Moving up in life doesn’t have to mean moving to a bigger house, and most Americans have plenty of room to downsize, without compromising their lifestyle. We all have big dreams and goals other than owning the most expensive house we can afford.
The latest trendy housing option, the tiny house movement, has the country thinking small. You don’t necessarily have to go to the extremes of paring down all your possessions into three plastic bins and installing a composting toilet. But if you are thinking, “Should I downsize?” the time might be right for a smaller family home. Whether the kids have grown and moved on or retirement or income changes have you thinking about downsizing, circumstances are easier to manage with a smaller home. Whatever your lifestyle, here are seven reasons to downsize your home.
1. Less is More
Yes, it’s true that a smaller home does have less storage, and you might ask yourself, “Where will I put all my stuff?” We recommend having a garage sale. Less stuff equals less stress, and when you sell it, that’s money in the bank. Think of what else you can do with the extra time and space when you don’t have to lug around that encyclopedia set from 1993. Downsizing forces you to get rid of your extra baggage, literally, and you can always look to self-storage units if your treasures do need to come along. A small home requires fewer materials and resources to build, causing less environmental impact. A greener home benefits us all.
2. Bonding Time
Results from a study by AEI’s Mark Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, indicate that homes today are 1,000 square feet larger than family homes built in 1973. This means the average living space per person in today’s homes has nearly doubled. Downsizing your home’s square footage means your family must live in tighter quarters. But how terrible is that? Don’t we all want to spend more time with the people we love? A smaller home by nature drives more social interaction among family members.
3. Simplify Your Life
It might be time to downsize if a simple life appeals to you. A smaller home is mentally liberating. The more we own, the more our possessions own us, and that’s true with our largest, most valuable asset: our homes. The larger our home, the larger our mental investment. Buy small, and free your mind. You’ll feel less tempted to accumulate things you don’t need, and you won’t be held captive by your larger abode.
4. Save Money
Downsizing might not be the right choice for everyone, but it’s worth a look if you want to save money and lower your monthly expenses. Home-related costs such as insurance, property taxes, and interest payments all increase with the size of your home. When you buy a smaller house, you’ll save on heating and cooling costs and overall home maintenance. If you end up needing a new roof, for instance, a smaller home is going to prove much less costly than that suburban mansion. All the money you save will help fund your retirement or the kid’s college tuition and pay off debt.
5. Less Maintenance
A small home is easy to maintain, requiring much less time, energy, and effort to keep clean and organized. This frees up our schedules to pursue the things in life that matter most. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, Americans are staying in their homes longer than ever, and of those that are moving, a whopping 42 percent want a newer or better home. Moving to a smaller home saves time, and time saves money.
6. Wider Market
A smaller house is more affordable for a larger percentage of the population. Talk to a licensed real estate agent to help determine what size homes are available in your area and what your options are for cutting costs. A professional knows what it takes to get the best offer on your current home and how to get you the best deal on your new, downsized one.
7. Less Debt
Dozens of online resources suggest we should spend no more than 28 percent of our net income on our monthly mortgage payments. Wouldn’t we feel less stress if we were in debt only 15 percent of our income? Maxing out our debt-to-income ratio on a home is a recipe for disaster. Your mortgage is usually your biggest lifetime debt and probably the No. 1 thing you can rein in.
Whether you’re downsizing journey has officially begun or you’re still asking yourself if now is the right time, we hope these seven reasons to downsize have offered a bit of insight. Downsizing your home is a step forward, and if you think less space is the right choice, you’re not alone.