When is Downsizing Really an Upgrade? (and How to Love a Smaller Space)

Size really isn’t everything, especially when you’re looking for your next home.

We know that the traditional life plan is that you buy a “starter home,” then you upgrade to your “dream home.” But that life plan doesn’t say anything about what happens between the dream home and the retirement home. And a LOT of us have life changes that impact how our home needs to serve our life.

Sometimes those life changes mean that smaller is actually better.

Maybe it’s the time when the kids are grown and gone and school districts and big backyards aren’t as important as they used to be. Maybe it’s the time when you’re traveling more and not spending as much time in that big house that was so perfect a few years ago. Maybe it’s the time when convenience and amenities are more important to your lifestyle than floor space.

Whatever it is, you might find that a luxury condo in the city, or a cozy cottage in wine country are more suited to the way you want to live now.

Here are 5 reasons that smaller can be better – and a bonus list of 5 ways to make a smaller space feel spacious. 

  1. You love luxury… But you don’t want to pay more than you’re paying now. A small luxury condo or cottage may not have a smaller price tag than the big rambling ranch in the ‘burbs. But it is well … luxury. And because you won’t need a LOT of furnishings it’s easier to budget for the rugs, couches, artwork, and other little touches that will make you smile every day.
  2. You hate cleaning… And lawn care, and maintenance, and all the tasks that go with having a big house and yard.
  3. You love amenities… And convenience matters to you. Saunter down to the sidewalk coffee shop, which may be right there in the building. Relax in the spa/sauna, or do a few laps in the pool. Scaled down living often comes with perks.
  4. You hate commuting… Or more to the point, you hate wasting time. Speaking of convenience — travel time (especially in rush hour) is such a time waster and stress builder. So if you work in the city it may make more sense to have a condo in the city. If you work remotely then scaling down on the amount of “home” you have to take care of lets you get more of that remote work done and still have time for a life.
  5. You’re really, really tired of paying for comfort… How did you feel about your last month’s utility bill? Right now a big house can break your budget trying to stay cool inside while the last “dog days” of summer have their fun. But in six months we’ll all be moaning about how expensive it is to stay warm. Small spaces are, naturally, easier to heat and cool.

If we’ve got you thinking about “upgrading” your home to take advantage of the joys of small spaces here are 5 tips for making that space FEEL bigger.

  • Mirror,mirror on the wall: Whether you hang them, set them on shelves, or just lean an over-sized mirror in a nice heavy frame against the wall, we all know that mirrors add light and dimension, giving a room a larger feel.
  • I can see clearly now: Clear accessories and furnishings give a greater sense of space too.
  •  Color soothes and surprises: Using a monochrome palette fools the eye into believing the space is larger, but a pop of color creates a focal point that keeps the smaller space from feeling ungrounded.
  • To everything there is a reason: In a small space everything needs to serve a purpose, functionally and aesthetically, and it’s even better if it serves more than one.
  • Clutter Begone: Having places to hide the messy bits and pieces of your life is not only essential for luxury small space living, it’s also a boon to your mental and emotional well-being.

So there you have it, how to enjoy a smaller space, and why you’d want to. As always, if you’re ready to upgrade, whether that means a downsize or not, our licensed Loan Officers are ready to help. Because we offer in-house underwriting, we can even have your loan closed in only EIGHT days. You can apply on line quickly and easily or give us a call.

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Photo: Flickr/The Residences at Mandarin Oriental