The Advantages of Downsizing Your Empty Nest
Let’s say you’re in your 40’s or 50’s, the kids are at college, have moved out and have homes of their own. You’ve been an empty nester for a few years and your house is paid for. You’ve talked about downsizing your home, but are wondering if it’s really worth the effort.
Some homeowners feel quite comfortable having settled into the routine and location of the family home. After all, after raising a family under one roof, it can be difficult to let go of memories and tackle a new move. The idea of a smaller home can seem confining to some. But if you love a challenge, long for a change of scenery, and like the thought of simplifying your life, consider the advantages of downsizing your home.
A smaller home means less work inside and out -- less yard work, less clutter. In this case, less is more.
Fewer chores mean more leisure time to spend with your partner or on yourself. If you’re an empty nester who enjoys free time, downsizing is the perfect way to get more of it. Maybe now is the time to make the move to that beach house or small cottage you’ve been dreaming of.
Profit from selling your home
If the home you’re selling is paid for, then buying a smaller, cheaper home will automatically put money in your bank account. You can use the profit as a safety net for retirement, or to take a vacation, or to spend on the kids.
Even before you begin to put your home on the market and make the big move to downsize, there are home improvements you can make that will add value to your home and increase your profit:
1. Paint. This may sound simple, but a fresh coat of paint, or the right paint, interior and exterior, could make or break a home sale. For just a few hundred dollars, you can add value that could be worth a few thousand dollars.
2. New or repaired roof. A new or repaired roof is a solid home improvement to make, since almost every potential home buyer looks at and asks about the condition of the roof.
3. New or repaired flooring. The floors are just about the first thing people notice when looking at homes to buy. If you have older carpet, consider replacing it, or removing the carpet if there are hardwood floors underneath. If hardwood flooring, make sure it looks its best. It may need repairing or cleaning with products made especially for hardwood floors.
4. Low-cost landscaping. You don’t have to be a professional landscaper to add a few potted plants or pretty flowers. Make your home as inviting as possible, without going overboard. You don’t want your yard looking too “busy.”
5. Add something brand new. This could include a dishwasher, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, crown molding, shutters, hot water heater, etc.
6. Make your home look bigger than it is. How? By using white or light paint, keeping clutter off the walls, floors, and corners; and by decorating tastefully but sparsely. You can also let in a lot of light, or add a large mirror to one wall.
Besides the profit you’ll make from the sale of your home when you downsize, there are ongoing costs you can cut:
Utilities: A smaller home, especially one that is semi-solar powered, usually means lower utility bills.
Property taxes: No one likes paying taxes, and a smaller home means lower property taxes.
HOA fees: Paying lower HOA fees will be a relief to your budget.
Homeowner’s insurance: A smaller home normally means that you pay less in home insurance, but shop around for the best policy.
Realizing the financial and practical benefits of downsizing your current home can add new meaning to this milestone in your life.