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People downsize their homes for various reasons, such as retirement, financial strain, and even boredom. But just like buying a new home, downsizing to a smaller house is a significant step in life that requires a lot of thought and proper planning.

If you’ve spent quite a significant amount of time in your current home, sentimentality will be a difficult thing to overcome. However, do you really want to hold onto the sentimental value of the home, even if it’s no longer practical? Don’t let the memories hold you back from making smart decisions. Here are the signs that it’s time to move to a smaller home:

1. You’re an empty-nester.

You probably bought your current home primarily because of your family, maybe even took the chance to refinance your mortgage to buy a home big enough for the kids. But now that they all have lives of their own and you’re left with too much room in the house, it might be better to move to a smaller home that is cheaper and easier to maintain. Plus, it will feel a lot less lonely when you don’t have all those unused bedrooms in the house.

2. You can’t afford the house anymore.

Maybe you’ve taken a lower-paying job that doesn’t fit your housing needs comfortably, or perhaps you’ve already retired and don’t want to spend the majority of your pension on the mortgage. Whatever the reason may be, not being able to afford the mortgage is a clear sign that you should move to a smaller home.

If you are still getting by but are having to sacrifice vacations, entertainment, eating out, and other things that make life enjoyable, then you may already be “house poor.” In this case, you should either increase your income or consider moving to a smaller home that is a better fit for your budget.

3. The house needs too much maintenance.

There is too much space to clean, too many things to maintain, and not enough money and time to do it. Keeping up with home maintenance is difficult when you have too much space and not enough people to help you take care of it. Even if, technically, no one is making messes, dust will still gather in your home, and various parts of the house will still need to be maintained (e.g., plumbing, electrical wiring, appliances, etc.)

4. You want a simpler lifestyle.

Before, the house may have been perfect for your lifestyle. The living room is big enough for parties. There are enough rooms for each of your kids. The basement is finished as an entertainment spot for guests. But now, you’re no longer holding dinner parties as often as you used to, and you don’t need that much space for yourself. You want a simpler lifestyle now, and what better way to achieve that than by moving to a smaller home?

5. You are growing weaker.

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Those big flights of stairs and long hallways may have been easy to traverse when you were younger, but that may no longer be the case as you add more candles to your birthday cake. Not only is moving around in a big home difficult, but it can also be dangerous, especially if you are living alone.

If it’s starting to get difficult moving around your home, it’s high time to look for a smaller home, preferably one that only has one level to eliminate the danger of stairs. Not only does a smaller home help minimize the risks to your aging body, but it’s also a great way to maintain your independence as you grow older.

6. It’s difficult to pay the bills.

The bigger your home is, the more energy it consumes to light, heat, and cool all that space. Hence, the high utility bills. If you don’t want to use the majority of your income to pay for services that you’re not really maximizing, why not move to a smaller house and save all that money? Aside from cutting down your utility bills, a smaller home also means cheaper maintenance fees.

7. You want to move somewhere more expensive.

If you want to move to an area that is more expensive but can’t afford the same-sized house that you have now, buying a smaller home is your next best choice. Even if you have lesser space, the quality of your location and neighborhood may well be worth it.

Downsizing does not always mean downgrading, so don’t steer clear from the idea entirely, especially when you’re looking to improve your lifestyle. If you start noticing one or more of the signs mentioned above, the question is no longer “if” you want to downsize, but rather “when.”

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