For many people, a large, sprawling home is part of the American Dream. But with additional space comes bigger utility bills and oodles of upkeep. Depending on your lifestyle, you may suddenly find yourself with more house than you actually need or want.
While the thought of moving to a modest home can be daunting, you don't need to sell off all your belongings and join the tiny home craze to downsize effectively. Also, as you shed square footage, you'll find that you gain a range of benefits that make a big difference to some homeowners.
Wondering if it might be time to look for a smaller abode? Ask yourself these seven questions and you'll have your answer.
1. Is routine maintenance taking up too much of your time?
If you find that your weekends suddenly slip away as you attempt to keep up with your landscaping or just maintain your home's interior, you may be ready for a little less housework. Sure, you could hire someone to take care of these tasks for you, but that's less money in your wallet.
2. Do you have too much house?
Are there some rooms in your home that you don't enter for days at a time? Even if you're not using them, you're still paying to heat or cool them. (And did we mention dust and vacuum them as well?) Unless you're planning to try your hand at AirBNB and rent out a room or two, you may want to think about downsizing.
3. Are your house-related expenses eating away at your savings?
If your income has shrunk due to retirement or an unforeseen unemployment, you don't want to have to tap into your savings each month just to make ends meet. A smaller house will require less maintenance while lowering your utility bills. You can also consider downsizing in an area where the cost of living is lower so your overall expenses will decrease.
4. Has your home appreciated substantially?
Are homes in your 'hood fetching top dollar? This could be the time to lock in your profit and
add that windfall to your retirement savings. Or, spend a little and see the world beyond your picket fence. Vacationing is easier when you leave behind a smaller home -- especially one like a condo or townhouse where outdoor maintenance is handled for you.
5. Are you feeling isolated?
If the kids have moved away and your neighbors have also downsized, you may feel like you're the last man standing on your block. If the only person you recognize in your area is your mail carrier and that leaves you feeling isolated, it may be time to plan a move to a place where you'll see some familiar faces.
6. Has your lifestyle changed?
Even if you once reveled in the majesty of your two-story entryway, if the thought of climbing 28 stairs to get to your bedroom now leaves you wanting to sleep on the couch in the living room, it's time to move. As many homeowners get older, they seek the ease and convenience of one-level living. If your house has become too large for you to comfortably and safely maneuver, make a change.
7. Are you sick of having too much stuff?
Whether you're looking to explore the minimalist lifestyle or just wondering when and how you've accumulated so much stuff, you may want to consider streamlining your belongings. Holding a garage or estate sale is a great first step when thinking about downsizing. Organizations looking for donations abound online, with many offering free pickup and removal. Living in a tighter space forces you to really take stock of each item you allow through the door. Though it seems counterintuitive, having a smaller home may force you to really stay organized and not let clutter dominate your dwelling.