Deciding When to Downsize

April 26, 2018

Downsizing is a bad word for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be. We prefer to think of it as ‘rightsizing’ instead—creating a living situation that’s the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Houses aren’t one-size-fits-all, after all. Your wants and needs will look very different depending on your age, income, life stage, health, schedule — the list goes on and on. And that’s a good thing. It gives you the power to choose the right-sized house for your life, no matter what your life may look like.

So is right now the right time to downsize? If you’re thinking about downsizing, ask yourself these five questions first.

1. Does my current home still meet my wants and needs?

A house that you bought for a young family of five might be too big for a retired couple of empty-nesters. A house close to all the best schools for your little ones might no longer be in your dream neighbourhood now that your kids are grown up. A house you built to fulfill your dream of running a bed and breakfast might have too many bedrooms and bathrooms for someone who realizes they don’t like to entertain houseguests after all. Your life is ever-changing, and with it changes your wants and needs. What made sense 10 years, 10 months, or 10 minutes ago might not make sense now. In that case, it might be time to find a new home that meets today’s wants and needs.

2. How much space do I really need?

Homeowners find themselves with more space than they need for plenty of reasons. Maybe you bought a house for your young family years ago and your kids have all moved out. Maybe you bought a house that gave you room to grow and you decided not to grow after all. Or maybe you finally sold your massive Beanie Baby collection and reclaimed your basement. Whatever the reason, you might find that you don’t need quite as many bedrooms or bathrooms or square feet anymore. If that’s the case, think critically about how much space you actually need to be comfortable. It’s possible (probable, even) that you can quite happily maintain your quality of life in a much smaller space.

3. Do I want to save on housing costs?

There’s no question that housing costs can be one of the biggest expenses in a household budget. Between mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance, a house can take a big bite out of your bank account — and generally, the bigger the house, the bigger the cost. Downsizing to a smaller home (whether that means a house, townhouse, condo, or one of those tiny houses you see on TV) can ultimately save you a lot of money: a smaller home typically means a smaller mortgage, a lower annual property assessment, and a smaller space to power, heat, and maintain.

4. How much maintenance and upkeep do I want to do on a house?

We’ve all been there — you buy a house with a big backyard, thinking of all the BBQs you’re going to have. Or a house with five bedrooms across three floors, thinking about all the privacy everyone will get. Whatever it is, chances are your home has features you thought were charming and fun when you first moved in. But nowadays, all you get is a cold chill when you even look at a lawnmower, and each floor of your house has its own laundry pile because you are tired of having to haul it all the way downstairs. Houses are a lot of work, and some houses become more work than they’re worth. If you’d rather spend your time doing (literally) anything other than housework and home maintenance, it might be time to downsize to a space that’s less work.

5. Have I had a major life change recently?

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us when we least expect it, but sometimes those curveballs are anticipated and welcomed. When we’re faced with a big change, whether it’s a change in job status, relationship, or household makeup, we might be tempted to stay in a home that no longer meets our wants or needs, all because it’s familiar. Why add a move into the mix if you don’t have to, right? But a major life change is the perfect opportunity to look at your home and re-evaluate if it’s still the right fit for your life as it is right now.

Deciding to downsize is a big decision, and ultimately, only you can say if the time is right. But once you’ve made the tough choice to find a smaller home, you might find that your real work has just begun. At that point, you’ll need to start thinking about preparing to sell your home and find a new one.

Luckily, Broder Homes has you covered. Stay tuned as we share more blog posts that will help you prepare to downsize your home.

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