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6 Signs It's Time to Downsize Your Home, Experts Say

Here are some great reasons to make this real estate move.

Your home is your castle—but it doesn't need to be the size of one to make you happy. Even though American homes are considered some of the biggest in the world, real estate experts say there are many benefits to living in smaller spaces. The key, they say, is knowing when your ample square footage is no longer serving you as it once did and making a strategic trade-in that will leave you better off financially, emotionally, and otherwise. Read on to learn the six clearest signs that it's time to downsize your home—and how making the switch could change your life.

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You've got an empty nest.

Senior couple looking out the window together

Many people realize they're ready to downsize their home after a major life change. In particular, empty nesters or recent divorcees may look around and realize they're sitting on more space than they need.

"Adjusting to new circumstances can involve finding a living situation that better suits the individual's current needs and goals, providing a fresh start and renewed perspective," says Richard Mews, CEO of the real estate company Sell With Richard.

Diana Khan, JD, MPA, a real estate broker and real estate attorney for Lux Realty, agrees that these major life changes often signal that it's time to downsize. "Maintaining a larger home becomes unnecessary, and downsizing can help you better manage your space and resources," she tells Best Life.

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You could use more cash.

Cropped shot of an unrecognisable couple sitting in the living room and using a laptop to calculate their finances

For most people, housing is the single greatest monthly expense, often accounting for over 30 percent of one's income. That's why, if you're experiencing financial strain, downsizing to a smaller and less expensive home is one of the best ways to free up cash for your other needs.

"If the cost of maintaining your current home is becoming a burden on your finances, downsizing can offer relief. Smaller homes often come with lower utility bills, property taxes, and maintenance costs, allowing you to enjoy a more comfortable and affordable lifestyle," says Khan.

Experts say it's important to remember that downsizing isn't a financial failure, but instead a major opportunity to cash in on your investment.

"Trading in your huge house for a smaller one that better matches your current needs can give you financial freedom if you have owned a single-family home for a long time," explains Paul Corazza, a licensed real estate agent and the executive director of Independent Property Group. "Your property has likely increased in value over the years."

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Your health or mobility has changed.

couple inside their home, at the front door. The man is using a mobility walker and his wife is helping him

You may notice with age that your home now feels less accessible than it once did, especially if your mobility has changed. Switching to a single-level home in a more central location could transform your lifestyle for the better.

"As mobility decreases with age, a larger home can become challenging to navigate. Moving to a more compact and accessible space can make daily activities easier, reducing the risk of accidents and improving your overall quality of life," says Khan.

You've got lots of unused space.

Empty living room with oak laminate flooring, cream painted walls
Toyakisphoto / Shutterstock

Any time you have unused space, you're throwing money away, experts warn. Though there are of course ways to transform those bonus spaces into valuable additions to your home, many people view downsizing as a cost-effective alternative.

"If certain rooms in your current home go untouched for extended periods, it might be time to downsize. Downsizing allows you to optimize your living space, making it more functional and better aligned with your current needs," says Khan.

RELATED: 50 Clever Home Upgrades That Will Instantly Add Resale Value.

You yearn for a simpler lifestyle.

This photograph is of a garage lined with shelves full of things stored at home including, tools, cleaning supplies, holiday decorations and sporting equipment. The garage door is open.

Many people find that regardless of how much space they have in their home, they will always find a way to fill it with stuff. If you look around and see endless clutter, downsizing can actually be a way to help curate your belongings and live more intentionally.

"Many people reach a point where they want to simplify their lives. Downsizing can help you declutter and prioritize what truly matters, leading to a more streamlined and fulfilling lifestyle," says Khan.

Pete Evering, business development manager for Utopia Property Management says that a desire for simplicity is often at the core of various reasons people decide to buy a smaller home.

"Downsizing becomes a potent tool for shaping a lifestyle that better mirrors personal values and aspirations, irrespective of the particular circumstances prompting this consideration," he tells Best Life.

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You feel overwhelmed by maintenance.

Photo of a young man mowing the grass during the beautiful evening.

Between repairs, lawn care, and all of your home's other needs, maintaining a large home or property can drain you of your time, money, and energy. If this has become more of a burden than you care to handle, it may be time to downsize.

"Larger homes often demand more time and effort for maintenance and cleaning. Downsizing can free up valuable time that can be spent on activities you enjoy, rather than on home upkeep," says Khan.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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