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Nooga.com article, May 22, 2017
By Todd Henon, Broker, TN, GA, AL
Life has many seasons, and with major changes in season sometimes come the need for big changes in your housing situation. As a Chattanooga Realtor for almost 20 years, more than half the phone calls I receive are from clients looking to upsize or downsize their lifestyles. Their most frequently asked question? When and how is the best way to do it.
Here are some key factors to consider:
If your family can no longer fit comfortably in your current home, upsizing is the logical next step. Being crammed into a space that doesn’t accommodate everyone’s needs is a recipe for discomfort and unhappiness.
But upsizing brings with it things to keep in mind. For example, you may love North Chattanooga, but if your two-bedroom, one-bath home there is at the top end of your budget, you’re going to have to look at other areas of town to get more square footage. This, naturally, leads to research you should conduct on home values, property taxes, schools performance and more.
Another thing to remember is that—in addition to a mortgage or rent payment that is most likely going to be higher—you will also need to budget for filling and maintaining more space. You’ll need to furnish extra rooms and potentially care for more yard space.
Other expenses likely to increase when upsizing include insurance, taxes and energy bills.
Use what you don’t like about your current house to make a list of needs (and wants) for your new home. Because selling a home too soon after buying it often results in a loss of money, you want to make sure that your next home will suit your family’s needs for the foreseeable future. It’s unrealistic to expect the home to accommodate all changes for the rest of your life, but it’s not unreasonable to expect a home to serve your needs well for five to seven years.
Some great areas of Chattanooga for larger homes are Signal Mountain, Hixson, Lookout Mountain, East Brainerd and Ooltewah.
Hands down the most common reason for downsizing I hear as a Realtor is that the core family has shrunk. The kids (yes, the same ones you upsized for 15 years earlier) have gone to college, and it’s tiresome cleaning, cooling and heating rooms no one is sleeping in or using.
It’s certainly understandable to want less house and headache as the golden years approach, but just as with upsizing, downsizing requires some looking ahead.
If your parents or other older relatives are in declining health, you may want to consider looking at properties that can accommodate them should the need arise for them to move in with you. Older relatives (and you, eventually) may need a home that has limited stairs to be sure it works well for years to come. Additionally, the kids who went off to college may boomerang back home afterward, or you may one day soon have grandchildren to fill bedrooms on overnight stays. So when looking at new homes, it may behoove you to choose a place that still has at least one extra bedroom—you wouldn’t want to end up unhappy in your new quarters because you downsized too much.
And don’t think that just empty nesters are interested in downsizing. If your current home is just too big, too expensive or partially unused, by all means, consider simplifying your life with a smaller home. It’s on trend right now for younger folks to live in smaller homes, which leads to investing resources in experiences and adventures rather than “stuff.”
Remember, too, that when you’ve made the decision to move to a smaller home, you will also have to decide what items you can live without. Downsizing refers to not just your home, but also your belongings. The “stuff” decisions aren’t limited to only what to eliminate, but how—you have an opportunity to help a charity or help fund your new purchase by selling items. Be ready to make this plunge before signing on the dotted line for a smaller home!
Downsizing in Chattanooga could be a condo on the Southside or downtown, a community like Stonebrook in East Brainerd, or simply a smaller home in your current area.
Whether you are feeling the need to upsize or downsize, in-town or on the outskirts, my team will be glad to help you navigate the decision-making and the journey. Here’s to new seasons!