What You Need To Know Before You Downsize

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The new tiny house movement has been gaining popularity among millennials, baby boomers, and everyone in between.  Have you seen the show Tiny House Hunters on HGTV yet?  Not sure how they can form a show around looking at tiny houses since it takes all of 5 minutes to tour it.  All you need to do is spin around, and you’ll see the entire house.  Don’t spin too quickly or you’ll miss the 1 foot wide closet!  I yell every time the show airs, “I don’t even like myself enough to be stuck in a 200 square foot room, whoops house, for the rest of my life.” 

Sorry had to get that off my chest, now what I really want to write about today is downsizing.  Maybe a tiny house isn’t quite for you, I’m sure the divorce rate skyrockets for couples living in a tiny house.  But downsizing can be as simple as a smaller yard or less bedrooms to clean.  It can be having a master bedroom on one floor so you can close off the second floor when you don’t have guests.  All of these “downsizing” factors can save you money.  That’s right I said it, money, money, money, in your pocket!  Think about it, smaller yard equals lower property taxes, less lawn maintenance, less snow removal, landscaping, and more time for yourself by the way.  Being able to close off a second floor will lower your electrical and heating bills, plus less cleaning.  You don’t need to downsize to such an extreme as a one room loft to free up your bills and your time. 

Does your excuse about downsizing have to do with your children?  Do not worry; they will make it through this transition.  If they make you feel guilty, simply say they can chip in with the monthly maintenance bills or come over every weekend to mow the lawn and clean the house.  I’m sure that will take care of that.  I bet you are like my parents who had a ton of family memories in the house I was born in, and it will be difficult to leave a home you raised your family in.  Not to mention how much you will have to sort through, pack, and get rid of during the process.  It can be a time to cleanse your belongings, really think about what is important to you, and what is just stuff.

To help you with this process, here are some tips and insights to think about:

  1. Once you decide to downsize, stop buying stuff!  You will have plenty of items to pack and sort through, so please do not add to it.
  2. Keep the end goal in mind, it can be a long and emotionally process.  Remembering why you are doing it will help you keep your sanity.
  3. You’re value as a human is not defined by the house you live in, you are worth more than your house and possessions.
  4. Put a plan in place on how you will buy your new and smaller house.  You will need to get the numbers together on how much to borrow, how much to put down, and what type of mortgage to get.
    1. Should you do a 15 year mortgage or a 30 year mortgage?
    2. Will you have an HOH fee?  How will that impact your monthly expenses?
  5. Will you need to rent a storage unit?  Make sure to budget that added expense when you put a plan together.
  6. If you are relocating as well as downsizing, try renting before you buy.  You want to make sure you like the new city or town before you make a major purchase such as a house.
    1. We know people who have bought only to sell less than a year later because they hate where they moved to.
    2. Don’t follow your children just because you’re children moved.  They might not stay there long!  We’ve seen this too.


hen is a good time to downsize?  I was speaking with a woman the other night about the idea of downsizing and buying a townhouse or condo.  Her oldest two daughters are already in college, and her youngest will finish high school in a few years.  For her situation it made sense to wait until her youngest went to college, so she could finish high school.  Other people want to downsize right before retirement or after a few years into retirement.  Waiting until after you retire will allow you to have more time to get your house prepped for resale and to organize the last 10, 15, or 20 years of your life in that house.  No matter how organized and de-cluttered your house is, it will take a toll on you!  If you are getting divorced or are recently divorced, keeping the family home can be a burden to you, your money, and your time.  I know how hard it can be to leave the house you created a life and a family together in, but is it worth jeopardizing your own retirement over?  Why don’t you stay in the house for a year or two, so you can really see how much the upkeep will cost you?  A year later you and your children might be ready for a fresh start.

Tiny house living or not, downsizing can make a lot of sense for your situation.  Maybe you want to trade space for downtown living.  Or you just want to have less time doing house chores and more time traveling or doing something fun, anything besides cleaning!  Whatever your reason is, get a plan in place with a time horizon.  When do you want this change to occur, what are your priorities, how will you fund your new house purchase, and what is your budget?  There are a ton of items to consider, but do not worry we are here to help.  Our Goal Planning and Monitoring program can show you not just 1 but 5 different scenarios for your downsizing options. To schedule your downsizing session now, email Jessica.Weaver@raymondjames.com now or click the button below!

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appy Downsizing!
essica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Wealth Advisor

Raymond James financial advisors do not solicit or offer residential mortgage products and are unable to accept any residential mortgage loan applications or to offer or negotiate terms of any such loan.  The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete and it does not constitute a recommendation.  Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James.