Did you know that boomers will turn 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day for the next 18 years? That’s a lot of American homeowners who are reaching retirement age and starting to think about their next phase in life.
If your parents fall into this category, it could be a good time to consider leaving that large family home behind. Downsizing can help aging parents enjoy their newfound freedom.
Here are six enticing advantages to living the “less is more” lifestyle once the kids have left the nest.
1. Smaller house = smaller mortgage
Generally a smaller home can translate into a smaller monthly mortgage payment. When you’ve lived in your large family home for many years and built up sizable home equity, you may be able to cash out and purchase a new smaller, less-expensive home — even possibly eliminating a mortgage payment entirely.
Want to see what’s out there? Use Trulia’s home search to look for homes by square footage.
2. Reduced monthly expenses
Downsizing your home also downsizes your monthly costs. Utility bills may shrink, taxes and insurance may be reduced, and general upkeep and maintenance should be more affordable.
3. Shed the burden of home upkeep
Moving to a smaller, more affordable home also provides a fantastic opportunity to ditch the snow shovel and slap on some sunscreen. If you take the opportunity to move somewhere with year-round sunshine, your days of raising a family in the cold winters of the Midwest and Northeast could become a distant frozen memory. And even if you choose to stay put in a climate with four seasons, moving to a townhome can mean no more mowing if your community takes care of the landscaping.
4. More affordable town
Downsizing is a great opportunity to move to a less expensive metro area. Finding a city that gives you more “bang for your buck” is a big boon to retirees and empty nesters who will need to adjust to life on a fixed income.
In a hot retirement market like West Palm Beach, FL, the median sales price on a home is $155,000 and the cost of living is affordable. Compare that with a family- and industry-friendly metro like the Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL, where the median sales price is $355,000 and cost-of-living expenses are generally higher. (Both figures are current as of the week ending July 1, 2015.) You’ll find that costs can shrink in towns where affordability is in alignment with real estate prices.
5. Lifestyle upgrade
Empty nesters usually have a bit more time for themselves. In the process of downsizing, you have the opportunity to relocate closer to all the new lifestyle amenities you’ll want to enjoy.
Is it golf, tennis, biking, and other outdoor activities? Or do you prefer life in the city, with restaurants, theater, shopping, and cultural activities all within walking distance? Downsizing allows you to live closer to the lifestyle you want — and hopefully, you’ll have a bit of monthly cash left over to enjoy it!
6. Less stuff = more life
There’s something intangible about downsizing and getting rid of all that “stuff.” As you simplify your home, you simplify your life. Invest the time needed to clean out and edit your possessions, and you’ll create a lifestyle that functions better and is easier to maintain. Talk about a win-win!