There is an irresistible urge to want more space when you have more people and stuff in your home.
Kids’ toys, soccer balls, cloths, and debris takes up a lot of room!
So why in the world would you want to intentionally move out of your home and into a smaller one?
The truth is, there are several VERY good reasons to do just that. And I can tell you from personal experience (we are moving from 1700 sq ft into 900 sq ft) that the downsides are small and you can overcome them easily.
So let’s start with the low-hanging fruit.
Why you SHOULD downsize your home
It can help you reduce or eliminate debt
If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have a mortage, this might not have as big an impact on you.
But for the nearly 70% of homeowners who are still paying for their home, downsizing into a smaller home could reduce your debt. This would be especially impactful for those 25% of mortgage-holders who now owe less than their home is worth.
Imagine getting a big fat check after selling your house and being able to roll that into a down payment on a smaller home!
My family is thankfully in this scenario – we owe less than the house is worth and will have quite a bit of equity. And thanks to little savings, we are able to build our new home, pay off our remaining (non-student loan) debt, and probably come out with a little extra.
It can lower costs
This one won’t break the bank instantly, but over time you will absolutely save money on heating and cooling costs.
You also have less space and therefor less room to put new stuff. Your home shopping habits are likely to reflect this change in space.
Lastly, it takes less electricity and cleaning supplies to run a small home. Individually these items are small but added up over time, you might be able to afford that dream vacation that’s been just out of reach for so long.
Or, in our case, start investing into our new farm.
Less clutter and less overwhelm
As was mentioned in the previous point, small houses have less room for ‘stuff’. Less stuff means less clutter to have to deal with. There is simply no room for it. As a matter of fact, those hoarding tendencies will be much easier to overcome when there is just. no. space.
Also, less space means less to clean. Cleaning 1 bathroom will be a breeze when you’ve been cleaning 3.
It gives me goosebumps knowing I will be able to clean my entire house in less than a day and not have to feel guilty for not cleaning every single day just to keep up!
Truthfully you don’t need as much space as you think
This is so counter-intuitive to what our modern society tells us. “Bigger is better.” “Keep up with the Joneses.”
But if you stop and think about it, how many of the things in your house are necessities?
I can tell you that was an enlightening thought for me, when I actually sat down and started looking. There are very few ABSOLUTE NEEDS in our home. And if I start with just those, I find that I can also add quite a few WANTS into our new space, as well.
This is especially true in our kids’ rooms. The trash-bags worth of junk I hauled out of their closets when we started the moving process was intimidating. And even they were thrilled with the newer and lighter closets.
When you SHOULD NOT downsize
It doesn’t make sense financially
While there are 90% of mortgage holders who owe about the same or less than their home is worth, there are still almost 10% who are ‘upside down’. In other words, they owe much more than the home is worth.
Unless there are very pressing and urgent reasons to sell your home in this scenario, you should never create debt to sell your home.
You also need to do your research. If your area is going through a temporary recession, your home may be worth much less than it will be in a year. Local realtors will be able to help you take a look at prices and where they’re trending.
You haven’t done your research
Any big move like this takes research and planning.
Hopefully, if you’re reading this, then you are in the stages of the processes where you’re evaluating the possibility and thinking head.
But if this is just a sudden impulse, take a breather first. It took our family 2 years of planning before we even started the official house planning. We looked at it from literally EVERY angle.
And because of that planning, our family is going to be in a very comfortable position when we sell our house in a few months (early fall 2020).
Ask yourself the hard questions. And be honest with the answers. Because a dream that’s only half fulfilled could end up being a nightmare!
The housing market is wonky
Depending on when and where you bought, it’s possible that even downsizing will result in a larger mortgage than you currently have.
Even if the housing is about equal, a higher interest rate on mortgages could still result in a higher monthly payment.
This is another great area to get a realtor involved if you are uncomfortable looking into this yourself. Most of them will talk you through it without any charge if you will potentially become their client.
It doesn’t fit your family/dynamic
If you are a family of 6 already living in 900 sq ft, this might not be the right move for you. Or maybe you have 3 teenagers and a really hard time getting a long.
Just be honest with yourself here.
Not every family is going to find this the perfect scenario. And I can’t possibly list every dynamic for which this won’t be a good fit. So take a good look at your family and decide if getting out of debt and/or simplifying your life will really work at this point.
Even if it’s not right for you RIGHT NOW it may still be in the future. Perhaps you just need a little time and can spend that time planning.
Bringing it all together
There are several great reasons that downsizing your home may be the perfect match for your family. Some of the best and easiest are listed above.
And honestly, there seems like very few reasons why making this move would not be right.
I know downsizing our family of 5 did our homework and determined that it was the perfect situation. And even sitting here typing this, I’m so excited for our future that I almost can’t wait!
We’re even downsizing with teenagers and they are excited for it also.
But the best advice I can give you is to: ask yourself the important questions and be honest with your answers, do your research, and keep up your hope.
Downsizing isn’t easy and you are going to hit roadblocks, both physical and mental. But if you have gone into it with the right mindset and covered all your bases, you’ll overcome those obstacles with grace and style!
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