Downsizing can be a very emotional topic. You’re thinking about leaving behind the home that your family has made memories in. At the same time, a smaller home could have plenty of advantages.
It helps if you and your partner are on the same page about downsizing. Whether you’d rather leave or stay, talking about the following items can help you determine what's best for you both.
Your Likes and Dislikes
Start by making separate lists of the things you like and don’t like about your current home, then compare those lists. Do you agree on what the home’s problems are or are your lists completely different?
Often, when you look at the written list, something will really stand out. For instance, you may have significantly more likes or dislikes, and seeing it on paper makes it easier to make your choice. You might also find that the things you dislike are actually quite small, and simply fixing those small problems will allow you to be happier about staying in the home. Other times, it’s obvious that the things you don’t like about your home don’t have an easy fix.
This act alone can make the decision clear to both of you.
The Work of Homeownership
Think carefully about how much work goes into owning a home and whether or not you’re willing to do that work. Often, the person who’s taking on the brunt of the work is going to find the idea of a smaller home more attractive. On the other hand, if the other person is willing to increase their involvement, you could stay in the home and keep both people happy.
Of course, sometimes the work involved just becomes physically impossible. You’re not as young as you used to be, and you might not be able to keep up with all the repairs and maintenance that come with living in an older home. This is a big reason for many couples who choose to downsize because they enjoy the low-maintenance lifestyle that comes with a brand-new home.
Crunch the Numbers
Once you hit the retirement years, it becomes even more important to stick to your budget. If you’ve already paid off the mortgage on your current home, it can definitely seem like moving to a new home and taking on a new mortgage could be a bad decision. However, you might be able to buy a smaller home outright with the equity you have in your current home. You may also find that when you factor in things like heating costs (less expensive in a brand new home) and repair costs (which can be high in an older home), the new home may make more financial sense. Every family is different, so you have to crunch the numbers to see what will work best for you.
Dreams for the Future
What do you want your future to look like, and how does your home fit into the equation? If you’re hoping to spend your time travelling, it might be better for you to look for homes that have maintenance-free exteriors. Then you won’t have to worry about hiring someone to do lawn care while you’re away. If you have a large family and expect a lot of grandkids in your future, though, you might feel a little better about holding onto the large family home. While you can downsize to a smaller home that still has extra bedrooms for when the grandkids come to visit, some people just like having the extra space for large family gatherings.
Exploring Your Options Together
After talking about all of the things we previously mentioned, you may have come to a strong decision together. Or you may be feeling even more confused about your options. At this point, it doesn’t hurt to take a good look at your options for a new home together. Come out to see what some of the new communities look like and how their locations offer convenient access to things like shopping and recreation centres. Tour show homes to get a better sense of how “downsizing” doesn’t have to mean “downgrading”. In buying a new home, you’ll have a lot of options to create a home that perfectly fits your needs now and in the future. You can also explore some of the costs of moving into a brand new home. You may just find that it’s a lot more affordable than you think.
Many couples before you have considered whether or not downsizing is the right choice for them. It’s a tough decision. By thoroughly exploring all of your options, you’ll find that it’s easier to pick the best choice.