If you’re an “empty nester” whose children are all grown and have moved out of the house you’re still living in, it may be time to downsize. Chances are, your current home is bigger than you need it to be, perhaps too big. Unless you’re renting out rooms, perhaps you never see half your home, or perhaps you’re cleaning rooms regularly that you don’t spend any time in. If you’re a retiree, you may want to stretch your reduced income by moving somewhere with a smaller mortgage payment or less upkeep, or maybe you’d be just as comfortable in a lower cost-of-living neighborhood. If you’ve built up equity, you could use that extra cash to put an even bigger dent in your mortgage payments, or eliminate them entirely, especially with recent changes to capital gains tax law allowing you to exclude up to $500,000 even when downsizing. Another possible benefit is fewer or no stairs. Or maybe you just want to move to a more preferable location.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a decision you should jump on immediately. For many, change can be hard, especially if you are moving far away from friends, family, and neighbors. Many people have trouble knowing what to leave and what to take, since a smaller home will probably have less storage space. In addition, all the normal stress and costs of moving still apply.