Susan Eastman, Live West Realty

Susan Eastman, Live West Realty

For many people, the home has been the center of their family’s universe. You needed room to accommodate your kids and their friends and to host social and maybe business functions. You utilized the house especially during family holidays because you had multiple bedrooms (and enough bathrooms) for your parents, your sister and brother-in-law, their three kids and their dogs.

Then one day you realized that those rooms are empty more often than not, and it’s a heck of a lot of work to take care of. Especially during this historic quarantine. Perhaps that big house now echoes in its emptiness.

Maybe this is a good time to consider downsizing.

Downsizing generally translates to “Is your house too big?” A trendy phrase for this is minimalizing. That sounds like going smaller – which can be true – but its ramifications are way more impactful than simply size. It can also mean living large in an efficient, simplified way and maximizing less space through optimal design.

Going smaller in house-size can mean:
• Lower utilities
• Less to clean
• Less maintenance and stress
• Smaller mortgage (usually)
• Lower property taxes (hopefully – depends on location)
• Lock-and-leave convenience

Downsizing takes some discipline. It requires decluttering because a smaller home can’t hold all that stuff that took years to accumulate. (What a productive use of this quarantine!) Approach the declutter one room at a time. Establish piles of what is to keep, sell, donate and trash. Wear masks and hold garage sales, sell on eBay, Craigslist and consignment stores, and donate to organizations. It will feel liberating when you get to the other side of the effort and you’ll have some extra cash to boot.

If you are selling a large home to go smaller, you are most likely benefitting from a financial windfall. Your house is normally one of your biggest assets so hopefully you can end up with extra cash to pay off debts, add to your retirement fund, and put down a decent deposit on your new home. Interest rates are at incredible lows so consult with a lender who will help you determine the fine balance between how much cash to put down to achieve the best interest rates and have an appropriate mortgage if you are on a fixed income. Also check with your financial advisor who can best explain the impact of capital gains, how to effectively invest the profit from selling your house, etc., especially if you’ve had investments recently affected by the roller coaster stock market.

There is something else about downsizing, though, that is hard to measure. Going smaller may allow more time to explore new hobbies, more time with family and friends, and bring peace of mind. There is no financial value you can place on that.

To read part one, visit athomecolorado.com/home/does-your-home-fit-you-anymore-part-one.

By Susan Eastman. Susan is a Realtor with Live West Realty in Boulder. Call 303.589.6845, e-mail susan@livewestrealty.com or visit www.livewestrealty.com.