Suddenly, a place that was perfect for you a decade or two ago might feel cavernous. If you're starting to dream about trading in your rambling old house for a smaller cottage or new condo, here are the steps you’ll have to take.
1. Consider your finances
- How much your home is worth
- Where you want to buy or rent
- New taxes if you leave your area
- Mortgage rates
- Your credit scores
2. Think about space
- Visit smaller homes at open houses
- Walk through IKEA showrooms
- Record square footage and your impressions of space
- Don’t forget lot size
3. Could you change enough to stay?
- Remodeling and staying put might be an option
- Convert one floor to a unit and rent it
- Widen the stairs
- Update the bathroom
- Talk to contractors and scope a budget to see if this is realistic
4. Decide where to go
- In the same area, but closer to some amenities or people?
- Different neighborhood?
- Different city?
- Different state?
- Different country?
5. Factor in cost-of-living changes
- Groceries and gas
- Public transportation
6. Find a place to land
- Familiarize yourself with a typical house
- Get specific measurements for your new place
7. Replace or shed furniture
- Consider size, function, daily usage
- Eliminate duplicate items
- Think about what you can replace
- Take measurements of what you buy so you’re sure it will fit
8. Getting rid of excess baggage
9. Understand your storage options
- Will you have a storage closet?
- Or a garage?
- A basement?
- An attic?
- Should you rent a storage unit?
- Be careful with this option
- If you don’t have a plan to deal with it, get rid of it
10. Organize, organize, organize
- Your finances
- Your giveaways or sales of your things
- Your donations
- Your move-out
11. Make the move
- You may be seized with second thoughts
- Make a list of the things you don’t like about your about-to-be downsized lifestyle and house
- Refer to it throughout the process