Are You Downsizing in the Future?

If you’ve just sent your last kid off to college, then the term “empty nester” may have more meaning to you now than ever before. Perhaps a downsize is in your future.

This time can be an emotional roller coaster. As you look around your home you may become overwhelmed with memories. First steps, first falls, holidays and get togethers and all the fun times you shared between four walls. After all, this is where your family started or grew. But you know what’s great about memories? You can take them with you no matter where you go.

Newly-minted empty nesters often embrace the “freedom” aspect, punctuated by 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?
You may stand to benefit financially if you’ve accrued equity in your home. However, if you haven’t lived in your home long enough, you’ll want to consider if the move and expense is right for you.

Do You Actually NEED Those Extra Rooms?
Empty nesters like to 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. The other consideration is whether or not those bedrooms will actually be needed for visitors. If you can squeeze a bed into those already re-purposed rooms, then hey, you’ve doubled down and maximized your space. On the flipside, 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 the time added up is two to three weeks max per year, then consider the fact that the guest room will sit for 11+ months. And when a room sits that long unused, collecting dust and waiting for those few days on the calendar, 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 purged a ton of furniture and nick knacks before moving in with the idea that we’d shop together and start fresh. 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, while others may feel the opposite. That choice is you, but something you’ll want to consider before downsizing. You don’t want to feel cramped or overwhelmed by “stuff” in your new home.

Does it Make More Sense to Rent?
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. 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.