A recent study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. There are many reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners. In this post, we will explore some of the reasons to downsize and how to make the move easier.
Less Time Cleaning
Most people tend to put off tedious chores such as weeding, dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning toilets. The good news is with less space, you spend less time and energy on cleaning. Not to mention, if you own less, there is less to clean around. With less time cleaning think how much more time you will have to pursue your passions.
Go Green and Save Big
Those who have lived in a large home know one of the downsides is high energy costs. Whether it is heating and cooling or water savings in your bathrooms and kitchens, you use a lot of energy maintaining a large home. Smaller homes will give you the benefit of reducing your family’s carbon footprint while you enjoy a lower energy bill in the warmer and cooler months. This reduction in you energy usage will also downsize your utility bills. When you have less space to heat, cool and light, your utility bills will naturally be lower. You’ll also save money on maintenance, taxes, insurance and repairs.
Boost Your Retirement Fund
Once you’re debt free with a fully funded emergency fund, it’s time to build wealth for the future. Experts recommend investing 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans.
If you’re still working your way up to 15%, that extra $500 could be the push you need to get there. An extra $500 over 30 years, could give you an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years. You can do a lot of living with that nest egg.
Preparing for Your New Home
Putting your home on the market is a process that takes time. Before you downsize your home, you will need to scale down your other belongings too. Look at this as your opportunity to do something new and live life with a lighter load. Start by going through your belongings and determining what you really need.
Whether you love to shop or just think you might need that outfit in the back of the closet someday, most of us tend to hold onto more clothing than we need. Begin by taking all your clothing out of your closet. Examine what you do and don’t wear. Remember that you didn’t build up an oversize wardrobe overnight, so give yourself time to go through and purge enough pieces so that everything will fit. Get rid of unwanted clothing at yard sales or online, or by donating items to charity.
Anything in Off-Site Storage
According to the Self Storage Association, there are about 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S. That’s more than five times the number of Starbucks. Vow to eliminate storage fees by getting rid of enough stuff so that all your possessions fit in your own home.
If there is an exercise bike, treadmill or stair climber sitting in your attic or bedroom that has morphed into a permanent clothes rack, now is the time to donate it to a local thrift store or sell it online.
Kitchen Appliances and Gadgets
Do you really need all of your kitchen appliances? If you are someone with a juicer, food processor, blender, hand mixer, waffle maker and more considering asking yourself: “When was the last time I plugged that in?” If it’s been more than six months since you’ve used the convection oven or bread maker, it’s probably time to find that appliance a new home. While you’re in the kitchen, eliminate unused culinary gadgets and nonmatching tableware.
If your kids or other family members don’t want keepsakes from their own childhood (or yours) now, they’re not going to want them when you’re gone. Hold on to a few precious, symbolic mementos — those that truly spark memories and joy — and digitize images of the other things.
When you went to college or got your first apartment you probably filled it with new furniture. Over time, as you got a larger space the tendency is to fill or overfilling your home with furniture. When moving to a smaller space too much furniture will make rooms seem smaller. Start by measuring the new space and doorway and seeing what pieces will actually fit. If that couch is not going to fit through the front door there is no point in hauling it across town or the country.
Books, Magazines, DVDs
Unless a book has sentimental value or you’re going to read it again, put it back into circulation via a yard sale or thrift store so that others can enjoy it. Don’t want to sell it? Consider donating it to your local library, where you can always get free access to books, CDs and DVDs. You can store countless e-books (many are available for free) on an e-reader that’s smaller than a single print volume, and you can easily digitize your music and movie collections.
Consumer Reports advises organizing your important files into four categories: “papers that you need to keep for the calendar year or less; ones that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover; tax records, which you should save for seven years; and papers to keep indefinitely.” Many of the records you need to access indefinitely are now available through online accounts. Consider storing digitized documents on a web-based storage service or an external drive.
Finding the right home for your family is a personal decision. If you or your friends are ready for your next real estate action step, don’t hesitate. For sound advice and help creating your personal real estate plan, contact us today.