Your living space can say a lot about you, but over the years, your home might not keep up with you as you change. From the rising cost of repairs to an excess of guest rooms, your life can follow a course you didn’t anticipate. When your house no longer fits your needs, it could be time to move on.
Each person’s situation and decision is unique, but there are several signs to indicate the ideal circumstances for downsizing. The following guide can help you figure out if it’s time to reduce your housing and relocate to a better place for you. If you resonate with these points, you have support for your choice to downsize.
1. You’re Comfortable Decluttering
Many people have extra room to keep ornate furniture and store an assortment of clothing. Whether you’re holding onto memories or special collections, it’s tough to give up things you’ve had for years.
Large spaces allow you to accumulate a wide range of belongings, and when these items are forgotten or left to take up space, you might realize you’re storing unwanted goods. If you’re willing to pass on a number of your possessions and live more simply, you’re ready for a smaller house.
When you have less space to fill with items, your consumption levels will decrease. Parting with belongings is difficult, but you can make it through the decluttering process if you recognize that you need to let go.
2. You’re Overspending on Housing
Maybe you were expecting a raise, so you purchased your dream townhouse, but it never came. Perhaps you could afford your trendy bungalow three years ago, but you started a different job and your income shifted. There are plenty of possibilities why your housing — including insurance, interest, property taxes and mortgage — is now requiring too much of your paycheck.
However, a well-proportioned budget typically uses 30 percent of your income, and when your housing goes beyond that amount, it can create problems and limit your options. Downsizing your home can increase your cash flow and give you more balanced finances. Although relocating can include some expenses and alter your cost of living, the right place can complement your budget over time.
3. Your Upkeep Is Out of Control
Owning a home means you have to invest in the place through ongoing maintenance. Some people buy houses that drain their bank accounts due to repairs, especially if the structure is older. It’s important to decide how much maintenance will cause you to downsize your home.
If you spend more than 1 to 3 percent on house upkeep each year, like replacing appliances or fixtures, refinishing cabinets and repainting, you could be sinking money into your property. You can consider moving to a smaller but more valuable house that’s lower maintenance.
4. Your Lifestyle Is Changing
As individuals enter new phases in life, their habits can cease to match their living area. Retirees may want to tackle the challenge of a fixer-upper, or they might opt for a basic place because they’re too busy taking trips. Maybe you need to tend to medical bills or economize to pay off debts. Despite the stage you’re in, you can benefit from accommodating a different way of life.
When behaviors switch, it’s wise to adjust along with them. Embrace downsizing to meet the current conditions of your situation. You can have greater flexibility to travel and an appropriate degree of comfort with a modest place.
5. You Have Unused Space
Vacant portions of your home can offer places to retreat to or additional storage, but if they’re not regularly in use, they can be a source of waste. Unoccupied areas can take up unnecessary electricity and heating or cooling, while reduced square footage can save you energy and money. You can get rid of unused space and spend the funds on more worthwhile indulgences, like dining or entertainment.
Empty-nesters may want to consolidate rather than keeping a spacious four-bedroom place. If you’re not going to repurpose your daughter or son’s room, why not move into a one- or two-bedroom house instead?
Looking to Downsize Your Home?
As you consider trading in your house for a smaller version, think over what an optimal living space would be for you. What needs and desires do you have right now? Downsizing your home might just be the best financial decision you can make, especially if you’re dealing with space to spare
Holly Welles is the editor of The Estate Update and writes home improvement pieces to help readers figure out what to do with their living spaces. You can find more of her advice by following her on Twitter @HollyAWelles.