As a Portland expert in ADU purchases and downsizing, I get this question all of the time. Making the decision to downsize is huge, and not to be taken lightly. That said, many people equate the word “downsizing” with the idea of “getting old.” I am here to tell you that, while aging is a great reason to downsize, it is by no means the only reason to make this change! Nor are you required be over 65 to take this step.
You may have heard the newest organizing buzzword lately – minimalism. And for good reason; minimalism is a lifestyle connected with the idea of living a better, less stressful life by owning less stuff. If you want to know more, this article from The Minimalists gives a great, detailed breakdown of the term. Owning less is not just limited to your stuff, it also refers to the amount of home you own.
Though many people have the goal of owning less, it can also feel like a big leap. How to know if you are ready?
Whether you want to embrace a truly minimalist lifestyle or just own less square footage, this post is designed to help you make the decision about whether your are ready to make the move. If these questions describe you, call your realtor!
You own more house than you know what to do with
Any trip outside of the US will make you truly realize how massive our homes can be, and many Americans have far more space than they actually need. According to NPR, the average American home size has more than doubled since the 1950s!
Owning a lot of square footage can be a great asset if you have several children and a Rottweiler, but after kids move away, all of those empty rooms can start to feel like more of a burden than a blessing. A guest room is always a useful thing, but once you get into unused bonus rooms, man caves, and fourth and fifth bedrooms, it’s time to assess whether the home is still right for you. Plus, your mortgage, utilities and other maintenance costs can eat into retirement funds and other savings, just to pay for space that you don’t use.
Your life values have changed
I recently worked with a young client who had purchased a large home in the suburbs. After several years there, she and her husband had a sudden HUGE realization: they weren’t really cut out for the life they had signed up for when they purchased the home.
“It just didn’t reflect our values any more”, she told me. Fed up with the long commute, she suddenly realized that what she really cared about was less stuff and more time with her family. She also decided that travel was more important to her than having a second guest bedroom. At the end of the day, the decision was based on a reevaluation of what mattered to her, and then making the choice to close the gap between her current reality and her ideal life.
You’re so over home and garden maintenance
We all know it: keeping a home and garden maintained is a lot of work. If you’re not sure how much time you spend on home maintenance, start a running tally of the hours. This could include cleaning out the gutters, winterizing, weeding, fixing or repairing something, cleaning and dusting, etc. Be sure to also include your time to research, call, schedule and meet with repair people or workers. After a month or two, add up the amount of time you’ve spent. Then, think about whether that time, energy and money was worth it to stay in your current home. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t – but it will give you a good idea of the time-based “cost” of owning a larger home.
There are so many options when it comes to downsizing. Some of my clients have purchased a second, smaller home to rent out and transition into later. Some build an ADU with the same idea in mind. When it comes to making this decision, having a downsizing expert to help you is key – for now and the future. Get in touch with me if you’d like help navigating the downsizing process!
At the end of the day, this is a very personal decision and you must think about all of pros and cons of making it. In my professional experience however, I have never heard anyone say “I wish I had that giant house back.”