Individuals work hard to save enough money to purchase their homes. And the hard work doesn’t end there. Once homeowners settle into a new home, they may undertake renovations that suit their needs. And even when buyers find a home that needs no such work, maintenance requires homeowners’ utmost attention.
All that hard work is perhaps one reason seniors may be reluctant to downsize as they advance through their golden years. In addition to the sweat equity homeowners put into their homes, all the memories they’ve made within their walls can make it harder to put a home on the market.
Anne Kader, SRES, a local licensed associate real estate broker, says, “Downsizing is a difficult decision that’s unique to each homeowner.” However, she says that seniors who aren’t sure if downsizing is right for them can consider three factors in helping them decide what is in their best interests.
Cost. Perhaps no variable affects senior homeowners’ decisions to downsize as much as cost. No one wants to outlive their money, and downsizing to a smaller home can help reduce monthly expenses by a significant margin. Even homeowners who have long since paid off their mortgages can save money by downsizing to a smaller home, or even an apartment or condominium. Lower property taxes, reduced insurance premiums, and the need to pay for fewer repairs are some ways downsizing can save seniors money.
Space. Many people love the extra space that single-family homes provide. But seniors can walk through their homes and see how many rooms they use consistently. If much of it is unused, seniors can probably downsize without adversely affecting their daily lives.
Market. The real estate market is another important factor when deciding if the time is right to downsize. A seller’s market can help seniors get the greatest return on their real estate investment, potentially helping them make up for meager retirement savings. For example, skyrocketing home prices during the COVID-19 pandemic made it a good time for sellers to put their homes on the market. Those looking to downsize and capitalize on these spikes won’t be looking to turn around and buy larger, equally expensive homes once they sell their current place. If the market is down and seniors can withstand the work and cost a little longer, it may be best to wait until things bounce back in the sellers’ favor.
“Downsizing requires careful consideration of a host of variables,” says Kader. “No two situations are the same, so seniors should exercise due diligence to determine if downsizing is right for them.”
Anne Kader, SRES, is a licensed associate real estate broker with the Olear Team at MJ Peterson. She provides expert guidance to clients buying and selling homes throughout Western New York. A Seniors Real Estate Specialist and Certified Relocation Professional, Kader is a New York State Licensed Residential Appraiser, enabling her to guide sellers and buyers through each stage of the real estate process. Contact her at email@example.com, or call her at 716-830-6366.