Many people are drawn to the idea of downsizing your home. After all, moving into a smaller home can help reduce your monthly expenses and free up more time for the things you love.
But downsizing your home can be tricky and it’s common to face a few hiccups along the way. From forgoing financial planning to buying a home that’s too small for your needs, downsizing disasters can leave you regretting your decision to pare down your belongings and move into a smaller space.
Before you start your journey of downsizing your home, check out the following mistakes so you can avoid them yourself!
Run the Numbers
One major mistake you can make when downsizing is assuming that you will save money. Believe it or not, moving into a smaller home isn’t always cost-effective! As Opendoor explains, the process of selling your home and moving can be very expensive. Besides closing costs, real estate agent fees, and moving expenses, you may also have to pay for repairs and updates to your home before you can sell it. Before deciding to downsize, calculate your estimated savings, and make a home-buying budget for your new purchase.
This is a good time to look into your financing options as well. There are several different types of loans to consider, so take the time to find the best one for your situation. FHA loans, for example, can be great for buyers without a lot of credit history or those who want to make a smaller down payment than the typical 20 percent. This flexibility allows more people to apply for FHA loans than many more stringent mortgage options.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Downsizing your home isn’t for everyone. Buying a smaller home without thinking carefully about what you want is a recipe for regret. Do you love gardening? Hosting large gatherings? Hiding away from your family in a relaxing reading room? Moving into a small condo could mean giving all of this up! HGTV recommends thinking about the parts of your lifestyle that you value the most and considering whether you’ll still be able to enjoy these activities in your new space.
Don’t Go Too Small
Even if downsizing your home seems right for you, avoid seeking out the smallest home you can find. Moving from a spacious, multi-story home into a tiny house will leave you feeling cramped and crowded! Make sure you, your family, and your belongings will all fit comfortably into your new space.
If you’re not sure where to start, work with a great real estate agent for help finding homes that are the right size for your needs. Let your agent know that you’re looking for features that will make your home more spacious, like raised ceilings, large windows, open floor plans, flexible rooms, and creative storage systems.
Avoid Holding Onto Stuff
Downsizing your home isn’t just about reducing the size of your home, but of the rest of your belongings as well. It’s unlikely you’ll fit all your stuff into your new home. And even if you somehow manage it, you’ll be living a life consumed with clutter. Once you know the size of your new home, you can start picking out furniture and décor that will work in your new space. Aim to sell or donate anything that you no longer want instead of packing everything up and shoving it into a storage unit somewhere. Getting excess stuff out of your life will make you feel a lot lighter!
Don’t Rush Into It
There’s no reason to rush the process, so take your time with every step. Be picky when selecting your new home. Test out a small-space living by renting a vacation home in the area where you’re looking to buy. Pay close attention to the real estate market before you decide to sell your home. Hold off on your sale until you get the asking price you want. When it comes to paring down your belongings, try to start many months before your move. Sorting through all of your possessions can be incredibly draining, and it’s not something you want to rush through!
When done right, downsizing can be a great move for you and your family. Understanding common downsizing mistakes is the best way to avoid them. Take the time to consider your options carefully and plan, and you’re bound to be happy with your decision!
Written by Shirley Martin