Downsizing Decisions: Knowing When You’re Ready For A Smaller Home

house-435618_1280As time goes on, you may find that the home you've lived in for many years no longer fits your budget or your lifestyle. Loss of job, retirement or other life circumstance can highlight the disadvantages of living in a home with rooms you don't use and high maintenance needs. Here are a few signs that indicate it may be time to move into a smaller home:

Maintenance Is Too Physically Demanding

Everyday housekeeping tasks can become physically demanding as the years pass. Large homes means you must clean rooms that are seldom used, tend landscaping needs and make repairs on a regular basis. These tasks become more difficult as owners advance in age and can require hiring people, which can put a strain on household budgets.

Maintaining the Property Costs Too Much

Depending on the age of the home, a large home can mean constant maintenance that eats into your budget. Roof repair, gutter cleaning, even changing light bulbs in a room with a high ceiling, can require calling in a repairman or handyman to do the job. These costs can add up quickly and can be a source of annoyance and frustration when you are trying to budget your money.  A smaller home allows you to take care of some of these tasks yourself, so that you can use the money for entertainment, travel or hobbies.

You'd Rather Be Travelling

If you and your partner enjoy taking to the open road for long periods of time, leaving a large home behind can be a concern. An empty home can mean security and safety problems that can cause worry when you are away from home. If you would rather be travelling, but are concerned about your property while you are away, it may be time to consider moving to a townhouse or apartment that can be monitored by neighbors.

Your Large Property Encourages Clutter

If you find yourself rifling through items that you saved to find something, it may indicate that you have too much space, and it is causing you to save unnecessary items simply because you can. In many cases, grown children store seldom-used items at the family home, which causes increasing clutter that becomes an annoyance, and sometimes a hazard. The move to a smaller home would necessitate getting rid of these extra items, either by having children take them away or by selling or donating them.

Energy Costs Are Too High

Large homes incur significant costs in heating and cooling. Climate control can add up to thousands of dollars each year. This energy use affects not only your household budget, but also the health of the planet. News about the greater availability of energy efficient properties emphasis the lower annual costs and greater sustainability for the health of the planet. A smaller, more energy-efficient home can help you to save money and energy.

You'd Rather Be Engaging in Favorite Hobbies

A large home with expansive property can cause you to miss more time on the golf course, on the tennis courts or at the beach. Housekeeping, doing maintenance tasks or even overseeing work done by contractors can take time away from these enjoyable activities. The responsibility of a large home may be taking too much time away from things you would rather be doing.

Managing the Large Property Causes Constant Stress

If you spend the night worrying about taking care of your property, worrying about buying a new roof, become frustrated about caring for your large lawn or otherwise experience constant stress about the demands of keeping up the property, it may be time to think about downsizing to smaller, more manageable housing. A home should enhance your enjoyment of life. When it becomes a source of stress and worry, you should think about changing the situation so that you can spend your time and energy on other pursuits.

The Equity in Your Current Home Would Improve Your Finances

If you have been in the same home for a number of years, you may have a significant amount of equity in it that could be better used to improve the quality of your life. You could spend more time travelling to see grandchildren, seeing foreign lands or other activities. Carrying the larger real estate tax burden and insurance costs don't make sense after your family is grown and moved away. A smaller home can provide the same comfort and provide a better standard of living.

The decision to leave the family home and move to more manageable housing is not an easy one, but it can provide many benefits that make life easier and more enjoyable.

Sean Ryan works in property and has had first-hand experience of dealing with a downsizing move. He likes to share his insights online and contributes regularly for a number of property websites.

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