In the United States, residents have traditionally viewed larger homes as positive status symbols. These homes have indicated wealth and luxury.
If you live in a large home though, you may quickly discover your living situation has many drawbacks. Plenty of space means having room for anything you want, but extra room is not always good.
The added space may only encourage you to accumulate more possessions you do not need. Additionally, maintaining a larger home than you need wastes money that you may prefer to save. It may be easier to save if you lived in an apartment or condominium instead.
Other reasons for downsizing do exist, such as receiving a job offer that requires you to move. The location you move to may have an expensive housing market. When houses the size of your current home are out of your price range, downsizing is the only option.
Even if downsizing is not required, it is still beneficial. Learning about the benefits of downsizing can help you decide if this is your best option.
What is downsizing?
The primary definition of downsizing is moving into a smaller space than the one in which you currently live. Downsizing involves reducing the number of possessions you own to compensate for this compression of space.
Moving from a two-bedroom home to a one-bedroom home requires you to sell a set of bedroom furniture. It is sometimes possible to move into a smaller space without purging possessions. You may choose to downsize due to financial difficulties.
A downturn in the local housing market commonly makes downsizing a necessity. Alternatively, you may downsize voluntarily as a lifestyle choice to remove clutter or for budget purposes.
If you opt to downsize, you join the many Americans who desire smaller spaces. This trend is especially common in certain areas of the country. In popular U.S. cities, living space is difficult to find.
Often, larger homes in those areas are expensive or impossible to find as well. Willingness to live in a small apartment or home opens more housing options to you, especially if you are on a tight budget and if you move to a popular area.
Why might someone consider downsizing?
You may wonder why downsizing is popular. People have many reasons for wanting to downsize, and your decision is ultimately dictated by what you need in terms of price point and living space.
Everyone has different priorities. If you are considering the idea of downsizing, it is likely at least one of the following factors is at the forefront of your mind:
- Saving Money – Downsizing saves money in several different ways. It decreases your mortgage or rent payment significantly, though reductions in rent or mortgage size depend on where your new home is located. A smaller home in your current town costs less, but one in another area may not. You greatly reduce the cost of heating or air conditioning when you move into a smaller space in any location. Even the amount of money you spend on cleaning supplies is lower when you have a smaller home to clean.
- Saving Time – When you have a large home, going from one room to another takes time. When you live in a one-story home or small apartment, you do not have far to travel to get to any room. Living in a two or three-story home extends the time it takes to walk through your home. It increases the time and effort necessary to keep the home neat and orderly as well.
- Living Comfortably – Downsizing often offers a more comfortable living experience. You may have less storage space, but you gain easier access to the possessions you own. A smaller space feels cozier and more secure than a large, relatively empty house.
- Having Limited Options – You may consider downsizing if you feel you are out of options. Switching jobs sometimes forces you to relocate to an area where only smaller homes are available in your price range. Alternatively, you may need a smaller home due to a divorce or another change in family dynamic or financial status.
Learn About Deciding When You Might Want to Downsize
The decision to downsize is one you must make based on your individual circumstances. It is not the ideal decision for everyone, nor is it the ideal decision in every situation. If you have a large family, a large home makes sense.
Young children and pets often need plenty of space to play and grow. It makes sense to stay in a larger home when no smaller homes you like are available in your desired area. It is equally important to consider the current housing market. If the market is not in your favor, selling your home to downsize may not make financial sense.
Experiencing a lifestyle change often signifies it is a good time to downsize. Retirement is a popular time to consider such a change. When you retire, selling your home and downsizing has several key benefits. Selling your home once you reach retirement:
- Allows you to move to a desired area.
- Helps you live in a home that suits your medical needs better.
- Provides you with more money to help you enjoy your retirement.
- Removes the burden of maintaining a large empty home after your children are grown.
- Decreases the need to do expensive or physically challenging property maintenance.
When deciding if you want to downsize, take time to consider your attachment to your current home. Sentimental attachment to your home often prevents you from moving even if you believe downsizing is in your best interest.
This attachment is stronger if you are not the first generation to own the home. If you still have family members living with you, you all maintain the property together, and it makes sense to stay in these circumstances.
When family members are gone or unable to assist you, downsizing eases your financial burden and it eliminates the need for time-consuming property maintenance.
Your health must factor into your decision as well. An older family home may not offer the comfort and safety of a modern living space.