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On the fence about downsizing? It’s easy to see why. There are so many advantages to both, yet there can only be one answer. While we won’t pretend to know what home is best for you and your lifestyle, here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider when downsizing to a smaller home.


Save money

Who wouldn’t like to have more money? If you ask that question to a crowd of about 100 people, the only hand that would shoot up is probably the smart aleck of the audience. Most people would like to have more money, and downsizing can help many get there. With less of a house payment and the costs that come along with maintaining it—you’ll have more money.

You can use that money to invest in real estate, put toward your retirement, or take that trip you’ve been dying to take. While the housing market does have some power in how much money you will save especially if you are planning on buying with the money made from selling your house, overall the costs could be significantly less.

Get Rid of Items

While many people have garages, they are being used to house storage more than they are to hold cars. In fact, a study recently showed that 82% of Americans have garages, but only 15% of them use it to store their cars. Why is this? Because people have so much “stuff” to store! How often do you use the stuff you are storing? If it has been over a year, it’s probably the time to toss it, and what better excuse than downsizing! Downsizing forces you to reckon with the piles of heirlooms, memories, and junk, but it ultimately lightens your load.

Easier to Clean

Smaller space means smaller amounts of cleaning. For you Saturday cleaners out there—downsizing means giving you back your weekend. While chores build character, who can complain when the clean up after dinner takes ten minutes compared to the hour it did before? Downsizing allows you to set down your duster and enjoy a hike, time with your children, or catch up on your favorite show.

More Manageable

Having much means spending resources on protecting much. For example, many have a storage unit on top of a large home—just for storing their extra items. Downsizing reduces the stress of babysitting the things you don’t use or need. It also allows you to easily find those things that you do need and use more often. You can keep an inventory of your things better, and you know that the things you are spending resources protecting are the things that are most worth protecting to you.

More Time with Others

A smaller home means more shared space. You may find yourself eating dinner with your family more often and conversing with them on a more frequent basis because you are in the same room. Don’t be surprised if your relationships increase and more problem-solving takes place.


Save Money?

While downsizing has the potential to save you money, it really depends on the house you move to. If you are living in a 2,000 square foot house in Iowa and you downsize to a 900 square foot apartment in New York City, for example, the cost of living increases and your house isn’t as affordable. It’s the same if you chose to live in a community that has an HOA—the prices and fees may very well increase to the point where it doesn’t make much sense to downsize.

Less Stuff

A smaller space means fewer items. While this can be great for many reasons, the bulk shopper might have a bone to pick with this system. Your Sunday china might not be practical for a small space, and you’ll definitely have to adapt to a different lifestyle. If eliminating much of your bulky furniture and holiday decorations doesn’t appeal to you, then you may want to take a hard look at whether downsizing is right for you. If you decide it is, you will need to come up with some creative storage ideas to help you feel at ease.

No Room for Guests

If your home is the hub for out of town visitors, downsizing may put a damper on that. While you can get creative with your furniture and have a pull-out sofa or futon for guests, you won’t be able to offer the accommodations they’re probably used to at your house.

Shared Space

Shared space may be great for shared family time, but it can also become quite bothersome if you need some alone time. While you will still have a variety of spaces and can certainly take some time in nature if you need to really be alone, it won’t be as convenient to get to as another end of the house.

While the amount of space, costs, and time that are factored into downsizing should be factors you consider when downsizing, it’s important to take into consideration the type of lifestyle that you want and need. A real estate expert can help you find the space that fits your needs the best and will help you determine if downsizing is a good option for you.

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Ben Mizes

Ben Mizes is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save thousands on commission. He's an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed agent in Missouri. Ben enjoys writing about real estate, investing, personal finance, and financial freedom. He's a serial entrepreneur, having run several successful startups before Clever Real Estate. Ben's writing has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Realtor News, CNBC, and BiggerPockets.

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