Should You Downsize Your Home?
The following is a guest post.
Many of us have spent our working lives investing in a mortgage that will allows us to buy a home large enough to raise a family. After a few years, our children will grow up with a view to doing the same on their own. This often results in many of us being left paying for a large home that we don’t necessarily require. Downsizing is a good way to reduce your monthly living expenses, but moving to a smaller home isn’t for everyone. Below are a few pros and cons to consider before you downsize your home.
The Pros of Downsizing Your Home
Downsizing allows you to reduce – or even eliminate – your monthly mortgage payments. You can use the money you save on your mortgage to reward yourself with something special, such as a shopping spree, a vacation or a new car.
Downsizing lets you access the equity you have in your current home so you can buy a smaller house with cash, pay debts, or re-invest your freed-up capital. There are a number of sites with handy resources that allow you to calculate any changes that might happen to your mortgage repayments – you might be surprised at the difference.
Smaller homes are often less costly – and less time consuming – to maintain. With less yard work and cleaning to worry about, downsizing can translate to more leisure time. You will often save in the long run by having fewer rooms to decorate, heating bills will be smaller and in general it should be less expensive to maintain a small home.
With less space to work with, you’ll have fewer places for clutter to accumulate. Having less space also keeps you from purchasing unnecessary items. You must carefully consider each purchase and decide if you have a place for it.
Downsizing can help you afford a home closer to work, or in a better location. You could purchase a flat in the heart of the city with all the bells and whistles, or an idyllic cottage in the countryside. The possibilities are endless!
Moving closer to work can save you a small fortune over the years, so if you’re committed to your job it can be worth looking to move to somewhere closer, even if it’s a bit smaller.
The Cons of Downsizing Your Home
Moving is Stressful
Any change is stressful, but downsizing can cause significant anxiety. In fact, moving to a new residence is so stressful that it’s listed as No. 30 of 43 stress-producing life events on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale.
If you’ve owned your current home for a long time, you may have accumulated enough possessions to make the prospect of downsizing more than a bit daunting. You may need to get rid of things you’ve owned for years – and many of these items will have sentimental value. How do you decide which items are treasures and which ones are trash? Downsizing means making important decisions about what you wish to take to your new home.
Loss of Status
If your current home or location denotes a certain status, you will lose this status when you downsize your home. If you’re not prepared for the loss of prestige, moving to a smaller home or a less desirable area can inspire feelings of failure in some people.
Loss of Family Memories
Downsizing is an emotional experience. Most of us develop an emotional attachment to where we live; moving can mean the loss of hopes, dreams and happy memories. Downsizing isn’t just about saving money. You may be more attached to your current residence than you would like to admit. For most people, the family home is where children and grandchildren have gathered for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. Saying goodbye to the family home can be like grieving an actual member of the family. Before downsizing, be sure you’re mentally prepared for difficult emotions you may experience.