Whether it’s because of retirement, kids leaving home, a drop in income, divorce or other life events, it sometimes makes financial sense to find a smaller, more economical place to live.
Whatever the reason, it takes a shift in thinking to consider moving into a smaller home. It can be a hard decision, with some stress, anxiety and even fear – but don’t let your emotions make the final decision. Review these benefits, potential drawbacks and strategies to downsizing, and then make a plan. In our experience, most homeowners who make the leap to a smaller home are ultimately very happy with their new life.
Trading down means changing a lifestyle, especially for long-term homeowners, and some people are resistant to change. There is a certain comfort level in staying with the familiar – but keeping things comfortable and familiar is not always the smartest course of action.
If you’re reluctant to downsize, think about the things that make you hesitate. Write them down. If you’re making this decision with a partner, do this exercise together. Then discuss your challenges and decide if they are legitimate obstacles or not.
Getting rid of your stuff
Moving to a smaller home means you must sell, give away or throw out furniture, books, kitchen supplies, holiday decorations and a little bit of everything. You’ll have to sort through and empty out the garage, basement, and attic. For some people, their emotional attachment to “stuff” is hard to overcome.
If you can start early and systematically getting rid of some things, it will make the entire process easier – for everyone. You may feel reluctant at first, but you’ll eventually feel liberated. So, make a plan – and be methodical.
You may not be able to host a huge family holiday at your new home. There are ways to work around this – someone else in the family can take responsibility for hosting, or everyone can still gather at your place but then spend the night at a nearby hotel.
Sometimes it’s hard to give up the impressive image of a big home. If you really think about this one, it becomes less important. Being smart with your money and making good financial decisions is prestigious in its own right.
Increased cash flow
If you're spending less on your mortgage payment, you’re going to have more money left over every month for other needs, desires or fun stuff. You can also invest more in your retirement funds.
Fewer rooms, smaller spaces and smaller lawns cut down on the time spent to clean and maintain your home. You’ll have more hours in the day to do something else more enjoyable!
Lower utility bills
Everything’s cheaper with a smaller home, include the costs to heat or cool, light the rooms and water the lawn.
You’re less likely to buy stuff you don’t really want or need if there’s no place to put it. That’s not only good for your budget but ultimately for the planet.
Less responsibility, smaller workload, increased cash flow and greater flexibility – added together, these all work together to reduce stress. Homeowners who have successfully downsized are usually happier when they're no longer overwhelmed by the demands of a larger home.
The effects of the current real estate market
Whether it's a seller’s market or buyer’s market, it doesn’t make a huge difference when downsizing because you’re on both sides of the market. But one could argue that downsizing in a seller's market would be ideal because you’re selling a big place, which may mean more cash on hand after closing. Your Caliber Loan Consultant can help you run some numbers, and your real estate agent can advise you on home prices for your current home and the smaller homes you’re interested in buying.
The best of both worlds would be to sell in a seller's market and buy elsewhere in a buyer's market. Either way, a seller could end up owning a free-and-clear smaller home.
Should you sell first and then buy, or buy first and then sell? This is a common dilemma facing a homeowner who’s looking to move.
Generally, it's better to sell your existing home before buying a new home. This keeps your emotions in check, which is especially important when downsizing.
But some markets will dictate that it's better to buy before you sell. Discuss this strategy with your real estate agent and your Caliber loan consultant.
Looking back on your life, do you remember the anxiety you felt whenever you started something brand new, something that caused your life to change dramatically?
Whether it was starting college, moving to a new city or having kids, you knew everything was about to be different – and it was a little scary. Anything worthwhile or important is going to be somewhat stressful and challenging, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
If you review these strategies and make a plan, you’ll minimize the stress. And that should make it easier emotionally too. Think about this: making a big change and starting a new phase can inject energy and excitement into your life.
So make a plan – and then make the leap!
Update the information below to estimate your monthly payment
Private Mortgage Insurance typically costs between 0.5% to 1% of the entire loan amount over 80% LTV on an annual basis.
Monthly Principal & Interests : $1145.80
Monthly Real Estate Taxes : $316.67
Monthly Insurance : $66.67
Monthly PMI : $0.00
Total Monthly Payments : $1529.13
Loan To Value Ratio : 80.00%
Months With PMI : 0 months