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Downsizing Or Not Downsizing?

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of downsizing. We’ll dive into the implications of downsizing and what to think about before you make the final call.

Pros of Downsizing

It’s difficult to determine if downsizing is the right move, but if you’re looking to downsize, there can be some real positives for your finances and your quality of life.

“Retiring with a lower mortgage payment, property tax bill, smaller place to clean and maintain can be attractive,” – Dennis LaVoy, CFP of Telos Financial.

1. Using Downsizing to Prepare for Retirement

Many people are looking for ways to simplify their financial picture with retirement in mind. Using the profits from your home sale to purchase a smaller home with cash can change your retirement picture.

Chris Hogan outlines a fantastic example of how the math can check out:

“Juan is a single dad taking care of two kids. He’s a successful manager at his company, but money is tight. He’s worried he won’t have enough for retirement, even though he’s participating in his employer’s 401(k) plan. So, he crunched the numbers and decided to sell his home.

With the equity from the sale, he paid cash for a smaller home. Now, he’s debt-free and putting about $600 a month away for retirement. In 25 years, he could have more than $750,000 in his nest egg—and that doesn’t include the money that his employer’s 401(k) match will earn!”

2. Make Your Home Easier to Care For

Big homes are fantastic for raising children and hosting family, but as your children leave the nest, that space can turn into a nuisance to clean. Not to mention large properties mean more repair or issues you have to handle. Downsizing can mean living in a more manageable property, or you can even choose a maintenance-free property.

“If you are dealing with having to have the house painted, an overflowing toilet, frozen pipes, a leaky roof, or yard maintenance, you are essentially using energy that you could be using in other places that are more enjoyable. But for the large percentage of the people out there, that is not considered fun. It is more than a little overwhelming for most and a great reason to downsize into a more manageable and maintenance free residence.” – Junnell Realty Group

Cons of Downsizing?

1. What If You Need That Space?

“About 49 percent of pre-retirees didn’t downsize in their last move, according to a joint survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, with 30 percent of retirees actually buying bigger homes in retirement. Those who said they wanted bigger properties cited more room for family members to visit and a more desirable home, which they could not afford earlier in life, the survey found.” – Kayleigh Kulp | CNBC

If you’re a hub for your family, functioning as the go-to babysitter for your grandchildren or you love having people over than downsizing will put pressure on your new space. Sometimes keeping the more substantial home, despite the financial element can be on whole worth it.

2. The Move Will Cost You (Not How You Think)

You can get a decent idea of moving costs by visiting our Moving Resources page, but no matter what, moving is expensive. An often-overlooked element to downsizing is that your furniture may not work in your new space. 

According to HGTV, you can sometimes find yourself in a classic furniture-downsizing “Catch 22”.

“So if you have furniture that’s too large for some of your rooms — that king-sized bed may not fit comfortably in a bedroom made for a prince — you may feel obliged to get rid of the bed and buy something else…Still, if you’re spending a lot of money to replace furniture in order to save money eventually, you may start to wonder, ‘Why am I making this move again?”

3. Downsizing The Stuff You Love

Despite the potential that you may need new, home appropriate furniture, typically downsizing requires us to get rid of possessions that just won’t fit. That process can be challenging both logistically and emotionally.

As laid out by The Balance, downsizing means taking a hard look at your stuff.

“Moving to a smaller home would probably result in selling, giving away or throwing out furniture, books, and kitchen supplies. You’d have to sort through and empty out the garage, basement, and attic. Some people form emotional attachments to stuff and can’t part with any of it.”

Getting rid of stuff we don’t need is tough when we have space, but it becomes essential when you downsize. For some, that is enough for them to stay right where they are.

To Downsize or Not: What Have We Learned?

Whatever your reasons are for downsizing, it’s essential to consider every angle before making a final decision.

Here’s a quick-hit list for pro’s and con’s we’ve covered:

Pros

  1. Reduced or Eliminated Mortgage
  2. Potential Savings for Retirement
  3. Less Space to Clean or Upkeep

Cons

  1. Reduced Space for Family
  2. Unseen Moving and Furniture Cost
  3. Emotional Toll of Downsizing Your Things

There are endless reasons to downsize or not to downsize, and each situation is different. It’s essential to consult a professional when making such an important decision. Your financial planner should be able to help flush out the economic viability while real estate professionals like us over at DoorTru are happy to speak with you about your options moving forward.