If you’re looking to sell your home and move on, you might be thinking about downsizing. While this is a great option for many people, it’s not the ideal move for everyone. There are a number of lifestyle changes to consider when you downsize your home, and it’s well worth knowing about the various disadvantages before committing to a smaller dwelling.
Even the financial gains typically associated with downsizing might not be relevant to your situation. As is so often the case, a little knowledge goes a long way, and it’s well worth going into any decision with your eyes wide open.
Potential Disadvantages of Downsizing:
It Can Get Cramped
Downsizing has a few advantages, but one of the main things that put people off is the fact that they might not be able to host people in the same way they could in their larger home. For those social people who are used to regular parties with all their friends, moving to a small place can really put a spanner in the works. Those with large families may also struggle to accommodate everyone over the holidays, leading to less time spent with all their loved ones.
Besides social events, you might find that a smaller home leads to cramped living conditions in your everyday life. While the smaller space is great for promoting family relationships, it might not be so good when you need a bit of ‘me time.’ If you value your space and having time to yourself, a smaller home could become a hindrance. Additionally, you might find you no longer have the space to pursue your hobbies or interests.
Also, a small home can soon become cluttered due to a lack of proper storage space, especially if you’re used to having cupboards galore. It can be a real struggle to adjust to a smaller space, and you might soon get frustrated that you can’t find space for all of your valued possessions. You might even end up having to get rid of things that you’d rather hold onto.
If you’re used to a larger home, downsizing will surely result in a number of lifestyle changes. The reduced space for storage will have an almost inevitable impact on food and clothes shopping. You may find you’ll need to plan each meal as you’ll have less refrigeration space to store goods for the long term—though this isn’t always a bad thing! In terms of clothes, you’ll probably have to cut down drastically since your wardrobe space will be more limited.
Additionally, it’s worth thinking about how downsizing could have an impact on how you spend your free time. Will you have the space to listen to music, watch a movie or read a book without disturbing, or being disturbed by the others in your home?
Possibly Not as Financially Rewarding as You Thought
A typical advantage to downsizing is the financial freedom that is generally gained, though this isn’t always the case. When you consider the costs of selling your current home, your profit margin might not be as big as you expected. Also, if you plan to move to a smaller home in a more expensive neighbourhood or city, you might actually end up paying more. Do your research and get your figures straight before assuming the best.
An Impact on Status?
Let’s face it, in the world we live in, big is generally considered better. The bigger your home, the fancier your car, and the more extravagant your lifestyle, the higher your perceived social ranking. If this kind of thing is important to you, you may struggle with where downsizing puts you on the great ladder of self-advancement. Think long and hard about whether you care that much about the image you project to the rest of the world. If you do, downsizing might dent your image irreparably.
As with so much in life, deciding whether downsizing is the right choice for you generally comes down to striking the right balance. There certainly are 2 sides to the coin, with numerous benefits to be gained despite the potential downsides. The best practice is to simply be aware of the pros and cons, think about how it will affect your life, and make an informed decision. As an experiment, you might consider renting a smaller place before deciding to buy one.
Advantages of Downsizing:
Depending on how much equity you’ve built up on your current home, you might be able to buy a smaller home outright, with cash to spare. This rewards you with spectacular financial freedom as you no longer need to worry about monthly mortgage payments.
Even if you do need to take out a mortgage, chances are you can afford a larger down payment and your monthly payments will be lower. This extra cash can be used in a number of ways, including adding to a savings account, travelling, indulging in a new hobby or simply enjoying your free time.
Less Cleaning, More Time
A smaller home naturally demands less of your time. Cleaning and maintaining your new, smaller home can be completed far quicker, leaving you free to enjoy the finer things in life. Whereas in a larger home you may have needed to hire help with cleaning, you’re more likely to be able to manage it yourself in your new one, saving money. In addition, with less space, you’re less likely to buy useless things you’ll never use, making it easier than ever to keep on top of decluttering.
It takes far less energy to heat a smaller home than a larger one. This reduces your utility bills drastically while improving your carbon footprint. Becoming more energy-efficient can be far easier after you’ve downsized, and the money you save on your bills can go on savings, hobbies or simply enjoying yourself.
When you downsize, you’re forced to declutter and get rid of all that junk that’s piled up. This is a great opportunity to sell, donate or bin all those things you never use any more. Once you’re in your smaller home, you may find you change your perspective on life slightly, focusing more on experiences and memories, rather than building up a collection of material possessions.
Opportunity to Diversify Assets
We’ve all heard the saying ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket.’ This is sage advice in terms of real estate, a market that is well-known for its fluctuations and downturns. If all of your money is tied up in one asset, i.e. your home, your financial security can be compromised if things do take a turn for the worse.
With a smaller home, you’re more likely to have cash available to invest in a diverse array of assets. Many such assets are likely to be far more fluid and accessible than real estate, allowing you to tap into your cash more easily when you need it most.
Intimate and Cozy
A large house can often feel rather lonely, even if there are a lot of people living there. With a smaller home, you’re encouraged to forge more intimate relationships with those you live with. For families, this is a great opportunity to bond, while couples may rekindle their romance as they begin to spend more time with one another. Additionally, a smaller home is fantastic for smaller, more intimate gatherings of friends and new neighbours.
The advantages to downsizing are numerous and clear, but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The lifestyle changes are not for everyone, and it’s well worth knowing the potential disadvantages before making a decision. Before you make your choice, check out the disadvantages of downsizing.
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