Your kids have all moved out, you’re enjoying retirement and thinking it might be time for a change of scenery. Most retirees choose to downsize their homes, but some feel that upsizing is what’s right for them. Let’s look at some things to consider before choosing whether to upsize or downsize.
Maybe you’re feeling like you’ve just got too much house to maintain now that it’s just you, or you and your partner living in a house that once held all your children as well. Those empty rooms are sitting unused and collecting dust. The large yard your kiddos once played tag in is now a pain to mow, and no one really goes out there to enjoy it anymore. If any of this resonates with you, downsizing might be the way to go.
On the flip side, perhaps you only had one kid (or none) and the house you’ve lived in during your working years was modest. Now that you and your partner are both retired, you’re both home for most of the day and you’re realizing you’re a little cramped in this house. Maybe you’ve always wanted to plant a garden, but you never had the time or yard space to do so. Perhaps you’re thinking now you’d like to entertain but you really need more room to fit all your guests. If this sounds like you, consider upsizing in your retirement.
It might seem obvious that downsizing will be more cost effective. However, that’s not necessarily true. You have to consider the way the market has changed from what it was when you purchased your current home. Also take into consideration if the area you’re looking at buying in is a more expensive area or you’re looking at newer homes. All these things could actually make your bills go up, not down. Retirees who are choosing to upsize are looking for homes in areas with a smaller price per square foot. Now that they don’t necessarily have to have a home in the right school district or one close to work, they’re able to look at the homes on the outskirts of town or out of the city, to get the most bang for their buck.
Moving is always a good time to go through your things and throw away or donate things you no longer use or get joy out of. If you’re thinking of upsizing, you might not have to get rid of as many things, and perhaps you’ll even need more furniture to fill out your new house. If you’re downsizing, you’ll have to decide what to get rid of or consider renting a storage unit. Keep in mind, whether you upsize and need to purchase new items, or you’re downsizing and need to rent a storage unit, consider cost. It would be counterproductive to move to a cheaper home or location only to blow your retirement funds on things you truly don’t need.
There are plenty of factors to consider when you’re planning for retirement, including housing. Weighing the pros and cons of upsizing vs. downsizing and thinking about how you envision spending your days; entertaining and gardening, or cozying up and enjoying a slower paced life can help you decide which move to make.