Is it time to downsize?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

Photo: bobby/morguefile.com 


Q. My kids are in college and my house is bigger than I need, but I love it. How do I decide if I want to move?

A. The decision to downsize should be looked at from a financial standpoint, a logistical standpoint and a psychological standpoint.

Financially, staying in a bigger home than you need usually doesn’t make sense, said Brian Power, a certified financial planner with Gateway Financial in Westfield. That’s simply because it probably costs more to maintain the home.

“If you were to downsize in a nearby area, chances are that you would save on property taxes and utilities,” Power said. “Property taxes alone could be a significant savings.”

The other side of the coin financially is how much a house will appreciate in value, Power said. If homes are in an appreciating trajectory, as they are in today’s market, you may make more dollar gain (versus percentage gain) by staying in the bigger home, he said.

He recommends looking closely at the past few years of appreciation in the different towns you would consider if you downsize, comparing that to how demand your current home’s price range is.

And don’t forget the cost of moving.

If you can afford to keep the bigger home without it hurting your other financial goals, Power said keeping it could make sense as your children make their way through college and early adulthood. This way, you will have a bedroom for them when they come home for breaks, or once they graduate but before they get their first job.

Lastly, home ownership isn’t just about finances, Power said.

“Enjoying where you live and staying close to the bonds you’ve made in your community can keep you in a happier place in life,” he said.

If you can afford to keep the bigger home without hurting those other financial goals, staying where you are might be the best solution for future happiness, he said.

“Even as the kids move out permanently, there’ll always be a place for the grandkids to visit and enjoy sleepovers with Grandpa and Grandma if the house is big enough,” Power said.

Good luck with this big decision!

Email your questions to moc.p1510972370leHye1510972370noMJN1510972370@ksA1510972370.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.