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Determining Your Lifestyle Needs before Downsizing

The average American lifestyle is not only very busy, but it is also full of unique experiences and challenges.

So it is perhaps not too surprising that you need to have a house or apartment that reflects your personal lifestyle, and that of your family. Having a larger home is great if you need the space and has the income to pay for it, but if your lifestyle changes, it can also drastically change your need for all of that space. This is why downsizing, or moving from one house or apartment to a smaller one, is an excellent choice for some individuals and families.

Why might someone consider downsizing based on his or her lifestyle?

Many different factors can contribute to finding a new home, or staying where you are. Things like finances and aesthetic preferences are extremely important. However, so is the lifestyle that makes you and your family are comfortable. Different people have different preferences and needs in a home. For example, a college student probably only needs a small apartment, while a gardener might need a house with a large enough backyard to fit a garden into. If your home does not fit with your lifestyle, it may be time to make a change. However, it is also critical to remember the good and bad sides of doing so.

Making a Pros & Cons List for Your Current Home

In order to get a better idea of what your lifestyle is and how well your home meets your needs, you can make a list of your house’s pros and cons. Consider the following advantages of downsizing:

  • Room to grow

Your lifestyle can change dramatically if you have kids, or if your older kids move back in with you. What might be considered extra space now might come in handy later on when you have more people in the home.

  • Tradition and comfort

While homes are a financial responsibility, they also have memories and emotions tied to them. Your old home may hold sentimental value, and you may have a good rapport with your neighbors and local clubs.

  • Previous investments

While you may be far away from fully paying off your mortgage, you have likely done a lot of work on your current house/apartment to make it better than it was when you first moved in. If you are in the middle of renovations or a fun project like a garden or patio, it can be difficult to walk away from those things to downsize somewhere else.

For the negatives, these might also come into play:

  • Too much space

Not only can it feel like too much room is going to waste in a house, but it can also be a pain to clean and maintain all of it. A smaller house or apartment would give you fewer responsibilities.

  • Too expensive

Unless you choose to switch to an in-demand house or apartment in a busy city area, getting a smaller home will lower your monthly costs. If you are paying too much for your current rent, mortgage or insurance, downsizing can help you pay less (and put more of that extra money in your pocket).

  • Too much of the same thing

While some people like continuity in their lives, others can get bored of staying in the same place for too long. This factor is very highly dependent on your personal tastes – but if you have lived in your current home for years and feel as though you have grown complacent, a fresh move may be just what you need.

If you have reviewed these factors carefully, you can have a better idea of whether or not downsizing makes sense for your family. But, it is also important to keep in mind that downsizing can bring with it unforeseen challenges as well. While the financial burden of a smaller house or apartment may be less, and it may fit more closely with your lifestyle now, remember that you might have less room to grow and that lifestyles can change.

Why Location Matters in Determining Lifestyle Needs

If you choose to downsize, do so in a location that better suits your family’s lifestyle. Finances and the appropriate space and style are important, but locations should also play a major role in finding your ideal home. This is because you should be viewing your new home/apartment not as an investment for the future, but as the place that you want to live in today.

Of course, there are so many different sub-factors that go into the location of your new home. Yes, you should generally like the neighborhood that your new home is in, as well as the overall city that you will be living through on a regular basis. Other components, such as the school district, vicinity to your family/friends, and your front/back view can have a major influence on how much you enjoy your new move. Downsizing does mean sacrificing a little bit (especially regarding space), but it should end up being more of an overall positive experience than a negative one.

How can I make my final decision about whether or not to downsize?

When you are ready to make the final determination about whether downsizing would fit well into your lifestyle, it can be helpful to consider the following questions:

  • Does my family currently have an excess of room, and can we afford to comfortably live in a smaller space?
  • Is my family willing and prepared to pack and move?
  • Are there any circumstances that might make leaving our current home inopportune?
  • Am I going to benefit financially from this move, and be able to use that extra money every month to benefit myself and my family?
  • Is the location that I am considering for my downsized home going to enrich the quality of my family’s lifestyle more than my current location does?

Once you are able to answer all of these questions, you can decide whether or not you are leaning towards downsizing, or staying where you are. Downsizing is certainly not for everyone, but it can be an excellent tool for many to utilize at some point in their lives.

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