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When done right, downsizing your home can give you much-needed financial breathing room and help make your retirement years more memorable.
At least that’s the philosophy of retired New York City firefighter and fire science professor Pat Reynolds, age 72. When Reynolds and his wife Barbara retired in their mid-60s, they planned on spending a year in a 750-square-foot downtown Nashville apartment to “catch their breath” and let the financial dust settle after selling their 3,000-square-foot, 4-bedroom, single-family home in central Kentucky.
Instantly, the couple loved how much their new renter’s lifestyle changed for the better thanks to more free time and money to pursue their bucket list. No longer did they have to mow a half-acre lawn on weekends or stash away money each month in case of emergency maintenance.
And the location wasn’t half bad, either: “We were right across the street from the opera house,” recalls Reynolds. “The apartment had floor-to-ceiling windows, and you could look right down Second Avenue in Nashville to see City Hall. When they put up the big Christmas tree, it was like the Christmas tree lit up our living room.”
Five years later, the couple are still die-hard renters, though they’ve upgraded to a slightly larger apartment in the suburbs. Their story illustrates how downsizing — swapping out your single-family home for a smaller place with lower maintenance and overhead — can often be the cherry on top of your retirement sundae.
Ahead, we go over the reasons to downsize your home — whether you’re looking to rent like the Reynolds family or buy a smaller house — and how to budget for a downsize. We’ll start with how today’s seniors in retirement can plan for the smoothest experience amid the recovering pandemic economy.
Is Now a Good Time to Downsize?
Buying and selling a house at the same time in today’s hot seller’s market requires forethought, but it isn’t impossible.
Because there are fewer homes on the market than there are buyers right now, you probably won’t have trouble selling your larger home. You might even get to name your price and find that buyers are more likely to make offers without contingencies.
First decide on what you want to do first: sell your old house, or buy the new one. There are pros and cons to both. Selling your …….