5 Ways Downsizing Your House Can Save You Money

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Are you considering downsizing your house to save money? Welcome to the club!

Hello, my name is Emma and in 2015 I was exactly where you are now.

I won’t rehash our entire downsizing story (you can read it here if you like) but suffice to say we downsized so we would have more time for enjoying leisure together and more money for travel.

Photo showing a big house and a small house with a woman walking

Downsizing to a smaller home can be a great way to free up cash for taking that dream vacation, pursuing a hobby, or even just working less, but how do you know if it’s the right choice for you?

For many people, knowing they can downsize their family home into something smaller and less expensive, gives them peace of mind.

How Downsizing Your House Can Save You Money (5 Ways)

There are so many benefits to small home living but perhaps the best of them all is the cost savings which compound over the long term.

Most people are attracted to a simpler life when they consider downsizing, and the side benefit of simplicity is a less-expensive life.

Below are five ways a smaller home can benefit your finances: 

1. Realise the equity in your home

If you have significant home equity you’ve probably asked yourself ‘Should I downsize my home and pay off the mortgage?

For most of us, our home equity is abstract wealth. We can’t use it to buy groceries, but we sure do love knowing it’s there.

Downsizing your home is a smart way to realise the equity in your home without getting a reverse mortgage or home equity line of credit.

By selling a larger home and buying a smaller, cheaper one – the equity you’ve built up is suddenly available for life.

Retirement is a time to explore new hobbies, travel, and spend time with family. It’s also a time when you’re more likely to experience health issues.

Either scenario, increased leisure or illness, requires extra cash.

Being house-rich, i.e. having equity in your home and cash-poor when you are retired, can place a lot of extra pressure on your new life stage.

By selling your home and downsizing to a smaller home, you are able to realise your home equity and put it to good use.

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2. Eliminate the mortgage

If you are heading into retirement with a home loan, downsizing your home could help you eliminate the mortgage payment.

Depending on your equity, selling your home might net you enough to pay cash for a smaller place and wave goodbye to an ongoing mortgage payment forever.

3. Pay off debt

If you have significant debts outside of your home loan, downsizing your house to pay off debt might be the answer.

When weighing up if it’s worth it to downsize, consider the lump sum you could receive from selling a larger home, it might completely clear your debt.

Living debt-free is a wonderful feeling and eliminates a lot of financial pressure. If downsizing will get you there, it’s definitely worth considering.

4. Reduce maintenance bills and labour

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Smaller homes require less maintenance, which is important as you get older.

If you enjoy gardening but abhor clearing the gutters, you can downsize to a home with a small garden and still have the cash to outsource the maintenance work.

5. Ensure bills stay lower

Whether you’re living on retirement funds, a pension, or investment income, keeping costs as low as possible in retirement is important.

Even if you don’t have a mortgage, the costs of keeping a larger home can be hard to manage, especially on a fixed income.

By downsizing in retirement, you are ensuring your costs stay low with lower property rates, insurance premiums, and maintenance charges.

Many people only consider the initial lower purchase price when deciding if downsizing is right for them, but the real savings come with lower ongoing costs extrapolated over many years.

Since we’ve lived in our small home, we’ve saved over $20,000 just from lower bills.

Don’t underestimate the importance of downsizing to save money. It’s a smart move for lots of people – even well before retirement.

If you want to reduce your monthly mortgage payment and ongoing utility bills, you should seriously consider downsizing.

Downsizing Your House Can Save You Money

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About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Stuff, NZHerald, Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.