The term downsizing carries a negative connotation for many, but the benefits of downsizing are huge. Having a significant equity stored up in a mostly unused home is not beneficial to the home owner, especially when this
limits your ability to change careers, retire, travel, or simply follow your dream.
Downsizing often means selling a home that might need repairs or have deferred maintenance which requires investing money into the home before obtaining the optimum sale price. However, completing this work on your existing home is a very good investment in improving the eventual results of you wish to downsize.
Understand what your options are by looking at alternatives. You may always love that big old drafty house but a newer condo may actually be much a better fit for you today. Compare the costs of heating and cooling a new home with that of your older home. Saving thousands on utility bills might make a big difference in your life not to mention your comfort.
Look at alternative potential locations for your new home. Priorities change over time. 20 years ago being close to great schools may have been important to you but may not matter much today. Think of not needing your auto to run every errand or just the convenience of living closer to the neighborhood amenities you enjoy the most.
The features of your home may have been essential when you bought it but may no longer work for you. Multiple bedrooms for children can be replaced by a well appointed guestroom in a new home. A formal dining room may no longer be a priority. How you entertain has likely changed over the years. Let your imagination take over for a bit and start visualizing yourself in a new setting.
Once you’ve made the decision to downsize consider rewarding yourself with upgrades. Take an audit of your current possessions and reduce them down to those most precious which you wish to carry with you to your new home. Moving household objects to which you are no longer so attached into your new space squanders a rare opportunity to upgrade. Huge matchy-matchy dining room sets, bedroom suites, and bulky living room furniture pieces may be traded-up for new furnishings less demanding of space.
Hire a designer consultant to edit through your home and avoid moving items that won’t work in your new space. I have walked through entire homes with seller who ended up taking almost nothing to their new home. The pieces that make the cut become the inspiration for the new design and can be made to stand out in the new setting. A good designer will also help you see hidden potential in your furnishings like outdated upholstery on an otherwise great sofa or chair.
Lightening the load for your new home can include parting with pieces which you have previously enjoyed. Possessions are not precious simply because you inherited them or receive them as gifts. If it doesn’t work in your new home and you don’t have an heir who adores the piece, then I recommend that you take it to an auction house or donate it. Better those objects be loved by a new owner than become unnecessary clutter in your new home. Your needs and comfort come as first priorities in your new home.