Togetherness is a Priority, You’re in Luck!
Smaller homes can be transformed to feel cozy and inviting in a way larger spaces just can’t. If entertaining small groups is your thing, you’ll love how intimate a smaller living area can feel. Your family can also enjoy spending more time together in communal living areas.
Con: If Togetherness Ain’t your Thing, This Might Be a Problem
Conversely, smaller houses can feel cramped if you’re used to larger, open areas. You and your family won’t be able to spread out as easily when the shared living spaces are smaller. People in your household might feel like they don’t have their own space to relax, and entertaining crowds might be downright impossible.
Con: The Adjustment Is Real
Moving isn’t just financially draining. Living in a new house in a new neighborhood with new neighbors and amenities can be stressful and emotionally draining. Keep in mind that you’ll have an adjustment period where you might doubt your decision or wish you were back in your old house. You might have a hard time letting go of the home you raised your family in, lived for years, and made memories. Don’t discount this when making plans to downsize.
So… Should I Downsize?
Ultimately, you have to make the choice that is right for you and your family. If you’re retiring or empty nesting, a smaller house might be perfect for your current lifestyle. If you’re looking to simplify your life – fewer belongings, less unused space, bigger financial gains – then downsizing is the way to go. Consider all the pros and cons before making your decision to make sure a smaller house is right for you.