And that is when you know you need to move. A house by the sea, anyone?
As a homeowner, one of our greatest fears is that an unforeseen issue — a clogged gutter, a cracked foundation or a leaky roof — will snowball into a colossal fail that costs us thousands of dollars. Maintenance is the best (and only) way to avoid the most costly home repairs. The hours spent cleaning gutter lines, servicing air conditioners, putting sealant on the driveway or deck, and the list goes on and on. But, how long can you keep it up? With a larger home, you’re likely to face high maintenance costs. On average, you can expect to set aside at least 1-4% of your total annual cost for repairs - you can budget less for newer homes and add more for older homes that may require more repairs.
What does that entail? Imagine if you have a 20-year-old house that initially cost $500,000, you may require about $20,000 annually for repairs, whereas a brand new place for the same price may only need $5,000 for unplanned maintenance and basic upkeep. Now imagine you had a smaller home with a lower price point which is likely to have an even lower yearly maintenance cost because, with less square footage, you spend less on things like flooring, roofing, heating and cooling costs. Downsizing might also mean that there is smaller or no outdoor living space, resulting in little to no cost to maintain your yard.
You’re now left with more time, energy and disposable income to curate the life you have always wanted.
With unlimited opportunities to play, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Before you dive in, take a second to reflect on why you want to downsize and what the process will involve realistically. Some questions to get you started are:
- What are my motivations for downsizing?
- What do you love about your current home? Create your must-have list.
- What will my family or I gain from downsizing?
- What are my primary concerns about downsizing?
- What is my timeline?
- What are my current and future needs?
Whether you’re downsizing because you want to retire, save money to travel, or are an empty nester, moving into a smaller house can be exhilarating but daunting. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. Here are some benefits to remind yourself of when you get too overwhelmed:
- The reduction or elimination of your mortgage
- Fewer mortgage payments = More retirement savings
- Greater freedom to travel
- Cheaper utilities
- Fewer chores = More free time
- Lower maintenance costs
- No clutter, no stress
This is your moment to start fresh. It's cathartic to begin letting go of some things you've been holding on to. Turn that extra bedroom into a home office, guest room, gym or sanctuary. Put your energies into losing weight, pursuing new hobbies, exercising more or any new passion you can think of.
Now that you have more time on your hands use some of it to reinvent yourself.