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
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?
5. Factor in cost-of-living changes
Groceries and gas
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?
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 giveaways or sales of your things
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