Downsizing Your Home to Save Money and Space

Senior Couple Standing Outside Home

Have you outgrown the need for such a large home? Are you asking,“should I move into a smaller house?” Downsizing a home can save money, help empty nesters or seniors manage their home easier, or just help you live a simpler life without the burden of home maintenance. Downsizing your house can offer more freedom and less responsibility but there are some things to consider depending on your needs and your personal situation.

Here are six tips on downsizing to a smaller home:

Less house means you save money 

Mortgage interest rates are still extremely low. So, it may be a great time to make a move. Purchasing a less expensive home may mean saving hundreds of dollars each month on your mortgage payment. Moving to a smaller and less expensive home can also save you a significant amount of money on property taxes and costs associated with maintaining your home. Utility bills may also turn out to cost less since you are not heating and/or cooling as much space. Home maintenance is more affordable in general, due to simple things like smaller lawns and overall square footage.

For convenience

Choosing a smaller home, townhome or condo might very well save you money on your monthly payments or utility bills; however, some people, especially aging senior citizens, are much more interested in the sheer convenience of downsizing. The money you save on your house payment or other bills can easily be allocated to living association fees, providing you with the convenience of lawn, snow removal, trash and repair services, or even community pools and gyms. 

Lifestyle change

As your last child heads out of the house (or had long ago) you may find yourself left with a home that is too large and maybe even too expensive for your new lifestyle. The downsizing lifestyle is nothing new but it's gained more interest in recent years with stories of people living "off-the-grid" or more people choosing to buy or even building "tiny houses".

Pocket the equity to fund your lifestyle

Downsizing to a smaller home is often a wise decision for empty nesters. With extra time and maybe a little more disposable income available, those long overdue vacations or mid-life crises don't have to wait. With property values rising throughout the United States, your home may be worth much more than you originally paid for it. Home prices have gone up 7% nationally in the past year alone. Selling your current home could earn you a substantial profit that can be spent elsewhere.

Plan ahead, thinking easily accessible everything

Last but not least, consider what may happen in the future -- as you age at home. Many seniors prefer homes that are one level. This way there are no stairs to worry about should mobility issues come into play. It also helps eliminate unnecessary slips, trips, and falls. Even if it doesn’t pertain to your physical condition, it could affect your spouse or friends. Not to mention, it’s just a nuisance to climb stairs and maintain an incredible amount of space as you age.

Stay put and renovate

According to the AARP, older homeowners overwhelmingly prefer to age in place, which means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. For those empty nesters who are not willing to give up their home filled with memories, home renovation is a healthy decision. Modifications may (eventually) include a wheelchair ramp, wider doorways, bathroom grab bars (near toilets and tubs), or even lower countertops. Though it can be more costly, homeowners can take advantage of high property values and a cash-out refinance to help. Medicare or private insurance may cover the cost of medical equipment that’s installed in the home, but (generally) neither pay for the actual home remodel projects.

Keep in mind, the National Association of Home Builders has a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist designation for contractors who help homeowners remodel to accommodate elderly loved ones. You can contact a CAPS professional to get advice on modifications, plan a renovation and find qualified contractors. 

Don't forget to ask yourself these questions

If you’re feeling young at heart and are unsure of the right time to downsize, ask yourself these six questions, as provided by Bankrate:

  1. Is home maintenance overwhelming?
  2. Are you having trouble moving around the home?
  3. Are you retired?
  4. Is it harder to find things?
  5. Are you feeling lonely in your large home?
  6. Is your home (and its monthly bills) becoming unaffordable? 

Remember, the best thing you can do to prepare for a healthy and enjoyable retirement is to plan ahead. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to make a decision, making a move or renovation far more difficult. When you’re ready to discuss financial options, let the salary-based mortgage consultants guide you through new home loan options or cash-out refinance programs. We’re here for you throughout every stage of homeownership.