Pros and cons of downsizing your home in retirement

Stephanie Oliver
Published on June 29, 2021

Pros and cons of downsizing your home in retirement

With commuting days gone for good, you are about to begin a whole new chapter of life – the one that comes after retiring. With work entirely out of the picture, you’ll finally have enough time to pursue everything you’ve ever wanted to. But first, you’ll need to make a couple of major decisions. Mostly ones involving the house you currently call ”home”. Should you age in place, or is it time to think about moving into a smaller space? Perhaps, a retirement home could be the thing you need? Or, maybe the RV life is the one that suits you best? In and off of itself, these are all great options. Just not for everyone. If the thought of downsizing your home in retirement has crossed your mind, even for a second, you’ll have to figure out whether doing so would be a smart move.

To downsize or not to downsize – that is the question?

Yes, downsizing has plenty of pros, but it has a few drawbacks here and there. So, what is the right thing to do? In total honesty, it’s hard to say. What may be right for someone may not be as great for someone else. The answer to the question largely depends on individual situations and personal preferences. Ultimately, no one but you can decide whether to go down a size in terms of housing. This should be the choice you – and only you – make, no matter how difficult. Hopefully, though, the following pros and cons of downsizing will help you reach the final verdict in a somewhat easier way.

The advantages of downsizing your home

It does pay to move into a smaller space. Without further ado, let’s see what perks come with doing so!

Improved financial situation

Swapping a large house for a tiny one saves you money in the long run. Think about all the costs homeowners must pay – the mortgage, insurance, taxes, utility bills, even more! While you’ll be responsible for paying all of those even if you downsize, the bills associated with a smaller home could turn out significantly lower than the ones you are currently covering.

Easier maintenance

It makes sense that an apartment would be simpler to keep tidy than a two-story house. With less space come fewer things to regularly clean, organize, and maintain. You won’t have to break your back doing housework that is no longer a breeze to you, nor will you have to enlist your family to help with that every so often.


Downsizing means that you’ll finally have a chance to go through the entirety of your belongings. You’ll be able to determine what it is you really need and what needs to be tossed. To some, however, the process of decluttering is a bittersweet one. There is a possibility – potentially a significant one – that your next living arrangement won’t have enough space for all items you hold dear. Should that be the case, you’ll, unfortunately, have to part with some of them.

Relocating wherever you want

Is there a place you’ve always wanted to call home but haven’t found the courage to go through the move? If so, now is finally the time to venture into the process. The sky is your limit when it comes to the destination. You can go as near or as far as you like, but make sure the area you choose has access to proper healthcare. Moving in with your family is also an option, the one that can fortify your bond with them.

You won’t be able to relocate on your own, though. To ensure you sail smoothly through your move, you need to hire a professional moving company to take care of all aspects. But beware! These days, there are plenty of fraudulent movers out there. To prevent scams and other unpleasant events from ever occurring, you want someone reputable; Someone who’s been in the business for a while and has a pool of satisfied customers to vouch for them.


If you had any worries about downsizing, let the thought of improved accessibility wash them all away. By opting to relocate to a one-level place that has no stairs, for instance, you save yourself the trouble of going up and down all the time. If possible, to further simplify moving around, opt for homes that feature bathrooms with seated showers and those with wider hallways and doors.

Disadvantages to downsizing your home in retirement

Now that we’ve cleared up the benefits of downsizing, it’s time to talk about its cons.

It’s costly to sell/buy

While moving into a smaller home will undoubtedly save you money later on, it will first cause you to spend more. If you choose to sell and buy housing after retiring, you’ll have to cover the costs of potential repairs, fees, inspections, and more. You’d be surprised by how quickly all of these pile up.

Emotions tying you to the home

You may not be able to let go of your old home that easily, with all the memories tying you to the place. Chances are you’ve lived there for half of your life, even more, so saying goodbye is naturally going to be incredibly tough. There is a way around this one, though. A house is just a place – so treat it that way! You have the memories embedded in your brain, your heart, perhaps also physical evidence of them. Cherish those! And remember, you’ll make new ones in the next place!

It may be hard to adjust

This is especially true for retirees who move further away from their current homes, friends, and family. The process of downsizing can invoke feelings of loneliness. However, while it is certainly hard to adjust, it isn’t impossible! It will take some getting used to, sure, but you can speed up the process. Just go out of your comfort zone, meet the neighbors, or join a local club or a few.

Now that you’ve considered the factors in favor and against downsizing your home in retirement, we’ll leave it up to you to make the final decision. We trust you’ll make the right choice, whatever it may be.

Meta description: There are both pros and cons to downsizing your home in retirement. Here, we shine a light on both to ultimately help you decide what to do.

This article was generously donated by Lindsay Denton, who is a writer that specializes in real estate, remodling, and home improvement content.

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