Suddenly, a place that was perfect for you a decade or two ago might feel cavernous. If you’re starting to dream about trading in your rambling old house for a smaller cottage or new condo, here are the steps you’ll have to take.

1. Consider your finances

  • How much your home is worth
  • Where you want to buy or rent
    • HOAs
    • New taxes if you leave your area
  • Mortgage rates
  • Your credit scores

2. Think about space

  • Visit smaller homes at open houses
  • Walk through IKEA showrooms
  • Record square footage and your impressions of space
  • Don’t forget lot size

3. Could you change enough to stay?

  • Remodeling and staying put might be an option
  • Convert one floor to a unit and rent it
  • Widen the stairs
  • Update the bathroom
  • Talk to contractors and scope a budget to see if this is realistic

Decide where to go

  • In the same area, but closer to some amenities or people?
  • Different neighborhood?
  • Different city?
  • Different state?
  • Different country?

5. Factor in cost-of-living changes

  • Groceries and gas
  • Utilities
  • Parking
  • Public transportation
  • Entertainment

6. Find a place to land

  • Familiarize yourself with a typical house
  • Get specific measurements for your new place

7. Replace or shed furniture

  • Consider size, function, daily usage
  • Eliminate duplicate items
  • Think about what you can replace
  • Take measurements of what you buy so you’re sure it will fit

8. Getting rid of excess baggage

  • Books
  • Decorations
  • Clothes
  • Kitchenware
  • Appliances

9. Understand your storage options

  • Will you have a storage closet?
  • Or a garage?
  • A basement?
  • An attic?
  • Should you rent a storage unit?
    • Be careful with this option
    • If you don’t have a plan to deal with it, get rid of it

10. Organize, organize, organize

  • Your finances
  • Your giveaways or sales of your things
  • Your donations
  • Your move-out

11. Make the move

  • You may be seized with second thoughts
  • Make a list of the things you don’t like about your about-to-be downsized lifestyle and house
    • Refer to it throughout the process 








This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.