Sometimes it’s possible to have too much house.
When your children move out of the home and you become an empty nester, you might find yourself asking a few questions: “do I need all this space?” “Are we better off in a smaller home?”
Each year, thousands of Americans face that dilemma. Many choose to downsize, selling their larger home and moving into a smaller, comfortable home that better suits their needs.
But how do you know when it’s time to make a move? And what steps should you follow before you do so? We’ll break it down for you so you’re fully informed.
- Know your home’s worth
Even if you’re not thinking about selling your home, it’s important to keep an eye on its value. For the vast majority of homeowners, a house is their biggest asset, the biggest driver of wealth. You always want to know what your biggest asset is worth.
Over the past year, many markets have seen home prices rise. That four-bedroom home you bought in 1998 might be worth two or three times as much now, maybe even more. You won’t know unless you look at the value of your home and see what your equity is.
Many websites have estimates for the value, but these aren’t always accurate. They don’t take into consideration the condition of your home, the number of new appliances and its size relative to the homes being sold (the main driver of home estimates). To get a more specific number, talk to a trusted real estate agent. Many have email services that can keep you updated on sales around your home and give you a more specific estimate.
- Consider your needs
Here’s a simple question: how much of your home do you use? Maybe you have a few extra bedrooms or a dining room that is empty except for special occasions. Maybe you have hundreds, or even thousands, of square feet in your home that is left unused.
Unused space costs money. You must pay to cool it in the summer and heat it in the winter. You must pay to keep it maintained and expend energy to clean it. With that in mind, you must ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
While you’re in the process of answering that question, ask yourself how much space you actually need. Perhaps you can get by with a two-bedroom home or condo, saving a bedroom for when you have guests over. Perhaps you can shed some of that unused area and create a more efficient home.
- Consider the financial implications
It’s no secret that a smaller home usually costs less money. Therefore, when you downsize, you’re liable to walk out with a nice chunk of change in your pocket. You’ll also lower your property tax burden.
Many older Americans have a large amount of equity in their home. Some have even paid it off in full. That means that when they go to purchase another home, they have more flexibility in how it’s financed.
Walking away with a large profit can greatly impact your quality of life in your retirement years. It gives you more flexibility, more freedom and more security. It’s enough money to change some people’s lives.
- Don’t be afraid to declutter
We all accumulate things over the years that we have no use for. When you downsize, you’re going to have to get rid of some of it as you try to fit everything in your new home. Once again, you must consider your needs when you declutter. You must ask yourself what you need in a smaller home, and what you can leave behind.
It also represents a good time to sell excess furniture or older items in a garage sale. Maybe you can donate some clothes or furniture too and use it as a tax write-off. At the very least, it’s a good time to take inventory of your current situation and leave unnecessary items behind as you forge your future.
- Look for an active social scene
Everyone wants great neighbors. Everyone wants to live in a neighborhood where they know one another, where they look after one another. Everyone seeks friendships and connections.
For older Americans, it may be difficult to find those connections if a neighborhood skews toward a younger crowd. It might be harder to find people that you can identify with. While it’s certainly important to find a home that fits your needs, it’s also important to find a neighborhood that does too.
If you’re looking for a vibrant social scene, one in which you can connect with other seniors while still maintaining a strong sense of privacy, then a Sagora Senior Living community may be the perfect fit. Sagora’s Independent Living communities offer apartment-style living with amenities like on-site fitness centers, scheduled lifestyle events and three restaurant-quality meals each day.
Select communities also have cottages, where you can maintain your own space while still enjoying a high standard of living in a friendly, vibrant community.
Call your local Sagora Senior Living community today to find your perfect fit!