Saturday, 11 May 2013

Four Signs That It's Time to Downsize

Maybe you always dreamed of having a nice, sizeable home where your children could grow up. After several years of hard work and saving, this dream possibly became a reality. Buying your dream home is a major accomplishment, and once you move into the perfect place, you may decide to stay until the mortgage is paid off.

But unfortunately, life can interrupt your future plans. Many families purchase homes with the intentions of staying for many years. Because life situations and income can change rapidly, some families risk losing their dream homes. Although some people welcome downsizing with open arms, others find this move challenging.

Here are four signs that it’s time to downsize your family:

1. Can’t afford mortgage or rent

Whether you own a house or rent, if paying your housing is a struggle each month, you need to consider other living options. You may prefer living in a particular neighborhood or a certain school district. However, some neighborhoods cost more than others. Years ago, you may have been able to afford your rent or mortgage with no problem. But due to economic changes, your money may not flow as freely. Ideally, your housing should not exceed 28% of your income. Do the math, and if you discover that you’re spending a large chunk of your income on a mortgage or rent, consider moving.

2. Don’t have time or money for maintenance

If you own a home, you probably know the importance of regular maintenance and repairs. This keeps your home in good condition, plus regular maintenance increases your resale value. Maybe you have enough to pay your mortgage each month, but your income does not allow routine maintenance. This greatly impacts the condition of your home. Then again, maybe you don’t have the energy, the desire or the time to maintain a large home. In this case, downsizing can remove a burden from your shoulders.

3. Can’t afford your utilities

The bigger your house, the more you’ll pay in utilities. If you can barely afford your mortgage, you may fall behind on your electricity, gas or water bill. This can result in late fees, as well as disconnections. To make matters worse, there’s also a fee to reconnect your services. Downsize to a smaller place and you’ll pay less in utilities.

4. Don’t have money for family activities

What’s the point of living in a large home if you can’t afford family activities and other necessities? In an effort to provide a beautiful home for their children, some parents work night and day. And because of a large monthly mortgage, there may be little cash for family vacations, day trips and shopping. Being smart with your money involves more than shopping sales, looking for Black Friday deals and clipping coupons. It also involves knowing your financial limitations.

Don’t let housing drain your pocket. There is more to life than paying a mortgage and living in a big house. Sometimes, less is more. If you have less, you’re able to spend more time with your children, take more family vacations and enjoy more free time.

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