Downsizing Homes

by Maribeth Lynch

photo of downsizing from a larger home to a smaller one

How Can You “Rightsize” Your Next Home?

Earlier this year, I shared exciting information about several new mid-century homes on the market in Shrewsbury, many of them within walking distance of the center of town. As you might imagine, those properties drew a lot of interest based on their location – but they also appealed to some prospective homebuyers because of their size and amount of yard space.

There has been a recent trend among certain homeowners toward downsizing to a more manageable lifestyle. While there are plenty of buyers out there who are still looking for large homes for their families, there are many families that are finding they require less space than before. The reasons vary – children growing and moving out into the world, a desire to abandon large-scale material possessions and concentrate on a more experiential lifestyle focusing on hobbies or travel, or a heightened interest in lower home maintenance and increased energy efficiency. But whatever the reason, there has been a demonstrable surge in interest in curating a smaller living space rather than sustaining a sprawling property.

Fortunately, a town like Shrewsbury has many smaller homes, and a lot of them are in excellent condition, having been lovingly maintained and updated throughout the years by diligent homeowners. There are also condominium units on the market for those who desire a simpler lifestyle. If you’re in the market for a new home, there are a few considerations to address when determining how to best “rightsize” your next home purchase.

1)Savings. What are the financial benefits of moving to a smaller home? What will you save on your monthly mortgage payments? How much will you net on the sale of your current home? If more money in your pocket is appealing to you, are you willing to give up some of the space you have now?

2) Needs. What are your “must-haves?” Maybe you don’t need as many bedrooms as you currently have, but an updated kitchen or bathroom is important to you. What about a garage? Storage space? What kind of yard do you wish to maintain? What about location?

3) Effort. Are you willing to put in the work necessary to pare down the number of belongings in your everyday space? Swapping a large home for a smaller one involves hard choices about what to keep, sell, recycle, and donate. One solution for items that you don’t currently use but may wish to access in the future is to rent a storage unit. There are several options nearby. This be an involved project, so you should think about whether you have the resources and energy to systematically sift through all of your possessions and make some hard choices. However, that effort can also be a big payoff in the long run when you enjoy the simplicity of less cleaning, yard work, and general maintenance.

4) Ambiance versus Maintenance. Many homeowners appreciate the “charm factor” that accompanies older, smaller homes. Nuances like built-in cabinetry and pocket doors outweigh the potential pitfalls of maintaining an aging house. But for those who value ease of life over architectural aesthetics, a gleaming new condo might be a better choice than a freestanding home that was built 100 years ago.

5) Self-Perception. I know that it can be hard to admit, but our homes are extensions of ourselves. We maintain them, decorate them, spend long hours in them, and ultimately, they become reflections of who we are. If your current home serves at least in part as a status symbol, you may want to rethink moving into a humbler dwelling. While a lot of people are bucking the convention that money can buy happiness, it’s fair to say that our egos can be intertwined with our living space.

6) Routines. This is an important question to ask when assessing any potential move. What impact will your new home have on your lifestyle? Whether it is a question of your children changing schools, having to shop regularly at a new supermarket, or a change in space for entertaining, a move affects many of our established routines.

If you have thought through the benefits and drawbacks of moving to a smaller home and it is something that you would be interested to explore, please contact my team and me. We will be happy to talk you through the process of finding the home that is the right size for you.

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