The larger your home, the more time and money you have to dedicate to its upkeep. More square footage means more floors to sweep, more counters to clean, higher electric bills, and so on. Maybe you’ve decided you’re tired of it all and you’re looking to downsize to a smaller home.
While selling and moving can be a hassle in the short run, it can pay off in the long run if you’re looking for a simpler and less expensive lifestyle. By breaking down this large task into a group of small goals, you’ll be enjoying your new place and lower bills in no time.
Cap Hill Studio sold by Usaj Realty's Megan Ivy | See Homes for sale in Cap Hill Here
Identify what’s bothering you and what would solve those problems
Sometimes, downsizing might not be the best solution. If you like where you live but feel you’re spending too much time on maintenance, maybe it’s time to hire a regular cleaning service or landscaper. If your heating and cooling bills are atrocious, maybe a new HVAC system, new windows, or better insulation would solve the problem. If your mortgage payment is too high, maybe you can refinance. But if you really want to access the home equity you’ve established over the years and live more simply, downsizing may be the best solution.
Decide whether to buy or sell first
If you sell first, you won’t have to worry about doubling your home ownership expenses or whether your home will sell quickly. But if you go this route, you may have to rent for awhile and end up moving twice. Once your house goes under contract, you might want to consider asking if you can rent from the new owner for a designated period of time in order to buy you more time in finding a new home.
If you buy first, you can move at your leisure and measure your new space to see exactly what furniture and other belongings can make the move, and what you’ll have to eliminate. But not everyone can afford to own two homes at once.
Evaluate how much upkeep you want
If you’re downsizing to reduce the time and expense of maintaining a home, make sure your new place will allow you to accomplish those goals.
Don’t want to deal with any exterior maintenance, snow shoveling or yard work? A condo might be the way to go. Just make sure the association fees will fit into your budget and that the association has a history of managing its finances well so you won’t be hit with any large special assessments.
If you prefer a single-family detached home, buying new construction should keep maintenance to a minimum, as long as you buy from a reputable builder. You may even want to rent rather than own. The key is to find a place with a responsive landlord who will promptly fix any problems that arise.
Pare down your possessions
If you have a 2,200 square foot home filled to the brim and you want to move to a 1,100 square foot home, you’ll have to get rid your home of half of the contents. Does that sound impossible?
Consider how much stuff has accumulated in your home over the years. You probably don’t use all of it (and probably have no attachment to what you aren’t using). Furthermore, it’s likely you don’t even know half of what you actually own! If decluttering doesn’t come naturally to you, consider hiring a professional organizer who can help you make smart, satisfying and quick decisions about what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, and what to trash. Start fresh in your new home with only the things you truly love.
Use technology to shrink your stuff
The reason it’s so hard to part with our belongings is because of the emotions we attach to them: the T-shirt when a favorite team won the championship, the stuffed animal from childhood, a special coffee mug, or a handwoven tapestry purchased on a trip to Mexico. Our things bring us joy and comfort. They remind us of important experiences and relationships. Getting rid of everything is not the goal.
But sometimes a solution to parting with things we feel attached to but don’t want anymore is as simple as taking a picture. You can do this with old cards and letters, clothes, dishes, books — anything, really. Backup your photos to the cloud so you don’t have to worry about losing them. Then, let the physical items go, knowing that you can still look at them even if you can’t hold them in your hands. They’ll no longer take up any physical space, and they might be a great find for someone else.
Downsizing is a major project. It requires you to seriously reevaluate what you want in your home and in your life, what you can afford and what possessions are important enough to bring into your next home. But downsizing can pay major dividends: it can allow you to permanently cash out a chunk of your equity, free up monthly cash flow, and enable you to reallocate the time you spent on cleaning your house and maintaining the yard to activities you really enjoy.
If you need help deciding whether downsizing is right for you, we’d be happy to help you.
Usaj Realty is a boutique real estate brokerage firm specializing in Denver’s most popular neighborhoods. We help our clients find everything from the classic vintage home to a more modern condo. For more information about buying or selling a home in Denver, please contact us.