If you’re starting to dream about trading in your rambling larger house for a smaller cottage or a new condo, it’s probably time to consider downsizing from your current home. Eventually, a place that was perfect for you a decade or two ago might start to feel cavernous and empty — or just have more square footage than you want to clean regularly!
Before you start shopping or put your home on the market, there are a few things to think about and discuss with your real estate team and any family members who’ll be making the journey with you.
Consider your finances It’s important to remember that while your current house has gone up in value, the home you may want to buy has also. Make sure to consult your real estate professional to ensure you have a good idea about your current home’s worth so you know the budget for the new home you’re buying.
Think about space A lot of people love the idea of living in a tiny home — think of all the extra time you’ll have not cleaning a big house or keeping track of excess stuff! However, while you might realize the house you have is larger than what you want, it’s also important to think about what you’ll need going forward.
After watching countless episodes of ‘Tiny House Nation,’ I’ve learned it’s important to go through your things and determine what are ‘essential’ items, ‘possible’ items, and ‘we-don’t-need-it’ items. Once you’ve narrowed down your stuff you’ll have a better idea of the space you need.
In addition to interior space, you’ll want to think about lot size. Do you want an acre of lawn to spread your wings — and to mow? Or, on the flip side, will you miss having a bit of space to garden? Determine what outdoor space you’ll want for this new time in your life.
Decide where to go Once you’ve decided to downsize, the obvious next question to ask is, “Where are you going?” Maybe you want to stay in the same general area and be a bit closer to amenities like a park or grocery store. Or perhaps you want to shift gears entirely and move to a different city, state, or even a different country!
It’s good to have a goal — a reason for the change — because moving isn’t super fun and downsizing can be especially taxing. Think about where you’ve always wanted to live and why, then decide where you’re going to plant your roots for the next set of life adventures.
Find a place to land Now that you have an idea where you’re going, it’s time to start viewing your housing options. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the size of homes in the area you want to move and get a ballpark for how much homes in that area cost.
Replacing and shedding furniture You probably already know you’re going to be getting rid of some stuff. And deciding exactly what to bring and what to purge can be difficult, especially if you love a particular item of furniture but can’t see its future in your new home. Go back to the necessities.
Getting rid of excess baggage Thinking about all your stuff — the books and decorations and clothes and kitchenware and appliances — is probably the hardest step.
There may be things you want to keep that may not make sense with your new lifestyle. However, think of this as an opportunity to free yourself from possessions and find them a new home where they’ll be appreciated. Here’s a fun article about the joy of purging!
Organize, organize, organize Chaos is part of any move, and downsizing can be especially fraught because there are many moving parts to the process. The more organized you are, the better it will go. ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ is a great mantra to guide and keep you organized through the downsizing process.
Make the move When it’s finally time to execute, it’s common to experience second thoughts. Will you like your new home as much as your old one? Will you miss your things too much? What if you change your mind? All those thoughts are completely normal!
That said, we’ve found that within a few weeks or months, it’ll be hard to imagine how you ever managed before downsizing. In the meantime, trust the process and work with a solid real estate team who can help you get from the oversized starting line to the just-right finishing line.