Downsizing Your Home? Some Questions To Consider

Large homes are great, but many couples find them to be too much to keep up with after the kids are out of the house. Couple that with the urge to travel more regularly and spend more on that instead of the upkeep for a largely unused house, and you’ve got the starting point for downsizing.

Downsizing can definitely make sense from an insurance and financial perspective, but before you take that step, first ask yourself the following questions.


Is downsizing the right call?

In a recent post for Allstate, contributor Nicole Markle takes a look at downsizing as it relates to the Atlanta area. While she advocates the value in a change of scenery, she also understands the sentimentality that goes in to home ownership.

Markle describes downsizing as a way to “unyoke yourself from the maintenance headaches and costs that come with owning a bigger home,” but warns that “a long-held home can hold important memories, which, for some people, can be an emotional attachment that is difficult to break. Regardless of which camp you fall in, think the pros and cons through, and talk with friends, family and trusted advisers before making a decision.”


What type of home is the right type of home?

If downsizing includes searching for a new home and not just an apartment or retirement community, “it’s important to determine what type of lifestyle you want,” Markle notes. With a condominium lifestyle, you get an escape from yard work and major maintenance. “They can also offer a range of options when it comes to floor plans and amenities like swimming pools and workout facilities, and usually at a lower purchase price than single-family homes,” she adds.

Similar to condos, the town home is found within a larger nest, or complex, of homes. These, however, are closer to single-family homes in styling with two stories (at least) and individual roofs. “You’ll also enjoy ownership of the land your unit is built on, along with any garages or small yards that come with it,” Markle says, adding that town homes “are popular with retirees because they can offer more space than condos while still limiting property maintenance and lawn-care needs.”

Last but not least, there is the one-story home, preferred by over-50 buyers, according to the National Association of Home Builders reports. These typically have open floor plans, modern kitchens, large master bedrooms and easy-to-maintain outdoor spaces are key items on these buyers’ priority lists.


What will become of my possessions?

The first thing you need to do when it comes to your possessions, is decide what you wish to keep and what you want to discard. Try to make discarded items functional. Sell them on eBay or a garage sale for the most return on investment. If there is anything you’re unsure of, consider a small storage space, which you can rent for $50 per month or cheaper. Still, in downsizing, the idea is to simplify your life, so resolve to make a storage unit a temporary thing if you can, by taking any free moments to decide a “final fate” for the items you wish to keep.


In Summary

After you’ve considered the questions above, meet with your insurance agent and discuss a plan moving forward. Since you won’t have as much space to take care of, you probably won’t need to carry as much coverage, and that can result in significant savings over time.

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