There are many times when downsizing a home makes sense. Empty nesters will often choose to downsize after their children are grown, and they no longer need a spacious family home. Sometimes families who face financial challenges will downsize to save money on their housing costs. Some homeowners may determine that they don’t need or want a large home and make a choice to downsize.

No matter the reason, if you’ve decided that it’s time to downsize, there are some mistakes you are going to want to avoid.

1. Failing to Declutter Before Downsizing

If you’re downsizing, your new home is going to be smaller than the one in which you currently live. Trying to move all of your belongings into a smaller space may be very frustrating for you. Before you list your home for sale and make a move, go through the decluttering process. You will be able to stage your current home better, and you’ll be able to move into your new one with less aggravation.

2. Accepting an Offer That’s Too Low

When you downsize, you are often in a position of owning your home completely or nearly completely. As a result, you don’t need to get a high offer, but don’t let that make you fall for the wrong offer. Talk to your real estate agent to make sure you understand what the fair market value for your home is, and hold out for a decent offer. One of the benefits of the downsizing process is that you don’t have to be in a hurry, so make sure you aren’t giving away too much equity when you accept your offer.

3. Not Considering Location

Location is a crucial factor in real estate, and you want to make sure the new home is in an area where you will feel comfortable. Think about the things around town that you enjoy most. Will your new neighborhood or home be convenient for them? For example, are you the type of person who likes to run to the grocery store regularly for a few ingredients, or does one trip per week or month work for you? The answers to these kinds of lifestyle questions will help you choose a neighborhood that will fit you well when you buy your new, smaller home.

Once you have a location in mind, start spending time in the area. Get to know the people at the local coffee shop. Take some time to explore the local library. Catch a movie at the movie theater. Get a sense of the vibe of the community to make sure it will fit you well.

4. Over-Estimating the Cost Savings

Most people choose to downsize to save money. Chances are you will save money by downsizing, but it is not a guarantee, and the cost savings may not be as high as you think. As you weigh the pros and cons of downsizing, you need to consider the cost of living in your new home compared to your old one.  Consider whether or not you will have a mortgage after living in a paid-off home for a while, property taxes, and the costs of maintaining or fixing up your new, smaller home. Make sure you have a realistic expectation of how much you stand to save.

5. Failing to Consider Your Lifestyle

Downsizing is about more than getting a smaller house. It is a move, and you are going to have to change some things about your lifestyle when you move. You must consider the aspects of your current lifestyle that are most important to you. As you make a move to your new home, ensure that it has those features, so you can continue enjoying the aspects of your lifestyle that you love most.

Downsizing can be a smart move. It can free up money to spend on other areas of your life, and it can make it easier for you to manage the overall care and upkeep of your home. If you’re considering making a move to downsize, take some time to research your options so you can avoid these mistakes. With the right plan, downsizing can make your life easier and more affordable.

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