Downsizing in Retirement: Things to Consider

Downsizing Your Home

Our retirement years are meant to be our years of relaxation and enjoyment – our Golden Years, if you will. We dream of the season in our lives where we get to enjoy holding our grand-babies and maybe even take up hobbies that we set aside years ago. A common situation that occurs during retirement is the need for downsizing. There are several factors to consider when implementing this. If you are thinking about downsizing, or have a loved one that you are trying to assist in this change, here are a few things to consider during this important lifestyle change.

Senior Couple Riding ScooterCosts

The financial burden of a larger home is usually the main reason for downsizing during retirement. The 5 bedroom, 3 bath house that you bought to raise your children in can feel so large and empty once they move away.  The up keep can be more than you can maintain. However, if you are looking to relocate to a more expensive part of town or another state, you will want to compare your cost of living currently to the averages in your new location. Factor in your mortgage, taxes, insurance, and utilities. Talk to your real estate agent to see what kind of equity you may have and the closing costs you may need to pay if you sell your home. Crunch the numbers thoroughly before moving forward in the downsizing process. You may find that financially it makes more sense to stay where you are at.

Are you on the same page?

After looking at the financial aspect of downsizing, be sure you and your spouse are on the same page and in agreement on your next steps. You have gone through a long life of challenges and celebrations together, continue as a team in this decision as well. If you are both in agreement that downsizing is a great option for you, wonderful! If not, then spend some time communicating your thoughts and weighing your options until you come to an understanding.

Emotional Effects

Leaving the home that you lived years of your life in can be an emotional process. Consider how you will feel starting new somewhere else, where your support system is, and closing this chapter of your life. Starting fresh can be a freeing and invigorating journey and downsizing could be a very welcome change. Take time to reflect on the process and decide if this is a positive change for you and your loved ones.

Other Financial Options

If leaving your home is too difficult, consider other financial options. If you have a basement or spare room, perhaps renting that space out would be beneficial. The income can help with your retirement savings and maybe help someone who needs a place to live.

The Process

If you do decide to move, consider the actual physical process. You will need to let go of some possessions and only pack what you plan to keep. Keep available space in mind as you won’t want to live in a cluttered house. It will feel very confined. Purging is essential.

You may have decades worth of possessions to sift through. Enlist loved ones and friends to help with sorting, packing and getting rid of what you no longer need. If you are short on hands, there are several moving services that can do everything for you. Relocating can be a stressful process, but if the end result is more freedom and comfort, then it’s worth the work.


These are just a few of the issues I have seen occur over the years when a client decides to downsize, but these are not all of them. If you have any questions or concerns about downsizing and would like some advice on the process of selling and buying a home, I would love to help you in any way that I can!  My aim is to assist my clients in making the best decisions for themselves and opening doors to new possibilities along the way!

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Posted in Retirement, Senior Citizen
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