Making the choice to downsize your home is a big decision; there are a lot of pros and cons to consider before sticking a “for sale” sign in your front yard. Moving to a smaller, more manageable home with easier upkeep certainly has its appeals when you’re planning to age in place.
It’s important to make sure you’re making the right choice for yourself and your family.
To help you consider your options from every angle, here are six questions to ask yourself before downsizing your home.
Question #1: How Safe is the New Property?
Ensuring your new home is accessible to your future needs is perhaps the most important consideration when downsizing. Think carefully about the hidden fall risks within your new home. Ask yourself…
- Does the home have stairs that you will need to maneuver on a daily basis?
- Do the transitions from room to room have steps or thresholds that may pose a problem?
- Would you be able to easily move around your home with an assistive walking device such as a cane or walker?
These questions aren’t always easy to ask, but safety is one non-negotiable aspect you’ll need to be prepared to consider before you downsize.
Question #2: Is it Spacious Enough for Family to Visit?
Depending on the size and location of your family, you may need to consider how your new home will affect their visits. If family being able to come stay with you is important, you may want to look for a home with an option for a guest space.
Question #3: Is It in a Friendly Community?
You want to feel comfortable and welcomed in your new community, so the area around your home is almost as important as the home itself. Picture yourself grocery shopping, going to the bank, attending church or doing any other thing you enjoy. Does your new community seem to fit all of your needs?
Question #4: How Close is it to Health Care Facilities?
If you’re planning to keep your same doctors and health coach, consider how moving will affect your commute to their offices. Or, if you’re in the mood for a change, make sure your new community has all of the available offices and practices to support your health needs. And don’t forget to map out the distance to the closest major medical facility where you could get emergency care, should you need it.
Question #5: Does this Move Make Sense Financially?
While the answer to this question depends entirely on your personal financial situation, thinking about the changing costs when you downsize your home is a big part of your decision. Although downsizing is often the more financially feasible option, make sure you work the numbers and take every variable into consideration as well as how this affects your long-term care plan.
Question #6: What are Your “Must-Haves”?
Downsizing means you’ll need to be flexible and open to change, but that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on everything. Make a list of the “must haves” your new home will need so you’ll know what’s up for discussion and what can be compromised.
Question #7: Is it Close to Family and Friends?
Socialization and your connection to those you love is extremely important, especially as you age. Family and friends can contribute to positive experiences that promote better health and wellbeing. Also, you will want to think about having those you know best close to you in the event of an emergency.
Retirement can mean big changes, but it can also mean new adventures. Learn more in our free guide, Aging in Place: A Popular Trend for a New Generation of Seniors.
(Originally published June 29, 2016; last updated Jan. 6, 2019.)