There’s a multitude of reasons why one would want to downsize their home. Maybe you’re a senior citizen who’s ready for retiring into the simple life, or maybe you’re adopting a more minimalist and less cluttered lifestyle, or maybe the reasons are purely financial. Regardless of reason, when it comes to downsizing your home, you’re also downsizing your life, which tends to sound like a bad thing when it’s really the opposite.
Moving on and into a smaller space forces you to minimize both your possessions and your desire to acquire more useless junk, because you simply don’t have the space for it. So before you make the big, or should I say downsized, move there’s a few preliminary steps you should go through to ensure your entering into this new chapter the most organized and clear-headed as possible.
First, take a look around your current space and take inventory of all the spaces and things in the house that are purely there just to take up room and fill an otherwise empty area of your home. This way, when packing you can get rid of a majority of the things that just sit around your home, never admired by you or anyone else, and also make a list of things that you won’t be looking for in your next space.
For example, if you mark down that you have a guest room/office space that never gets used, as well as a couple of book shelves that you’ve just been using as a replacement for storage of even more useless things, then you know you don’t need any of that in your next place. This will make the search process much easier.
“When downsizing, it’s important to get rid of big items you aren’t planning on using before you move. If you wait, you may waste hundreds of dollars paying to move these items and storing them, especially if you don’t have space in your new home,” said Fred McGill, a Forbes Real Estate Council Member.
Once you begin the process of actually looking for your next property, make sure you always are being open and clear with your real estate agent about the specifics of what you’re looking for. It seems like that should go without saying, however, different people have different definitions of what it means to downsize.
Share the inventory list you made with your agent so that you’re not only telling them what you’re looking for, but the aspects of your current living situation that you’d like to avoid. Downsizing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re adopting a totally minimalist style of living now, however, it does literally mean your moving into a place that’s smaller and simpler than wherever you currently are. Explain to your agent why it is you want to simplify your home life, by giving them that insight they’ll know more of what you personally are trying to gain, and lose.
When looking at new places, keep monthly costs in mind. When looking at a space that’s smaller than your current home, it most likely is going to be much cheaper at face value. However, just because a property’s initial cost is less than what you previously paid, that doesn’t mean that the monthly costs won’t even out. This is especially important if you’re looking to downsize for financial reasons.
Obviously you will be discussing all of the financial specifics with your agent, however, it’s also important to take note of areas in your new potential home that look like they might turn into a project in the future. If you’re looking to downsize, you’re looking to simplify, so buying a home with an extensive list of projects that will need to get done, isn’t simplifying anything, it’s just adding more expenses to the matter.
Finally, make sure you’re still thinking of the future. Will you still want a one-bedroom, single-level home in 10 years? If not, do you think you’ll have the financial means to change your situation if it comes to that? Planning for the future is always daunting, but when it comes to the place you’ll be calling home, it’s important. So as you begin to simplify, downsize, and de-clutter, take a moment to look at your current situation and map out what you want the next five years to look like in terms of property and life goals. Those ideas will give you all the confidence you need to make your move.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.