How Do You Know It’s Time To Downsize Your Home? + Tips To Prepare

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Downsizing your home can feel like a huge decision, especially if you have lived in your current home for a significant amount of time. While downsizing can be an emotional experience, oftentimes it is the best decision to make when you reach a certain phase of life. Whether you have just retired or you are a new empty-nester after dropping your youngest off at college, it could be wise to consider downsizing. How do you know it’s time to downsize your home? We’ve compiled 5 major signs to look out for that show it’s about time to live on a smaller scale. Keep reading even further for tips on how to prepare for this exciting new change!

1. Monthly Housing Expenses are Too High

The standard number for how much of your monthly budget should be spent on home expenses is 30%. If you notice that your monthly housing expenses surpass that 30% mark, it’s probably time to consider downsizing your home. Of course, there are exceptions to everything. For instance, if you are just over that 30% mark, but a national circumstance is currently affecting how much you’re paying, it could be worth it to wait it out and keep your eye on expenses over the next few months. However, in most cases, when you fly above that 30%, it’s a sure sign that you are spending too much on your current home.  If you live in a city like Toronto, this can be a problem.  If you own a home, then you’ll experience the boon of appreciation but usually that’ll come with higher taxes and expenses.

It is worth noting that expenses do come with moving. While downsizing will save you loads of money in the long run, you’ll still need to prepare for the upfront costs that come with moving into a new home. With that said, if you are considering downsizing in retirement, it may be a good idea to begin the process while you are still working.

2. It Becomes Difficult to Maintain Your Current Home

This sign is one of the easiest to point out. Are you noticing that your upstairs guest bath is never as clean as you want it to be? Are the hedges by the back patio consistently unruly? These may be signs that your home is too large to maintain, and it may be time for a downsize.

When it comes to timing, this one is crucial to catch sooner rather than later. It’s tempting to hold off on moving out of a place that holds so many memories, but the longer you leave spaces unmaintained, the lower the home value will be when it is time to sell.

3. You Have Very Little Budget Outside of Home Expenses

Where is the fun in retiring if you don’t have the finances outside of home expenses to truly enjoy it? If you notice that most of your budget is going toward home costs rather than taking trips or having fun days out with the family, it may be time to rethink your space.

This is simple to prepare for as well. If you are in your last few years of working before retirement and notice that you are spending most of your income on home expenses, that’ll only get more restricted once you hit retirement. Take advantage of the flowing income you have while working to go ahead and downsize, or you may find yourself in a tight spot later on.

4. Your Home No Longer Suits Your Lifestyle

When the kids are all moved out, your once-perfectly-sized home can start to feel a bit too big. What was once a haven for blanket forts and movie nights for your kids and all their friends now seems to be more of a cobwebbed storage room that collects dust. Not only can you outgrow the size of your home, but you can also outgrow some of its features.

Once you get to a certain phase of life, you’ll only use a handful of rooms in the home on a regular basis. There’s no need to pay for heating, cooling, or electricity for rooms you never go in. And there is certainly no need to worry about maintaining spaces you don’t need. When you notice that many of the features in your home are going for months without being touched, it’s probably wise to look at downsizing.  Maybe consider a condo.

We all have big dreams for the use of our home, especially when it comes to family. It’s exciting to think about having a place for future grandkids to come stay the night or having room to throw annual get-togethers. However, think realistically about how long you’ll be able to handle the upkeep of a home that size and consider the absolute necessities of your space.

5. You No Longer Have a Connection to Where You Live

The last sign to watch out for is not having a connection to the city you live in. Your home was once a 10-minute commute to your job and was a quick hop over to your kids’ school, but when you’re retired, and the kids have moved states, what is really tying you down there?

Retirement is one of the only phases of life where you can truly live wherever you want without worrying about getting to work. Look into cities where you have always wanted to live and search for smaller homes there. Move out closer to where your family is at the moment so you can spend more time with the grandkids. If you are noticing that a majority of the reasons you decided to move to your current location are not relevant anymore, adjust your location to fit your current needs.

BONUS: Tips For Preparing to Downsize

Downsizing isn’t just a one-and-done process; it can take months or even years of preparation. Don’t get intimidated, though! There are a lot of small-scale tasks you can accomplish to prepare for downsizing – here are just a few of them.

Clear Out Some Things Before The Move

Whether you want to donate some belongings to a charitable organization or sell them on Facebook Marketplace, it’s wise to start this process in advance. When preparing to downsize, it’s important to ensure that you are only moving the things you need. Clearing out unnecessary things beforehand can make the move one hundred times easier on you.

One of the best ways to do this is to take a photo of every room in the house. Not only will this be fun to look back on, but you’ll also be able to tell what stands out to you in each photo, which will guide you on what to keep. In the wise words of Marie Kondo, if it doesn’t spark joy, it’s got to go!

Take A Break on Buying New Things

This may be more difficult for some than others, but if you consider yourself a big spender, you’ll want to put some limitations on your purchases when preparing to downsize. No, we aren’t trying to take all the fun out of shopping; we simply recommend this for two reasons.

The first reason is that the more things you buy, the more clutter you acquire. When you’re downsizing, it’s hard enough getting rid of things without adding new ones to the pile. Resist the temptation to buy new decor or trinkets before you’ve cleared out everything else.

Only Keep Things That Have a Dedicated Space in Your New Home

In regard to furniture, you may have to dwindle your supply when downsizing. After all, the ideal downsized living room should not have 3 couches and a recliner smashed into it. Consider the rooms you will have in your new home and only bring furniture with you that will fit into those rooms. Try your best to avoid the “we’ll find a place for it” mentality unless the specific piece of furniture has a lot of significance.

Is It Time To Downsize My House?

We hope this article has given you some things to think about when considering downsizing. Remember that each individual and family is different, so one person’s bungalow could be another one’s mansion. Avoid comparing your home size to others and truly consider what is best for your situation. While the process can be emotional, downsizing can relieve financial, spacial, and physical stress, and in the long run, it is sure to help you enjoy your new season of life to the fullest!