For many years, downsizing has been a watchword in the real estate industry, with both retirees and younger buyers and sellers thinking about reducing their square footage for a variety of reasons. However, the advent of COVID-19 and the reality of life in a smaller space has many people rethinking their previous plans and upsizing instead. If you’re not sure which is right for you, read on to see if you and your family would benefit from upsizing your space.
Is upsizing right for you?
While upsizing isn’t for everyone, it is the right answer for a variety of buyers. Here are some of the scenarios where an upsized home may be the perfect fit.
Those Who Downsized Too Far
Over the past few years, many older homeowners have traded in their large suburban homes for small condos with only one or two bedrooms. The selling points include no outdoor maintenance and a host of resort-style amenities in the better in-town and retirement condo communities.
However, many of these eager downsizers soon found themselves missing all of that open space, especially on holidays or when the grandkids came to visit. The advent of COVID-19 has further complicated the downsizing equation, with adult children returning from their in-town apartments to quarantine with parents and work from home. For some homeowners, it’s time to re-upsize from a too-soon experiment in downsizing.
Perhaps your home was the perfect size when everyone was gone for most of the day five days a week. However, as more and more companies institute long-term work-from-home policies, a previously right-sized residence has become a tight fit. In addition, if the kids are participating in online learning, everyone may be struggling to find a space to get their work done.
The home office that was an occasional refuge is no longer enough, and many couples are looking for homes with two home offices or even with a pool house or she-shed suitable for separate office space. In addition, kids need to be able to get away from the distractions of their bedrooms into spaces dedicated to learning and optimized for better focus.
As camps, community rec centers, and schools canceled sports and other activities, many families have found themselves scrambling for a way to get the kids outside and active. Outdoor space is suddenly at a premium, and some families are searching for homes with upgraded features like pools and playspaces. Suburban neighborhoods with an emphasis on walking and biking trails and other wide-open spaces are more desirable than ever. Rural areas offering homes with acreage are suddenly looking like good options since the work-from-home breadwinners no longer have to worry about a long commute.
How to Save Money When You’re Upsizing
It may seem difficult to imagine upsizing, especially if you’re currently maxed out on your housing budget. However, there are a few ways to make upsizing more affordable without waiting for a windfall.
Hunt for a Bargain
If time is on your side, you can upsize without spending a bundle by waiting for the right deal. Talk to your real estate professional about foreclosures and short sales opportunities, or have them check with fellow agents in your chosen area who have listings that are going on the market in the next few months. You may want to wait until the fall or winter to buy, since sellers at that time of year are often more motivated and working under a greater time crunch.
More Affordable Market
If you’re moving from a desirable in-town high rise to a small rural area, you may find that you’re able to significantly upsize and upgrade your space without spending much more. If you are now working from home, you have far more options than you did before, so now is the time to think about where you really want to live.
If your choice of home was previously driven by your job proximity and commute, consider where you want to settle down now that you can settle down anywhere. If your choice of home was previously driven by the local schools and sports leagues, consider whether you can move the kids to the country now that they are attending school online.
One of the most expensive aspects of moving to a larger space is the amount of new furniture you’ll need to purchase. In this case, time is on your side and there’s no reason to feel that you have to have a picture-perfect home on day one of your move. Take your time, look for bargains, and let your home’s interior take shape organically over time.
Consider asking your family for your wish list pieces of furniture, art, or decor on holidays or birthdays. Use the money you would have spent going out to restaurants in the city on a new rug or side table. If you’re not taking a vacation this year due to COVID-19, put that money into furnishing a room in your new, upsized space.
If you’ve decided that upsizing is the goal for you and your family, talk with your real estate agent or broker about possible neighborhoods and the type of home that’s right for your needs. Your real estate professional can help you develop a smart strategy for selling your current home while simultaneously purchasing your new home, making the transition as seamless as possible.
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