Benefits of Downsizing for Seniors

Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes the right move for retiree homeowners is to downsize their living space.

Advantages of Downsizing

Going small can come with big benefits, including the following.

Smaller Mortgage Payments

Moving from a large home to a smaller house can mean smaller mortgage payments each month. That’s a tangible, immediate benefit for homeowners, especially seniors living on a fixed income.

Less Property Taxes

No one likes paying property taxes. Fortunately, depending on where someone moves to, downsizers may notice that they have to pay less in property taxes each year. Again, that’s more money in the pocket of senior homeowners.

Lower Utility Bills

Fewer square feet typically means cheaper utility bills. In other words, one of the financial benefits of moving into a smaller home can be cheaper utilities.

Fewer Maintenance Costs

As seniors retire, it can be harder for them to maintain their home, which often means outsourcing upkeep services. For example, seniors with back pain may hire someone to mow their lawns or clean their homes. Having a smaller space means there will be less that needs maintaining, which ultimately can mean more money back into the homeowners’ pockets.

Cons of Downsizing

Downsizing isn’t the right move for everyone. Downsides of downsizing include the following.

Emotional Difficulties

Moving can be hard emotionally, especially when someone has lived at one location for decades. After all, downsizing means that someone has to potentially move away from beloved neighbors and a place where they truly felt at home. Moving into a smaller place also means having to let go of many physical possessions, which can be harder for sentimental folks.

Less Space for Guests

Frequent hosts should think twice before downsizing, as their new home may not have enough space to accommodate visiting family members and friends.

Moving Stress

There’s no way around it—moving is a hassle. From moving fees to packing and unpacking, there is a lot of stress that comes with a big move, especially if the person is moving to another state.

Moving Costs

Moving isn’t just stressful. It’s also expensive. Paying for movers, hiring a real estate agent, and paying closing costs are just a few of the expenses someone should expect when they downsize. While the move may ultimately result in savings over time, it’s important to be aware that there will be plenty of upfront costs when downsizing, too.

Unexpected Benefits of Downsizing for Retirees

Graphic listing ways that downsizing benefits seniors (save money and time and make future moves easier).

Finances and square footage typically come to mind when thinking of downsizing. There are plenty of hidden benefits to moving into a small home, however.

Improved Accessibility

The risk of falls increases with age, and millions of people visit the ER for falls in the United States every single year. One of the best ways seniors can reduce their odds of falling is by downsizing and decluttering. After all, with less clutter in walkways, there is less for seniors to potentially trip over. Moving from a multi-story house to a single-story one also means there are no stairs to potentially fall down, either.

Less Time Spent on Upkeep

Many seniors live in homes that are too big for their current needs. That is to say, many seniors may have needed a larger home when they were raising their children. However, now that their children are grown and the elderly parents are empty nesters, there is simply no need for a five-bedroom home.

That’s where downsizing comes in handy. By moving into a smaller space, older couples can spend less time on cleaning, chores, and upkeep in general. Instead, they can spend more time doing what they love in their golden years.

Makes Future Moving Easier

Most people don’t want to think about moving into a senior residential home. The fact of the matter is, though, that nearly 7 in 10 people will need long-term care services at some point in their lives, according to Genworth’s 2020 “Cost of Care Survey.” For many seniors, that means moving into an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility.

Naturally, these locations offer smaller dwelling areas for their residents, which means people cannot bring many possessions with them. Moving into a senior living community can be stressful for many reasons, including having to decide what to keep and what to pitch. Downsizing years before this move can make the transition just a little easier, as the moving senior will not have to downsize as much as they otherwise would and a time when tensions are not as high.

Finding the Right Senior Living Community

When the time comes for you or your loved one to move into a senior living community, we’ll be there to help. Our directory shows thousands of senior living communities—including independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities—all across the country.