Downsizing Series — Week 6
The thought of downsizing usually brings a negative connotation with it. Something we “have to do” or are forced to do at some point in life. I totally disagree with this way of looking at downsizing. I think the concept should be embraced and even celebrated because sometimes in life less is more.
Here’s the perfect 6-week series, Downsizing Can Be the Right Move for You — 5 Steps to Make it a Smooth Transition, to help you determine whether you’ll be ready for such a move in the near future or much later on. Plus you’ll learn what strategies can make the downsizing process less stressful and a more productive and positive experience.
Today’s article is the last one of my Downsizing Series. I hope you’ve discovered that not only less can be more but your life in a smaller home doesn’t have to feel like a loss — it can be a gain of more opportunities, more financial freedom, and so much more.
There’s no reason you can’t “Dream Big” when going smaller with a home!
This time dreaming big isn’t about the size of the home, rather it’s capitalizing on what can be the most manageable and affordable home and the most ideal location for your life in the coming years.
Your downsized home can be the “best next home” if it fits most of your needs and wants for the lifestyle you expect to have with this move.
There’s always some give and take or compromise, especially if you want to stay on budget. But first, figure out how you see yourself living and go from there.
No matter the type of move, all homebuyers should go through some self-reflection and ask themselves questions about the life they want to live in their next home.
When you’re downsizing, this move could be the start of a new chapter of your life and could require you to look ahead with completely different goals than you have had before. Going smaller in size will feel different than past moves but it will make you really focus on your criteria for a home.
Don’t feel overwhelmed with this process since I can work with you on determining your needs and wants in your next home. Your answers will point us in the right direction and eliminate homes that don’t fit your criteria.
Plus, I can provide some guidance on your potential profit on the sale of your current home so that gives us additional information when it comes to your budget for your next home and life you want to live.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to help you get the best home possible for this next chapter:
Be Strategic About Location and Home Type
- Make a list of certain amenities you are seeking in a location and home. Here’s where the answers to your wants and needs can come into play.
Do you want something more pedestrian friendly that’s close to shops and restaurants, near mass transportation, a one-story floor plan to avoid stairs, a room for guests, a small patio or yard to enjoy being outside?
Or perhaps you want to finally get rid of all the lawn care equipment and have no lawn maintenance whatsoever!?
Also consider if you’d rather have a smaller home in the same or nearby neighborhood to keep your community ties. Or do you want to make a big move to be closer to family members? What about living near others your age if you’re nearing retirement?
There are no right answers to these questions. It’s all about having clarity about what YOU want in this next phase of life. You’ve got a blank canvas to create whatever you want!
- Are you ready for a new adventure and love the idea of starting over in new surroundings? Is there a place you have always dreamed of living in “someday” and that “someday” is now? Here’s where you can dream big about location and perhaps the proceeds from selling your current home can make it happen!
- Understand location can dictate the type of home you can afford. Knowing your budget and preferred location will determine if you can afford a smaller single-family home, a townhome, or a condo unit in that area. And keep in mind you might want to find a jurisdiction with lower property taxes if you’re on a fixed budget. Or, a condo unit with lower owner fees.
However, even if money may be tight or you want to be more frugal, be careful if you plan to “bargain shop” — you may end up being disappointed in the location and the amenities.
Satisfy Your Emotional Needs
- Don’t forget what makes you happy at home. Just because you are going smaller doesn’t mean you have to give up what makes a home enjoyable. Think about those activities or amenities that bring you joy.
Is it important to live with your pet or furry friends? Do you like to entertain and want enough space for visitors? Does the gardener in you need a small yard or even a lot in a nearby community garden spot? Do you need a room or space for an art studio or perhaps a crafts/hobby area?
- Don’t ignore having pride of ownership or being afraid to lose the prestige of your current larger home. Going from a very large home to a small condo apartment may be too much of a leap for some people.
That’s when a smaller ranch style home that is still a single-family home may be a better match. Or, a more luxurious condo building with special features can be more appealing to make up for the smaller size.
Remember that a smaller home doesn’t mean you can’t have what’s important to you.
Keep Expenses In Mind
- Costs can start to add up when you’re moving on this scale. It’s important to stay on top of costs and your budget when downsizing. The type of move usually needs additional professional services for packing, decluttering, estate sales, etc.
- The profit from your current home’s sale will most likely influence your next home and lifestyle in the years ahead so use it wisely. You may need to use some of your profit toward purchasing your next home. Or you might need to use extra funds to help finance your living expenses or other costs in your new home.
Before you sell your current home, we can estimate the potential sales price and profit to help determine what is feasible budget-wise for your next home. It’s important to know where you are headed and what that might look like financially before selling your current home.
- Understand the costs of living in a condominium community. If you’re moving to a condo unit for the first time, make sure you know the total cost of living there such as owner fees and other requirements. You’ll also have to follow certain HOA rules.
A Step Forward, Not Backwards!
Think of the downsizing process as a step forward to a new beginning and not going backwards.
Remember you are moving to a home that will be more manageable for you and the life you want to live — whether that’s a home with less square footage, less land (or yard work!), in a different location or allows you to lower your cost of living.
Together we can make sure you’re focused on your own goals and match them to your “best next home” for your life ahead.
Please reach out to me if downsizing will be your next move, even if it’s a few years from now. The earlier we can map out a plan and discuss possibilities and options for you on your next home and potential budget the better!
I hope you have enjoyed my six-week Downsizing Series — it’s a great overview of what to expect from start to finish. Keep the series for future reference if you think downsizing is your next move, or pass the series on to someone you know who plans to downsize sooner.
I'm Beth Little and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
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Northville, MI 48167
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