Is Downsizing Your House The Right Move For You Now?

Downsizing your house, couple with moving boxes.

Downsizing your house can come at any stage of your life. Many people consider downsizing when they become empty nesters or have trouble maneuvering their big old house. We hear a lot about the popularity of tiny houses too. The thought of downsizing is not an age-specific thought anymore.

Before you can downsize your house, you must think through many options.

If there is a safety issue that may prevent you from easily moving around your home, you need not look any further for a reason to make a move. It is best to make a move before you are forced to make one and cannot take your time to make the right decision.

Another reason can be that you just don’t use all the rooms in your home. This could be because your kids have graduated and moved out on their own, or your needs have changed,  and you no longer need a home office, workshop, or other spaces that you may have.

Sometimes a downsize is necessary for financial reasons. The expenses for your home may be high due to utility costs, upkeep, or even increasing taxes. You may have had an adjustment in your income that no longer affords you the extra income required to maintain your home.

You need to write a pros and cons list to determine whether you are ready to make this move. 

Downsizing Pros:

  • You will have less upkeep in a smaller home.
  • Bills for utilities, maintenance, and taxes may be lower.
  • You will save time by having less to maintain.
  • Your quality of life will improve.
  • The new home may be better suited for your needs.
  • You may have more free time for travel.
  • Aging in place is possible with the right choice of home.
  • You can relocate closer to family or friends.

Downsizing Cons:

  • You can’t find a home in your desired area.
  • Uncertain whether you can live in a smaller place.
  • Can’t find the right floorplan to accommodate your needs.
  • Not enough storage for the things you want to keep.

Before you make a final decision, I suggest you look at the available options to replace your current home. You may be looking for a single-family home, a townhouse or condominium, or even a retirement community. Do you want a place that provides exterior maintenance such as grass cutting and snow removal?

Some things to think about when looking for the right new home are:

  • Which floor plans are the right size for you?
  • Do you need one bedroom and one bath, or something bigger?
  • Will you need a kitchenette or a full-sized kitchen?
  • Is a balcony or patio space important to you?
  • What views would you prefer from your new home?
  • Do you need a washer/dryer in your home, or will a shared laundry be suitable?
  • Would you like to be close to the community activity or further out?
  • Do you want to be in a walkable community?
  • Is additional storage space needed?
  • Will you need a parking space?
  • Do you want/need to customize your residence in any way?
  • Will you need space for visitors, or is there a guest room available on-site?

When looking at a new home, you need to be sure you understand the total expenses required to live there and sell your home. These expenses may include:

  • Preparing your home for sale.
  • Moving expenses
  • Homeowner’s insurance and property taxes for a new home.
  • Homeowner’s association fee, if any.
  • Purchasing new items for the new home.
  • Modifications to the new home.
  • Storage unit, if needed.

Once you have decided that downsizing your house is the right move for you, you must start the sorting and packing process. 

Be sure to allow plenty of time to accomplish the move.

This can be a difficult process for many, especially if you have been in your home for a long time.

The first step is sorting through your belongings and determining what you want to take with you. 

The things you do not want to take with you can be passed to loved ones, sold, donated, or trashed. The easiest way to work through this process is one room at a time. Set a realistic timeline to sort through the entire house and break that down into daily goals to go through each room one by one. You will find different methods for decluttering in this article.

To determine what you want to keep and move to your new home, you will need to know the square footage of the house and the dimensions of the rooms, if possible. Ask if there is an available floor plan for the home. If not, you may want to measure the rooms yourself to know what will fit.

Another consideration is determining if the items you want to take with you will fit your new lifestyle. 

If you do not have a formal living room, you may not want to take the traditional pieces that aren’t comfortable for everyday use. If you plan to travel more, do you need to keep every small kitchen appliance you own when you aren’t home to cook?

It is helpful to set ground rules for your declutter. 

If you are going through your clothes and have not worn anything in a couple of years, it might be a good idea to get rid of them. Paring down is often tricky, but it is necessary to move to a smaller space.

Sentimental items are the hardest to part with for many people. 

Offer them to family members or friends who may also have a sentimental attachment to the item. If there is no one interested in taking the things and you can not take them with you, take photos of the items to look back at the pictures when you want to reminisce. You can create a memory book of your home as a keepsake.

You can sell items you decide you do not want to take with you.

Many online sites are great for reselling items. If you have a considerable amount, you may hire someone to handle an estate/moving sale for you. You can also do it yourself with a good old-fashioned garage sale. If things do not sell, donate them to an organization that can use them.

Sometimes you can repurpose items for different use in your new home.

Do you have a dresser you love that will not fit in a bedroom space? Can you use it as hallway decor and create extra storage for hats and gloves? In addition, you can make special clothing items into quilts, pillows, or stuffed animals.

Bringing in some help may be necessary. 

You may have family or friends who are willing to help. If not, some companies that specialize in organizing often offer services to people moving. They may also have some great resources for you to sell or donate items, along with packing tips. This blog post will provide you with some good advice for packing and moving.

Most importantly, you need to pace yourself. 

You will not be able to do it all in one day. Some rooms will take less time than others. You will want to have this decluttering done before putting your home on the market, so work with your real estate professional to determine a realistic timeline.

Prepare yourself for the emotions of downsizing your house. 

You will experience many emotions as you work through this process. Some of the things that may pop up are:

  • Memories
  • Fear of the Unknown
  • Stress
  • Family Pressure
  • Overwhelm

As these emotions start to sink in, remember you are making this move to change your life positively. No matter why you have decided to make this move, you have decided now is the right time. Once you are moved in and enjoying your new home, these emotions will subside.

If you consider downsizing your house, I’d be happy to consult with you to determine if this is the right move for you.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I have helped many people downsize their existing homes. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

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