When is the Right Time to Downsize?

The best time to downsize your home is before it becomes necessary – for financial or physical reasons. It’s always better to stay in control and ahead of the curve when possible, so if you see yourself in any of the following scenarios, it may be time to start searching for smaller, senior-friendly, more affordable housing.  Remember though, downsizing is not just for seniors – it’s a great choice for people of all ages looking to lighten their load and adopt a 21st-century lifestyle unburdened by the expenses and responsibilities associated with a large home. 

Reasons You Might Want to Downsize

1. You’re feeling overwhelmed by home maintenance responsibilities

Ask yourself if there is not something you’d rather be doing than mowing the lawn and pulling weeds on a Saturday morning.  Yard maintenance and snow shoveling is not for everyone and sometimes, the chores that come with owning a large piece of property can monopolize all your free time.

2. You would like to retire, but mortgage debt is keeping you working

Downsizing to either reduce or eliminate your mortgage debt is a great way to help finance travel and other leisure activities at any stage of life.  You’ve probably waited a long time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue different passions. Don’t let your monthly housing costs cripple your budget.

3. Those stairs seem steeper than they used to

Think about this one while you’re still in good shape and able to bound up and down the stairs without breaking a sweat.  As much as we all would like to deny it, our bodies will age, and the small tasks of everyday living will become more challenging.  So, be kind to yourself and think about trading in that expansive colonial for a single-floor condo before those stairs become hazardous to your health.

4. Your don’t actually need all that space

If you have more than one unused room in your house, or if you and your partner end up calling each other on your cell phones to figure out which room you’re in, then it may be time to downsize to a smaller home.

5. You’re away more often than you’re home 

What’s the point of the extra carrying costs associated with a large home if you’re hardly every there?  You enjoy travel and spending time in warm climates or visiting your children and grandchildren. Think of all the money you could save by eliminating the outsized expenses that go with a big house.  Invest in a condo or retirement size home that will serve as home base as you continue to knock off all the items on your bucket list.


Do the Math Before You Decide

Before jumping to any sudden decisions, make sure that you have run the numbers and are confident that downsizing makes financial sense for you and your family.  This is particularly important if financial concerns are your primary reason for considering downsizing in the first place. The Squared Away Blog published by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College offers an online calculator to help determine the cost savings, if any, in downsizing in your specific situation.  The calculator (http://squaredaway.bc.edu/calculators/move-or-stay-put) takes into account details such as moving costs, taxes, impact on your savings, fix-up costs, etc. and is a great tool to assist in what amounts to a life-changing decision for most of us. 

If you do decide that it’s time to downsize, make sure it’s your own decision – consistent with your financial situation and lifestyle preferences.  If you end up saving money each month (as is likely), or realizing a large financial gain following the sale of your home, consider re-investing some of that savings into an addy property. You’ll still be a proud property owner, but without the hassles and hard work. 

You are never too young or too old to invest and buying shares in an addy property is a great way to put that savings back to work for you.  After all, you’ve got a lot of living left to do!


Homeownership, without the hassle of homeownership:


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