When does less become more? It happens gradually, as we age. What we begin to realize is that the less you have, the less you need to pay for and the less you need to take care of. When you finally decide to downsize, although the decision sounds simple, there is much to consider before you put your home on the market.
Nany Kupka, in a recent edition of RISMedia’s Housecall, offers several factors to be considered before deciding to sell your home (Getting Ready to Downsize? Factors to Consider).
- FINANCES – Depending where you live or where you expect to relocate, it may not be financially possible. For example, if you live in a spacious home in the Midwest and you wish to move to a smaller property with a waterfront view, there is a possibility you will not make as much money selling your present home to afford a lovely cottage by the ocean. In such cases, you might need outside financing. If you are fortunate enough to make enough money to pay for your new home, additional fees, such as HOA dues and higher property taxes may exceed your budget. Know just what you will be able to afford before you make the move.
- FAMILY SIZE – As your children grow and leave for college or a new career, you may think you will not need as much room any longer. However, there is always the possibility that one (or more) of your children might come back. A 2016 study from the Pew Research Center found that 15% of millennials were living in their parents’ home. That number is nearly double that of 1964. The looming college debt and higher cost of living may not only bring your child home to live, he or she may also come with a partner or spouse.
- LOCATION – When you decide where to move, you should think about whether you may wish to travel and/or be easily accessible to family and friends, especially if you have grandchildren you wish to be near. Also, consider the community into which you plan to move. Does it have houses of worship, public transportation and community centers offering events and classes that pique your interests? If you are moving to a planned or gated community, will any restrictions impose a hardship on you?
- LAYOUT OF THE HOME – While the ideal home usually consists of two floors, the first for “living” the second for “sleeping”, going up and down stairs may seem a small inconvenience. However, as one ages, it might become a major difficulty. The author suggests that if you decide to get a home with two levels, choose one that also has a bathroom on the lower level if your bedroom and bathroom are on the upper level. Other things to consider include easy access to the outdoors, parking and washer and dryer.
- WHAT YOU WILL TAKE WITH YOU – If your present home is where you raised your family, you will most likely have many treasured family keepsakes. At this point, you will have to decide what you must take and what you can leave behind. Of course, take along cherished family photos, but do you really need that lanyard your daughter made at camp when she was eight?
Finally, you need to understand that if your new lifestyle doesn’t really suit your needs, you can always move again.