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Is Now a Good Time to Downsize Your Home?

The Ascent logo The Ascent 1/17/2022 Maurie Backman
a man sitting on a bench: A man and woman smiling while sitting on the steps of their house facing the backyard. © Getty Images A man and woman smiling while sitting on the steps of their house facing the backyard.

There may come a time when you contemplate downsizing. It's common for people to look at downsizing once they no longer have children living at home. Or you may decide to downsize before that point so you can spend less on housing and divert more money to other goals, like retirement or travel.

While downsizing can pay off at any time, in today's housing market, it makes a lot of sense. Here's why.

Score a big profit while shrinking your costs

These days, home values are up on a national level. In fact, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index recently reported a whopping 19.5% price gain for homes between September 2020 and September 2021.

Whether you still have a mortgage or not, downsizing could be your ticket to scoring a big profit if you sell. These days, the demand for homes is high due to low mortgage rates and low inventory. And so sellers are commanding a premium for their homes.

Say you owe $100,000 on your mortgage. If you were to sell your home for $500,000, then downsize to a $300,000 home, you might not only walk away with a profit, but also put yourself in a position to buy a smaller home outright, without having to take out a mortgage. Or, you might take out a mortgage anyway to capitalize on today's competitive rates, but end up with a lower monthly payment.

Furthermore, downsizing your home could help you save a lot of money on housing. These days, property taxes are up as a result of higher home values. If you downsize from a $500,000 home to a $300,000 home in the same zip code, chances are your property tax bill will shrink as well.

You might also save money on maintenance and repairs with a smaller home, assuming you downsize to a property that's just as updated and in equally good condition. Plus, you'll generally spend less to heat and cool a smaller home, so if you've grappled with sky-high utility bills, downsizing could help you shrink them.

Is downsizing right for you?

If you have a larger family and no one is on the cusp of moving out, downsizing could mean making some sacrifices -- namely, cramming into a smaller space and coexisting peacefully in that setup. Furthermore, if you plan to work remotely longer-term, you should consider whether downsizing will make that more difficult. Giving up a dedicated office, for example, could be a blow to your privacy and productivity.

But if the situation is right, downsizing is a move that could especially pay off in today's housing market. And if you're at a point in life when you no longer need as much space, then it's worth considering.

A historic opportunity to potentially save thousands on your mortgage

Chances are, interest rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase. 

Our expert recommends this company to find a low rate - and in fact he used them himself to refi (twice!).

Read our free review

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