Is it Time for You to Downsize?

If the kids have moved out and you’ve more recently embraced the title of “empty nester,” then perhaps a downsize is in your future.

This period in time can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. As you look around your home you will no doubt have fond memories. After all, this is where your family grew. The good thing is, memories don’t have a zip code, and you can take them with you wherever you go.

To that point, newly-minted empty nesters often embrace the “freedom” aspect, emphasized by an added interest in vacations, weekend trips, or investments. But don’t just downsize for the sake of downsizing. Consider the following first.

Have You Built Equity in Your Home?
If the answer is yes, then you may stand to benefit from downsizing. But if you haven’t lived in your home long enough to the point where you’ve accrued equity, you’ll want to consider if the move and expense is right for you.

Do You Actually NEED Those Extra Rooms?
A number of empty nesters re-purpose bedrooms once they have regained the space. Exercise rooms, movie theaters, and hobby rooms are just some examples of how they can be used. However, the other consideration is whether or not those bedrooms will actually be needed for visitors. If you can a squeeze a bed into those rooms, then hey, you’ve doubled down and maximized your space. But if you think a room needs to be designated as a formal guest room, ask yourself how many days of the year you expect to have guests. If that time adds up to two or three weeks out of the year, then that guest room will sit for 11+ months. And when a room sits that long unused, do you really need it as a guest room?

Can You See Yourself Living in Less Space?
What are you going to do with all that STUFF? When I moved into my current home with my wife, we were moving two apartments into a house. And frankly, we ditched a lot of furniture and whatnot before moving in with the idea that we’d shop together and start fresh. But if you’re moving from a home into a smaller home, can you get rid of the items you no longer need? Some people find it liberating to de-clutter, while others may feel the opposite. That choice is entirely up to you, but certainly one you’ll want to consider before downsizing. You don’t want to feel cramped up in your new home.

Does it Make More Sense to Rent?
Maybe your new-found freedom is such that you don’t plan on being home all that often. Perhaps with vacations planned and excursions on the horizon, paying a set amount every month and having someone else handle home maintenance is an option that works better for you. And renting doesn’t always mean you’re back in an apartment complex or townhome. You can rent out entire homes if that better suits your lifestyle while you wait to plan out your next steps.