Cheryl Shurtz

Managing Broker

Downsizing Trend Gains Steam as Homeowners Opt for Less Space

By Keith Loria


As we continue to move away from the era of the McMansion, downsizing has become a popular trend in real estate markets across the country. The trend has gained a lot of momentum within the past few years as well, as homeowners are being forced to downsize due to the financial problems that have wreaked havoc on our nation and the housing industry as a whole.

No matter what the reason is behind your need to downsize, if you’re ready to trade in some space, a good way to start the process is by creating a list of expenses and figuring out what you truly can and can’t afford. This will enable you to pick a home that will fit your needs now and well into the future. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a situation where you may end up in financial trouble a few years down the road.

While trading in a large home for less space may seem like the only option, it’s important to note that there may be other solutions that can keep you in your current home. For instance, some homeowners have supplemented their income by renting out the extra space in their home. If this is an avenue you’re considering, be sure to research all local zoning laws and consult with a real estate attorney to make sure it is legal where you live.

Faulty finances aside, there are numerous other reasons why homeowners choose to downsize. Some get divorced, some are widowed, or as some people get older and the kids move out, these empty nests become too big or too hard to care for. Other factors include the desire for a more simplified and stress-free style of living without snow to shovel or grass to cut, which is especially true with seniors.

“Before any move, focus on how you want to live. People don’t think enough about why they’re moving,” said Mary Jo Zeller, director at Gero Solutions, which manages moves for seniors. “Increasing numbers of downsizers these days want to exchange the worry and expense of maintaining a large property for the luxury of low maintenance and the opportunity for more leisure time.”

One of the main barriers to downsizing are the emotional ties to the family home. However, deciding where to move and what style property will suit your lifestyle best can be just as daunting.

During the process of downsizing you may be surprised at how attached you have become to your possessions and how difficult it might seem to part with them. A good way to avoid becoming overwhelmed throughout the process is to start clearing out your home well in advance. Instead of getting rid of everything you won’t need in your new home, put the items to good use by donating or recycling them. You can even take advantage of eBay or give things to friends, family and neighbors.

To make sure all the items you plan on bringing to your new home fit, decorators recommend sketching floor plans of your new home to figure out how everything will fit. This way you won’t encounter any surprises when moving day arrives.

For more information about downsizing, contact our office today.

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