You’ve lived in a big home for many years and raised your amazing kids in a nice neighborhood with great schools. But now that they’ve moved out and started their own lives, perhaps it’s time for a change. Do you really need all those extra bedrooms? The large game room? A living room and a den? It might be time to consider moving to a smaller home.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up all your space. There are plenty of smaller homes with a guest room and a yard for the grandchildren to play in. You can still have a lovely home without all the stuff that’s not being used in your current home and save a little money in anticipation of your retirement.
A smaller home will save you money and stress in several ways:
- Utilities — Smaller homes are cheaper to heat and cool. It’s easier to prevent drafts when there are fewer windows and doors, too.
- HOA fees — If you live in a neighborhood that requires you to make payments to an HOA, consider moving to an area without one. You won’t have to shell out money to an organization that may not be much help to you.
- Property taxes — The smaller your home, the lower your taxes, depending on the area. Put that extra savings into your travel-the-world fund and hit the road.
- Homeowner’s insurance — If your insurance company has to pay out less if your home is damaged, you’ll pay lower premiums.
- Maintenance — With fewer items to break, comes fewer things to maintain. That means less money shelled out, as well as less of your time.
- Less need of things — If you have a smaller house, you’re less likely to buy things to put in it. You don’t need an extra couch if you don’t have an extra den.
- Less debt — If you have enough equity in your home, you might be able to sell it and buy a smaller house outright. If not, you’ll likely still reduce your monthly payments, making it easier to pay off. When you’re retired, owning your home outright will save you a lot of stress.
- Mental freedom — Having a smaller home with less stuff in it will help you relax. Not being bogged down by stuff is its own reward.
- Easier to clean — Smaller spaces mean less dirt and dust. Cleaning four bathrooms is a lot harder than one or two. Even if you hire a professional to clean for you, having less space will save you money because it will take less time to get the job done.
- Better for the environment — A smaller home will have a smaller carbon footprint. You’ll use fewer utilities, which means burning less fossil fuels.
- No room for storage — Do your kids still keep boxes of stuff in your basement or garage? If you have less space, they’ll have to find another place for it or be forced to downsize, too. It’s a good lesson for them and freeing for you. (Also, they’ll be less likely to move back home.)
Selling your home
Before you put your home on the market, consider what updates you need to do to get the best resale value. Do you need to paint? Update the kitchen? Get new floors? There are lots of things you can do to sell it faster and for more money. Ask your real estate agent what works best in your market.
Smaller updates are often better. Painting or resurfacing your kitchen cabinets is going to get more return on your investment than a full kitchen remodel. Updating the bathrooms will help, but gutting them and starting over won’t likely get much return. Touch up peeling and dirty paint, and add some flowers to the yard to give your home some curb appeal.
You’ll find that a smaller new home will give you more peace and happiness than having a behemoth of a house. You’ll have more money and time to spend doing what you love.
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