A Guide to Home Downsizing

Home downsizing is the process of moving to a smaller residence, be it a smaller house, condominium or apartment. People downsize for a number of reasons--to save money, to live closer to urban centers, to get rid of space they don't need after their children move out, etc. While home downsizing has many benefits, it also has its share of pitfalls. This document will explain how to avoid some of those trouble spots and make the transition to a smaller home as smooth and as pleasant as possible.

Downsizing in a Post-Boom Market

If you are thinking about downsizing your home, the first thing you need to do is look at your options. You should try to find a residence that fits your needs and preferences but does not strain your budget. When you are downsizing, you are trying to save money, not spend more than you would on a house you already have.

Fortunately for you, the collapse of the real estate bubble means that you have no shortage of affordable housing options. Whether you're looking for a smaller house, a condo or an apartment, there is plenty of new and used housing to choose from. This is especially true for neighborhoods and communities that underwent significant growth during the real estate boom.

However, the current state of the housing market has a downside. Before you can move to another home, you will need to sell your old one. In the current real estate climate, you will have a harder time finding a buyer willing to agree to your purchase price. While dropping the price will help, there is only so low you can go without taking a loss. Furthermore, the current economic climate makes potential buyers reluctant to buy a house, especially a larger house. It may be a long time before you can find a buyer.

One way to solve this problem is to rent out your house as you wait for someone buy it. You can move into a downsized home knowing that your other place won't be sitting empty and neglected. However, renting out means that you will be responsible for maintenance and repairs, which means that you may not be able to save quite as much money as you thought.

Finding a New Home

When you start looking for a new home, there are a number of things you should consider. First and foremost, there is the question of what kind of place you are looking for. What type of residence it is? What kind of amenities should it have?  Are you looking for something to own or something to rent? Would you be willing to consider a co-op? This will help you narrow down the housing options to categories that fit your preferences and needs.

Once that is established, you will need to narrow down your focus to a general location. There are a number of factors you should consider. They include proximity to major roadways and/or public transit, foreclosure rates, property crime and violent crime rates and availability of social services, as well as shopping and entertainment venues. This information can be obtained from local area guides, real estate guides, local community organizations and public records. Thanks to the Internet, finding all this information is easier than ever.

Once you have figured out what kind of housing you are looking for and what areas you are going to focus on, you can begin looking for your new residence. You can do that by looking at classifieds section in your local newspapers, as well as at various Internet-based listings. Once you have narrowed your choices down to a few options, check them out in person. Descriptions and photographs can be misleading, and nothing beats your own impressions.

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