Consider this: Your kids have all moved away from home. Their rooms are now empty and filling with dust. You’ve thought about making one bedroom a “home office,” but the issue remains: You have more space than you really need.
What do you do now? One option is to downsize your home.
There are plenty of things to look at before making that move, so we’ve put together a list to get you thinking about what might be best for you.
Less Space, More Money, More Time
Those empty rooms we mentioned are still being heated, air conditioned and cleaned. By moving into a smaller space, you’re likely to save on utility bills and maintenance costs. Depending on where you move, your utilities may even be covered at your next home.
You can also use the time you spent cleaning all that extra square footage for more enjoyable activities, like visiting your children in their new homes or playing with the grandkids.
Using Home Equity as Secondary Income
After years of owning a home and paying off the mortgage, or at least a part of it, you earn equity in your home. When you move to sell your property, that money can help supplement your lifestyle. Because most properties that are smaller in size tend to be lower in cost, you may see some profit off your home sale.
Consider the Emotional Costs
They say home is where the heart is, and that can be true for many. Leaving behind the place you raised a family can be difficult, so thinking about the emotional side of the move is big part of this decision.
It can also be a difficult thing for your adult children to deal with. Remember, this was their childhood home, too. Perhaps having a final get-together with your family in the home could help alleviate some of that anxiety. It can help create closure for everyone about the move, and it gives them a chance to come pick up any memory boxes or mementos they want to keep from the house.
Keep in mind the best thing for you and your partner may not be the most comfortable one for everyone in your family, but by taking time to acknowledge those emotions, you can get moving in the right direction.
What to do With All That Stuff
One option is selling any unwanted items before your move. This can be done at estate sales, auction or consignment stores. If you have items you’re planning to gift to your children or grandchildren or leave as a legacy item, consider doing it before you move. Then you know it’s gone to the intended person and you’ll have less to pack up if you decide to downsize.
Moving into any new place can be a cause of stress, so consider hiring a moving company and packing up each room one-by-one to avoid the anxiety of trying to get everything out at once. Don’t be afraid to eliminate unnecessary items. It’s not likely you’ll be able to fit everything you own into a smaller space, so try to only bring your most used and needed items with you.
Deciding to move into a smaller home is not an easy decision to make, and it’s not one you should make alone. Be sure to talk over these factors with your spouse, and consider speaking with a financial adviser about how a move could affect your wallet. By using these tools, you’ll be able to make the best choice on whether downsizing your home is the right move for you.