You’ve made the decision to downsize to a smaller home. One of the first questions you’ll probably ask yourself is: “How am I going to fit all of my stuff?” But in reality, this cutback of space shouldn’t come down to how many possessions you need to purge. It’s first and foremost about the life you want to live in your new smaller space.
So, where do you start? Right here. These questions will help you take inventory. And we’re not referring solely to physical stocktaking!
What stage of life is next?
Reasons to downsize come in all shapes and…sizes. Maybe you’re an empty nester whose children have moved out and left your home feeling over-sized. Perhaps retirement is on the horizon and you’re ready to transition to a community that requires minimal upkeep. Or maybe you’re simply looking to cut costs, and are willing to part ways with square footage in return for reducing your monthly mortgage payment.
It’s important to visualize the next phase of your life, and how you plan to use your new living space. What is important to you? Will you spend a lot of time in your home, or will you travel? When you are at home, what kinds of activities will you enjoy?
Space tip: Make a list of your priorities and then think about how they impact your next home. If you travel frequently, you may require a smaller space. If you’re an avid cook, a nicely equipped kitchen is likely a must-have. If you can’t imagine a winter without reading in front of a fire, you’ll need a fireplace.
What type of setting is best?
The setting for your next home, whether urban, suburban or rural, will be a key factor in determining the type of options available and the cost. So it makes sense to consider this carefully before choosing the specific city or town. Lifestyle can vary dramatically depending on the type of environment. If access to the best healthcare or a variety of cultural events is important to you, an urban location may be best. If it’s important to be near your grown children and grandchildren, this may mean a place in the burbs. If you crave a slower pace and quieter surroundings, a rural setting may fit the bill. And these are just the beginning of questions to ask before buying a new home.
- Since urban areas tend to be expensive, your living space will likely be significantly smaller in a major city. The good news is you can probably survive without a car since you’ll also have access to public transportation and ride sharing services.
- Many suburban locations have condominium communities, either for residents of any age or retirement-focused. These are typically smaller than single-family homes, but some are fairly roomy. Plus, you won’t have to worry about maintenance.
- While a rural setting may not be as popular, housing options here are often larger and much less expensive, yet provide wide-open spaces that may be a priority for you.
Will you have overnight guests?
Do you expect to have family or friends visit and spend a night or two? Where you live will either increase or decrease the likelihood. If you’re living near family, grandkids may only spend an occasional weekend night to give mom and dad a break. If you live in a destination, like a major city or near the beach or other attractions, you may discover you have more friends and family than you realized! Also consider in advance how you want to handle these requests; some of us are consummate entertainers, while others need solitude to be at our best.
Space tip: The goal of downsizing is to maximize the use of your space, not to maximize the amount of space! So you don’t want an extra bedroom remaining largely unused. Even if you expect regular visits from family, covering the cost of a hotel may be less expensive than buying a home with an extra bedroom.
What do I need to move with me?
After deciding on the setting and lifestyle for your downsize, this next step is not so much about determining those things you want to purge, but rather deciding which things you need to keep. One of the best ways to calculate just how much space you’ll need is to take inventory of your possessions, room by room, and decide what is truly necessary for this next, more simplified stage of life. Donate, sell, throw out, or pass down the things you can undoubtedly live without. You might be amazed at how liberating having less stuff feels, especially when it saves you storage space and, ultimately money, instead of collecting dust.
Space tip: Ask yourself, Will this enhance the lifestyle I envision for myself? If it doesn’t serve a purpose for you, it probably will for someone else.
Ultimately, downsizing is about determining how you want to live in this next phase of your life, and then choosing a space to help you achieve the lifestyle that’s right for you.
Are you ready to downsize into the perfect home for you? We can help with that. Find a Home Loan Specialist today or call 1-800-700-9212.