Downsizing into a smaller home has big advantages
Empty nesters feel the urge to downsize and it’s got great benefits!
Once you both have the house all to yourselves, it’s a great time to rethink your home and your lifestyle. Chances are you have more house than you really need. Consider taking the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of downsizing.
More freedom. Having less house to manage can mean less time dedicated to cleaning and maintenance. Smaller means less floor space to vacuum, less rooms to organize and less “stuff” to tidy.
Many homeowners take the opportunity to make long wished-for lifestyle changes. You can do more things you enjoy. You’re free to engage a new hobby. You can travel more, or spend time with friends. You can even pursue that dream business venture you never had time for before.
Cash flow. Downsizing your home means improving your cash flow. Experts point out that a smaller mortgage payment means money freed up for other things. You can also save on your mortgage payment by taking out a conventional loan to buy your new home. This type of loan is available if you have good credit and a steady income. If you put 20 percent down, you may be able to avoid paying for mortgage insurance, too.
Also keep in mind some of the less-obvious costs you can cut by downsizing. There are many hidden costs involved with homeownership. A smaller home saves on utilities, property taxes, homeowner association fees and insurance.
Improved quality of life. Living in a smaller home can make you happier. According to some professionals homeowners with a smaller home experience less stress. This comes from the lightened workload and lowered costs. Less energy usage means a smaller carbon footprint, so you can feel good about that, too. And having less space means more togetherness, enhancing the bond with your partner.
Another idea to consider is proximity You could walk to work, the golf course or the farmer’s market. This reduces time spent in the car, the amount of gas you burn and adds to your exercise.
Before you sell. You should take a hard look at what home improvements might boost the resale value. Your goal is to create a desirable environment. You want home shoppers to picture themselves living in the house. DIY Network suggests the following to make sure you get top dollar when you sell:
- Curb appeal: The first thing potential buyers will look at is your home’s exterior. A tidy, well-kept porch and landscaping are inviting. It makes home shoppers more interested in seeing the inside. Put out some colorful blooms, buy a new welcome mat and make sure your house numbers are clean and new looking.
- Lighten up: Home shoppers reject by dark spaces. Improve the ambiance in your home to feel light and bright. Consider adding recessed lights in the kitchen. Paint cheerful, light and neutral colors to brighten a space.
- Consider innards. A home’s cosmetics are important, but the guts of the home are something home shoppers will consider. They can also affect your appraisal. If your plumbing is ancient or your furnace is on its last legs, updates may be in order.
- Go with the flow. If there is any room that you should consider remodeling, it’s your kitchen. The remodel should focus on work space flow. Think about whether your dishwasher is next to your sink. If you need to navigate an island to get from the food prep area to the stove. A clumsy, dated and difficult kitchen area is going to turn off many home buyers.
Upsides to downsizing. Moving into a smaller home can mean big bonuses. You can enjoy more freedom, improve your cash flow and even enhance your quality of life. Prepare your old home for a successful sale and get ready to partake in the many benefits of downsizing.
Kris Louis is mom to two rambunctious boys aged 7 and 10. A former advertising copywriter, she recently created parentingwithkris.com, where she puts her skills to work writing about the trials and tribulations of parenting. Kris, her husband, and two boys live in Durham, NC.