Photo: © Mark Bowden - iStockphoto
Downsizing is a personal choice that many people face as children move out of the house. This often leaves a couple alone in a home that is bigger than they need. The benefits of living in a smaller home are many, but there are also drawbacks. Here are some important questions that will help to determine whether a smaller home is the answer.
1. How much will it cost?
While a smaller house will often mean lower mortgage payments, taxes and utility bills, this does not represent the total cost of downsizing. One of the side effects of a smaller home is less space. This could mean renting a storage space for things that can not be easily sold or discarded. Hidden costs such as replacing furniture and homeowners/condo fees also exist.
2. What affect will downsizing have on others?
Most people who are considering downsizing are doing so because a large home no longer fits their current lifestyle. This usually happens when children have moved out, which leaves a lot of extra space in the home. In today's economy, it is not uncommon to have "yo-yo" children. Will the new, downsized home, be able to accommodate these children who move in and out multiple times before they get on their feet?
3. Is downsizing a long-term solution?
Will you need to provide care for an aging parent or will you or someone in your family face a health crisis? Just because a home is smaller does not mean that it is amenable to handling specific needs. Wide doorways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs as well as a first floor bedroom and easy to reach cabinets should be considered. Without these, a home could need extensive remodeling.