After your last child leaves home, you may find yourself with an abundance of space. While you may not initially consider maintaining this extra space a burden, it’s likely that you’ll eventually grow tired of heating, cooling, and cleaning rooms you’re no longer using on a daily basis.
If you can relate to this and you’re ready to find a home that’s a better fit for your current needs, read on to find a list of considerations for empty nesters to help you downsize in style.
How Much (and What Kind of) Space Do You Need?
Your individual circumstances will determine how much space you’ll need in your new home. To get a realistic view of what space you’ll put to good use, consider the following:
- Overnight visitors – Do you have children or other family members that visit regularly? Is it important to you to provide them with a free place to stay? If so, you’ll want to find a home with a space you’re comfortable offering to these guests, whether it be a spare bedroom or a spot for an out-of-the-way sleeper sofa.
- Working from home – If you work primarily or frequently from home, you’ll want to make sure you have a space to do so comfortably. How that’s defined will depend on your personal style (i.e., do you prefer to work casually at the kitchen counter, or can you only focus in a designated office space?), as well as any requirements from your employer.
- Hobbies you’re hooked to – If you’re committed to keeping certain at-home hobbies in your schedule, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate space to do so. For instance, if you’re an avid sewer, you may need a designated craft nook to store your supplies, or if you’re a car fanatic, you may need to ensure you have garage space to store your tools.
What Layout Will Work Best for You, Now and in the Future?
If you’re looking to downsize, you’ll want to make sure you choose a home that works for you in both the short and long term. One thing to consider is the layout.
For instance, you may be used to a two-story family home and may still be comfortable going up and down stairs every day, but that may not be the best fit for the future. With age may come additional health concerns though, such as bad knees, and a one-story ranch or a home with a first-floor master bedroom may be a better choice.
What Are You Willing to Part With?
Downsizing most likely means getting rid of some of your belongings. Take inventory of your belongings and give serious consideration to what you’re willing to part with before determining what size home you’d like to move in to.
If you have more “stuff” than will fit comfortably into a smaller home, you may be tempted to put off streamlining your belongings by renting a storage unit for items that won’t fit. However, this is an extra cost that can add up over time, often causing you to pay more in storage fees than the items are worth.
Where Do You Want to Relocate?
Maybe downsizing is an opportunity for you to move closer to children who have moved away. Or maybe you’re already happy where you are. Either way, consider what areas will work best for you to do the things that make you happy, such as seeing family, staying active, and having opportunities to socialize with others.
Additionally, research specific developments that would be a good fit for you. For instance, there are some 55+ communities that give you a comfortable place to live without having to worry about yard or exterior home maintenance. Choosing a location such as this could free up your time to focus on things you enjoy dedicating time to instead.
How Can Downsizing Help Maximize Your Budget?
Downsizing your home can free up more than your time. It may free up some of your budget, too. If you’re still making monthly mortgage payments, you may be able to buy something less expensive if you’re not in need of as much space. If you live in a home that’s paid off, downsizing could still save you money by lowering your utility bills, such as heating and air conditioning, since you’ll be managing less space.
Find the Right Mortgage for You at PSECU
If you’re preparing to downsize your home, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. Let us take some of the worry away by providing you with a mortgage that has competitive rates and flexible terms.