What to Look for in a Home when Downsizing

Furniture Wrapped In Bubble Wrap

People choose to downsize for a variety of reasons. Seniors tend to downsize more than any other demographic, aging out of large homes and wanting to find more manageable spaces to make their own. But downsizing isn’t just about finding a smaller space. You’ll want to find a home that caters to your specific needs while allowing you to save money. Going into the process blind might yield some disappointing results. The list below is designed to walk you through some of the most important factors to look for in a house while downsizing – from finding something accessible to prioritizing other costs, like a medical alert system.

Look for Accessibility

If you’re downsizing as a senior, you should look for a property that can adapt to your changing needs. You’ll want to find a home that will suit your age. In most cases, this means looking for a house that will allow for easy accessibility measures, like fewer stairs, places to install grip rails, and non-slip floors. We recommend looking for one-story homes, as this is a great way to ensure the home stays accessible as your body changes in older age. 

Scrutinize Potential Maintenance

House With Large Front Lawn

If you’re unable to mow a lawn, or if you’re unwilling to pay for landscaping, don’t buy a home with a huge front yard. Similarly, if your home has an older roof or broken major appliances, like a gas range, think critically about how willing you are to fix up the building. These factors are especially important if you’re looking for homes in planned communities or buildings with an HOA fee. These settlements often have landscaping and remodeling requirements, so decide how willing you are to garden or mow the lawn before buying. 

Prioritize Preserving Your Budget

Unexpected expenses arise as we age. From medical alert systems to emergency doctor’s visits, living as a senior can be expensive. This is made more difficult by the fact that many seniors live on fixed incomes. Paying for large, unexpected expenses is tough, but it’s something most will need to build into their budgets. This is important to keep in mind as you’re looking for a downsized home.

In most cases, realtors will tell you that your housing expenses should sit just under 30 percent of your monthly budget. If you’re downsizing, this number should be a bit smaller – between 20 and 25 percent. In decreasing and minimizing housing expenses, you’ll have more funds to move around if necessary, whether that means paying a medical alert system bill or splurging in a relaxing vacation. 

Downsize Your Belongings Before Looking

Prepping For Downsizing With Cardboard Boxes

It’s hard to buy a smaller house when you don’t know what you want to keep. If you’re downsizing, make some decisions before heading out with a realtor. If you have several couches, which do you want to keep? Are you comfortable settling for a full-sized bed, or do you want to keep the king-sized mattress you’ve had for years? Making these decisions in advance can help you choose a home better suited to what you need.