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Is Downsizing in Your Future?
Written By : Burton Widener 
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Individual home ownership in the U.S. has steadily increased since the end of the Second World War. As a result, the number of people entering retirement owning and living in single family homes has increased as well. And following the nationwide trend toward building larger homes, these homes are getting larger.

If you are one of these homeowners, sooner or later you will need to consider if you should "downsize" to simpler or less expensive place to live. Here are some pros and cons you might want to consider.

Pros

Repair Costs - The cost of maintaining a large single family home can be expensive. As the home ages it needs more work to prevent deterioration, particularly if you live in an area with harsh cold or hot weather. Since you are aging along with the home you will find more and more of this work is beyond your physical capabilities so you will be spending more on having this work done by hired professionals.

Routine Care - Someone has to mow the lawn, tend the landscaping and do general interior cleaning. As you grow older you will find this isn't as easy as it once was. Besides, it consumes time that could be devoted to more enjoyable activities.

Taxes - Property taxes can be very high in some states, and are almost sure to grow even higher as time goes on. The large federal deficits will put more pressure on state and local governments to carry more of the burden for social programs, and in most states this means pressure to increase local property tax rates.

Time Flexibility - Owning a home tends to anchor you to one region. It tends to limit the distance and duration of travel as there is always the need to stay connected to home base. Without this burden it is much easier to explore living in different localities because you can stay for an extended time. Eliminating the burden may make it possible to "follow the sun" and spend summers and winters in a climate more to your liking.

Cons

Family - For many, the existing house was where the kids were raised and it contains memories that are important to the sense of family. It's a big deal to sell those memories no matter why. It may also represent the bulk of the inheritance to surviving family members.

Financial - After taking into account all the factors like selling expenses, taxes, relocation and other living costs, it may be that it is less expensive to continue in the present house. This can be true if the mortgage is very low or paid off.

Security - There is a strong sense of security that comes from owning your house and it is just too scary to think about being detached after all the years of living in the same place.

In any case downsizing is not a decision to be made lightly. It requires a lot of thought and planning. You also need to have a clear idea of what your future lifestyle plans are and how attached you are to the existing house.

About The Author: Burt Widener writes extensively on issues concerning retirement. His website at http://www.allthingsretired.com offers a range of articles and other resources to aid retired persons find answers to common questions regarding retirement. The site includes a blog and is updated frequently to keep the content current.

Find out more about: retirement
 
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