Downsizing 101: 8 Things to Know About Buying a Smaller House

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Has your family home become too much to handle? Are your children all grown and moved out?

If so, it’s likely time to downsize. In the long-run, buying a smaller house will simplify your life. It means less upkeep, maintenance, and you’ll need fewer furnishings.

But the process of condensing your life into a few rooms and boxes can be challenging and straight-up overwhelming.

But don’t worry! We’re here to help.

These eight downsizing tips will help you part with the old and welcome the new as you begin the next chapter of your life.

Grab the packaging tape and let’s get started!

1. Be Realistic About Your Needs…

First things first. What do you need in your new home? 

Home buying can be an exciting experience – especially if you haven’t gone house shopping in a while. Your kids are grown and it’s finally your time to live the retired (or semi-retired) life you’ve always dreamed of.

But before you get ahead of yourself, stop and consider what you actually need in your new home.

Do you or your spouse have difficulty walking up and down steps? If so, a ranch-style home with a ramp to the front door might be the most practical option.

While a home with the over-sized backyard and pool might be gorgeous, is it really practical? Try to be objective about your decisions to avoid purchasing a house that’s equally as large and overwhelming as your previous one. 

2 …and Wants

On the other hand, don’t compromise your wants. As we said, this is your time. It’s okay to splurge a little, as long as it’s manageable and within reason.

Have you always dreamed of a beautiful outdoor garden? Or perhaps you and your partner love sitting outside and have always wanted a front porch.

Make a checklist of the features you need and those you want. Remember, you need to be slightly flexible and may not find everything you want in your new, smaller home. 

3. Choose a Functional Layout

Open floor plans are a common trend in both small and large homes. Having an open, spacious living space that connects the kitchen, living room, and dining rooms allow for easy-entertaining and creates a beautiful flow.

In many cases, an open floor plan also makes a smaller home appear larger. Avoid buying a house that has a formal dining room, unless you plan to use it regularly.

Instead, use this space to create a great room for welcoming friends and family. You can even utilize it as a small office or library.

4. Do You Want a Fixer-Upper?

If you’re considering buying a smaller house, chances are you’re not looking for a fixer-upper. Search for homes that are turn-key or move-in ready.

This will help reduce your stress during the moving process. It also means you can start enjoying your home immediately. 

While small household projects are fine (and might actually help you keep busy), avoid buying a house that’s too old or run-down. 

5. Storage Space

One of the biggest challenges most people face when downsizing is figuring out where to store all their stuff. From documents and keepsakes to clothing and furniture, you’ve likely accumulated quite a few belongings over the years.

If your new home doesn’t offer adequate storage like a basement or attic, consider renting a storage space. Hiring a moving company can help make the process that much easier.

Movers will help you safely package and transport your items from your old house to the storage unit or new home.

If you opt for a storage facility, choose a one near your new neighborhood. This makes getting things out of your storage unit convenient. 

6. Consider Visitors

Do you have a large family or lots of friends? Are you moving to a beautiful area and love entertaining? If so, you might need to make accommodations for all the visitors you plan to have.

It’s always a good idea to have at least one spare bedroom, even in a smaller home. Utilize your space by using bunk beds or a futon couch that doubles as a bed. 

Don’t want to worry about cleaning an additional bedroom? No problem!

You can keep air mattresses on hand for friends and family that stop-in for an impromptu visit.

7. How Much Upkeep Can You Handle?

Unless you plan on hiring a cleaning lady, landscaper, and pool boy, consider the upkeep that your new home will require. 

One of the benefits of buying a smaller house is not having to worry about maintenance and upkeep. Take a look at the size of the yard and overall square footage.

Be realistic about how much work you can handle and what you’re willing to do.

8. Location, Location, Location 

The average American moves over 11 times throuhgout their lifetime. Most of these moves occur before the age of 50.

If you’re looking to downsize, chances are this might be the last move you’ll ever make – so make sure it’s a good one!

Do plenty of research about the area, demographics, community, and population before selecting your final destination. If possible, visit the area and stay for a few weeks before starting to house hunt. 

For many retired couples, proximity to their family is a driving force when choosing where to buy a new, smaller home. 

You may also consider a retirement or 55 and older community. Many of these communities offer plenty of amenities to keep busy and opportunities to get involved.

They also handle most of the groundskeeping and other daily maintenance so you don’t have to worry.

Buying a Smaller House is the Key to Your Future

If you’re tired of maintaining a large home or have recently retired, buying a smaller house can really simplify things. Not only will you have fewer headaches and upkeep, but you can start really living life!

Are you still deciding where to lay down roots?

Check out our blog for more information on moving to the New York or New Jersey area. If you’re seeking sunshine, be sure to visit our pages on California and Florida, too! 

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