At the cusp of a New Year, it’s common to resolve to make some serious lifestyle changes. Sometimes those changes include downsizing from a large home, with more belongings, to a smaller, simpler life.
Maybe your adult children have left for college, or are beginning to create families of their own. Maybe your dream of retiring and traveling more will naturally result in less time at the homestead. Maybe you’re resolved to Marie Kondo your life by living with less.
According to Brinkoetter Realtor, Aimee Dial, knowing what you want is half the battle.
“First thing I ask my clients: do you want to downsize your mortgage, your house size, your yard size, the maintenance (older homes), or is it a combination of those things? I think many people hear downsize and automatically assume a smaller house.
But generally speaking, I think downsizing the yard and possibly the number of unused bedrooms and wasted rooms is important (such as a finished basement). That doesn’t mean you should skimp on main level space just for the sake of downsizing.”
Recommends Dial, “I'd suggest an open concept so that you still have space for family gatherings, but also, it's easier for accessibility if you plan for this to be your final home. You might also consider an eating area that allows for a table to be extended, a larger living area instead of multiple living spaces so the family can all be together, and a home that provides main-level laundry.”
Laughs Dial, “Basically, when a client tells me they want to downsize, that just means there are a lot more questions to ask.”
For some people, downsizing means freedom, both emotionally and financially. However, it’s still important to consider how you and your partner or other family members function on the daily. For example, if you and your spouse have been watching TV separately for 25 years, is this realistically the time you’ll start agreeing on shows to watch together? Do you and your partner both go to work at the same time every morning, and if so, are you accustomed to sharing the bathroom? It’s important to keep these lifestyle nuances in mind when considering the amount of space you will need.
And while the idea of living with less may sound appealing in theory, it may mean some sacrifice. Your grandfather’s grand piano, or your grandmother’s hope chest, or the armchair you saved for when you bought your first apartment - choosing to live with less space may mean parting with sentimental pieces.
“Begin the process of downsizing by choosing specific items that you want. Then asking your children or siblings or other family members what they want,” recommends Brinkoetter Realtor, Colleen Brinkoetter. “After that, everything else can be donated, given away or tossed.”
In preparation for a downsize or major de-clutter, Realtor Jenny Lambdin asks every client a basic question: “Have you used it, worn it, or needed it in the past 6 months?”
Says Tom Brinkoetter, Designated Managing Broker and Owner of Brinkoetter Realtors, “The choice to downsize isn’t always easy. But it might surprise you to learn how freeing it is to live more simply and with less. It’s something I’ve assisted clients with over the years, and something I’ve experienced, firsthand, for myself.”
Still feeling overwhelmed? Don’t. Our team is always on the ready to help you weigh your options, talk through the ups and downs, and listen to your hopes for the future.
It’s what we do.
(And we’re good at what we do.)