Advantages & Disadvantages of Downsizing

Downsizing a house can allow for less cleaning in older age.
Downsizing a house can allow for less cleaning in older age. (Image: David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images)

The emotions of downsizing to a smaller home vary based on the individual and his reasons for downsizing. A retired couple might downsize to have a more manageable space after children have moved out, and they might look forward to a new home. An individual who lost a job, on the other hand, might become depressed and angry at the need to downsize. Regardless of the reasons, there are both advantages and disadvantages to downsizing a home, which apply to any situation.

Less Space

One of the main disadvantages of downsizing is the lessened amount of space. Having less space can mean getting rid of some furniture, or buying new furniture to fit the house if older furniture is too large. It can also result in family crowding, if a family downsizes while children are still in the house.

Leaving Behind Friends

Depending on the location of the move, downsizing can mean going to a new town or a new state. Even if you're staying in the same city, you're still uprooting the family and moving to a new neighborhood. Leaving behind friends and neighbors who you've known for years is often emotionally challenging.


Moving is stressful, even when the move is good and necessary. You must pack up all of your belongings, sell the old house if it was purchased or give appropriate notice for a renter, and perhaps even buy a new house before the old house is no longer available. This stress is a downfall of moving, but is unavoidable.

Extra Money

For a home that has gone up in value since it was purchased or that is either paid off or mostly paid off, one potential advantage of downsizing is the extra money. The sale of a larger home will often net more money than the new home requires, meaning extra money in your pocket.

Lower Costs

A smaller home naturally has lower costs for regular household needs. For example, heating and cooling are usually less expensive with a smaller house than a larger house. Taxes may also be lower for smaller homes, though the amount of lowered costs in taxes will vary depending on the state and the size of the lot, as well as the size of the home.

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