Downsizing is exactly right for some retirees, but do some homework about what you're getting into.
Once retirement arrives, you might have just had it with all of the upkeep, lawn care and cleaning of a big family home. Less work and a less expensive lifestyle are two reasons why retirees get the small house bug. But with every solution comes a snag, and sometimes those snags take you by surprise.
Here are 4 problems that stem from downsizing at retirement that you might not expect:
#1: A Small House Lifestyle Isn't Necessarily Cheap
Coming off an era of McMansions, people of all generations, not just retirees, are looking for a way to scale back and save money. But if you're hoping for a major financial change for the better, downsizing nearby might not be as dramatic as you think.
The Wall Street Journal recommends some critical thinking about the area where you live. All of your everyday essentials, from gas for your vehicle to a gallon of milk, will stay the same if you move household but don't move cities. Significant savings might require a move that's farther away than just a few miles.
Do you really want storage fees for a bicycle or stereo speakers that you haven't used in a decade?
#2: You Might Need Additional Storage
Parting with so many of belongings that you've accumulated over the years might not be easy once you're in the reality of it. That's especially true for collections and family treasures that have been in your care for many years. Albums of photos, kids clothing and even holiday decorations will need storage. If those things won't fit in your new attic or garage, you'll probably need a self-storage unit.
Alternatively, think about assigning new homes for your treasures. Maybe someone else in the family wants to take over photo curatorship duties after you retire. And perhaps all of the baby clothes and school records that you've saved can go with the kids that they belonged to.
#3: What Happens at Holidays?
If you're accustomed to hosting family at holidays, a small house might make things difficult. Of course, big holiday gatherings only happen a few times a year. And that might seem like a trivial reason keep a larger house. But gatherings and traditions handed down through the years are very important in some families. Going to someone else's house might feel 100 percent wrong.
Shopping smart could help you have your small house cake and eat it, too. Think about an open plan house with a great room, so people won't bump elbows while visiting or helping in the kitchen. As for sleeping arrangements, This Old House says the hide-a-bed has come a long way. Some retract into the wall automatically with the push of a button, and some spend their days disguised as an entertainment center or home office built-in.
#4: Belongings Can Add up Again
Some lifelong habits are harder to break than just moving house. If you love to shop, retirement gives you plenty of time to do it. But the decades of belongings that you've sold or given away might add right back up again after you're settled into your new, smaller home.
A great habit to learn is casting off one item when you bring in something new. If you buy a new sweater, give away one that you already own. If you want some new pots and pans, donate the old ones. This habit keeps your belongings under control.
Downsizing at retirement sounds like a great idea for a lot of people, but it still comes with its own challenges. Some of those are obvious, such as whether your furniture will fit and how to divide the closet space. But some might take you by surprise.
When you're ready to shop for a smaller house, let eppraisal help. We'll connect you with the right professionals to sell your home and help find the prefect size replacement for your retirement years.