There comes a time when a big house with lots of stuff becomes too much, or it represents just way too much of your net worth, making downsizing a tantalizing option.
Tangible benefits are easy to see – like less maintenance work, lower utilities, repair and insurance bills, and more “free time” perhaps as a result.
Downsizing isn't easy though because it also means reducing “stuff” and changing a mindset to living in a smaller place. Furthermore, moving brings its own financial considerations, as there will usually be a substantial cost in shifting premises.
It is often the “stuff” that makes us stay though. Accumulated treasures and possessions - accumulated memories - these things are often what turned a mere house into a “home”. At some point for most homeowners though the majority of the house is being used by the stuff, and not by the owners. Much of today’s large house becomes wasted space. It's not unusual to find amongst older people that they are spending 80 percent of their lives in 20 percent of their house. So these are perhaps signs that it is time to consider the idea of downsizing seriously:
- You have too much capital tied up in your residence and not enough cashflow for living
- Your stuff uses more of the house than you do
- You use less than half the house for actually living in generally
If you are ticking any of these and beginning to think about downsizing then begin by thinking about how you use your house and where you spend most of your time, rather than getting caught up in thinking it is all about “size”. Less square metres is the goal in downsizing, but those fewer square metres of house need to be in a floor plan that gives you quality of the life and the space you want for living comfortably.
Downsizing can (or should?) free up some of the equity that's locked in a home, and with good planning and financial advice that should improve a household's cash flow.
Freeing up equity and generating higher living income is just one part of the equation though, and it is vital to your happiness and quality of life that the right size and layout of a new house is chosen for you and your “stuff”.
Happiness is about more than just the money.
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