Four Signs the Time to Downsize Your Home Has Arrived

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Author: Seth Murphy

Seth Murphy first got into doing DIY projects to save money, but over time he has developed a real passion for this hands-on, intensive work. He created papadiy.com to share his ongoing projects and to motivate himself to do more.

When you bought your large family home, you likely had children (both current and future) to consider. You diligently looked for a property with enough bedrooms to house your expanding family and any guests you would have had over the years. Your neighborhood amenities probably mattered, too, and it’s likely that you bought in a development with a playground, sidewalks, and plenty of other families.

Even if you always knew that you’d eventually move on, it’s hard to know when, exactly, to do that. Here, we’ll highlight four things to consider that may indicate the time to cash in on your investment has come. Also included, minor home improvements to boost your resale value.

  1. Your adult children have stopped staying the weekend.

The kids have left for college and forged relationships outside of their familiar social circle. They no longer lug their laundry home each weekend and have quit popping in unexpectedly for a home-cooked meal. Their bedroom doors haven’t been open for months and you don’t often have guests for overnight visits.

  1. You no longer need access to top-rated schools.

When you bought your family home, you had to consider the quality of education you would provide your children. Now that they have flown the coop, you no longer need to pay exorbitant taxes on five star schools. You can move to a nice neighborhood that is zoned for a lower-rated school and still reap the same benefits of safety and community.

  1. You would rather spend your time and money on experiences.

In addition to your mortgage, your hacks away at your paycheck with a number of hidden costs including utilities, property taxes, homeowner association fees, and homeowner insurance. And, as this HireAHelper blog points out, a home is a major investment of time. A smaller home may help you eliminate HOA fees and you’ll pay less in property taxes, utilities, and insurance. Plus, it takes less time to clean and maintain a smaller house, freeing you up to explore the world.

  1. You crave a simpler life and more time to enjoy it.

One of the best reasons to move to a smaller home is, as Policy Genius notes, being ready for a lifestyle change. While all the bells and whistles of an ultra-modern home are exciting, sometimes, it’s the little things that matter most. A house in the country may be a welcome change of pace. Likewise, a move to the city where you can walk to nearby shops and restaurants may help you maintain your active lifestyle without having to rely on your car.

If you can identify with any of these scenarios, it’s time to consider swapping your large home for a smaller condominium or cottage in a less expensive part of town. Here are a few tips on ways to get the most bang for your buck without draining your budget:

  • Replace worn carpet with laminate tile
  • Install stainless steel appliances
  • Remove old playsets/garden statues
  • Brighten up the exterior by painting the front door, shutters, and exposed wood
  • Paint the walls/fireplace with neutral colors
  • Fix minor nuisances, such as loose tiles or cracked caulk
  • Clear and remove personal photographs
  • Deodorize the home if you have pets
  • Install interconnected smoke alarms

The best thing you can do for your home is to make it look and feel as clean, comfortable, and contemporary as possible. It does not take a huge investment to get a greater return when it’s time to list your large home for sale.

While moving from the home in which your children grew up can be an emotionally-trying experience, the next chapter of your life is about you. Don’t be afraid to get selfish and change to a space that enhances your quality of life.

You might also enjoy Seth Murphy’s article on how to prepare for an open house.

photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo Jefferson City ~ Missouri ~ Missouri Governor’s Mansion ~ HIstoric Mansion via photopin (license)