When you first began looking for a place of your own, you considered the cost of living, rental payments, and basic home amenities. As your family grew, you needed additional bedrooms and bathrooms, maybe a large backyard or finished basement.
Now that you have an empty nest, you may be thinking about downsizing. You don’t need so much space, and it would definitely be less home maintenance – or would it? Here’s a bit of food for thought from Ryan Homes at Brunswick Crossing when you consider buying a new home:
How much can I realistically sell my home for? Prospective millennial buyers rule the housing market, and every market is different based on location and inventory, so the final number may surprise you. Talk to a real estate professional about how to sell your home for the highest value possible, and you most likely have a good chunk of equity on it.
What are the total costs of my new home? Many people who downsize consider renting as a viable option to avoid paying transaction expenses like closing costs and agent commission. Others chose a smaller home because it typically costs less in mortgage payments, general maintenance, home insurance, and utilities.
No matter which option you chose, compare your current monthly costs to what they may be in the new area. Here are a few questions to ask:
Can you budget for rental and/or homeowners association dues?
Are there parking fees in the new area?
Is there a different climate that will affect your energy bill?
What’s the annual cost of living in each area?
What's the difference in property taxes?
How far away are you? You’ve spent a good portion of your life cultivating friendships and familial relationships, so it’s important to consider the distance between you and your loved ones when downsizing. Thankfully, if you move far away, there are nifty apps to keep you in touch like FaceTime and Skype.
Do you feel safer? “A safer environment where there’s people around,” said Donna Quinn, a New York-based seniors real estate specialist, can outweigh additional financial costs. It’s important that you feel social and supported in the community if you chose to move when downsizing.
What’s nearby? This could be a big transition. You suddenly have a lot of time on your hands to pick up a hobby like gardening, volunteering, or golf. However, make sure fun options are available outside of your new home. Choose a destination with restaurants, a movie theater, shopping, trails and walkways, sports courts, and more. Indulging in these social activities is a huge part of downsizing.
Are you ready to give up all of that “stuff?” There’s something to be said for purging your home of unnecessary “things.” When you downsize, it’s a time to clean out your home of everything that can’t come with you. (Though, you can always use a storage unit for precious family inheritances.)
Downsizing means organizing and revitalizing your new home. You can also save money on moving costs while potentially earning cash by selling your “stuff” at yard sales, on eBay or Craigslist, or in pawn shops. You’re simplifying your space, a mirror image of how you’ll be living life.
The less-is-more lifestyle is a huge trend with the older population of homeowners, and there’s every reason to consider downsizing when you’re an empty nester. It’s worth looking at because the cost of living could be more affordable in a nicer area, and you'll potentially spend less on home upkeep and upgrade to a more leisurely active lifestyle.