If you’re considering moving into a smaller home, you may be eager to save money on mortgage payments and utilities. You might also be looking forward to spending less time and effort on interior and exterior home maintenance.
But before you begin packing up your belongings, here are a few things you might want to consider to help you choose the best one for the lifestyle you want.
1. Will this be your forever home?
Just because you’re downsizing, that does not mean you will only be considering a one-floor home. You could be looking at smaller homes with second floors, or lots of stairs.
You may still be in great health and shape, but as you age, steps often become the enemy, as climbing and descending a staircase causes pain in the back and legs. With that in mind, be realistic about the type of floor plan that best suits your future needs.
If you’re thinking this move will be your last and you’ll enjoy your retirement in this smaller space, you may want to look for a ranch, condo, or apartment that offers one-level living.
2. How much room will you need?
If you have children, even if they are in or out of college, that doesn’t mean they won’t be back to live with you at some point. Multi-generational living is on the rise. According to the Office of National Statistics, 32 percent of those in the 18 to 34 age range lived with their parents in 2017, compared with 25 percent in 1997. For men, that statistic is even higher at 37 percent. Though you may think your adult children have left the nest, they may boomerang their way back to you.
If you move to a popular destination, will you have frequent visitors? If so, do you want to open your home to them for a brief or extended stay?
These are just a couple of specific scenarios to get you thinking about the square footage you may need. If having room to accommodate adult children, grandkids, relatives, or friends is important to you, you may not want to scale back too substantially.
Of course, if you’re hoping to keep your home all to yourself, a significant downsizing should do the trick!
3. What are your storage options?
Keep in mind, if you’re downsizing, you will likely have to part with some belongings, so take an honest assessment of what you have and what of it you want to keep and bring with you.
Do you have heirloom furniture you’re not ready to part with, or large sporting equipment like jet skis or kayaks? If so, you’ll want to be sure that your next home offers a place for you to store these treasures. If it doesn’t, look into nearby storage facilities so you don’t have part with your prized possessions.
4. Will your pets be welcome?
Even if your goal is to go smaller, you’ll still want enough space to ensure your pets feel comfortable and safe.
If you have a cat or dog (or any other type of pet), you probably think of them as a four-legged family member. As you’re considering smaller spaces such as condos or apartments, make sure they’re pet-friendly. And, if your pet needs time in the great outdoors, make sure it’s allowed and that there is ample and desirable space to bring them outside.
5. Is there a sense of community?
Moving can be stressful — especially if you’re leaving behind friends, family, and neighbors you’ve known for years. Before putting down roots in a new locale, think about what your day-to-day life will be like without this close circle.
If you’re accustomed to an active social life, you’ll want to be sure your new enclave is brimming with opportunities to make new friends. Likewise, if you enjoy hobbies you’d prefer not to live without, do your due diligence so you can still enjoy the activities that bring you fulfillment.
6. What are your transportation options?
If part of your downsizing plan includes hanging up your car keys, you’ll want to explore your transportation options. From ride-sharing and community shuttles, to mass transit and air travel, know how easy or challenging it is to get around your potential new area before you move.
Taking the time to truly think about your preferences and what will make you most comfortable going forward can save you from the heartaches and headaches of having to move again.
Once you’ve made a list of must-haves, share them with your real estate agent so you’ll look at only those spaces that meet your criteria. This way your only regret will be that you didn’t downsize sooner.