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In 1970, the average size of a home was 1,400 square feet. By 2004, it was nearly twice that—2,330 square feet. Mortgage payments, maintenance, utilities, insurance and taxes now make up a huge portion of our budgets. And more and more families are finding that a reason to downsize their homes.
We asked Dave's Facebook fans about their downsizing experiences, and we found that most fit into three categories.
1. We Can't Afford It
With unemployment remaining uncomfortably high, a lot of people downsized because they couldn't continue to pay for their homes after a job loss or pay cut.
Andrea Ward and her family downsized from a three-bedroom home to a one-bedroom condo when she was laid off this year.
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"At first, I was absolutely traumatized," she explained in her post. "Now I have found a sense of peace, calm, less financial burden and the biggest benefit—less to clean!"
And, thanks to their cozy condo, her family is closer than ever.
Almost everyone who sold their home for financial reasons went through the same process. After holding on as long as they could, they finally went through with the sale and found it was the best decision they'd ever made.
2. We Want To Pay Off Debt Faster
A lot of Facebook families decided to cut their living expenses to turbo-charge their debt snowballs—some with dramatic results.
For example, Kim Davis had a complete financial turnaround after selling her home and getting a condo.
"I paid off $51,000 in credit card debt and paid off four mortgages," Kim said in her Facebook post. "Now I'm debt-free and have the condo on a 15-year fixed mortgage."
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She plans to pay off her condo in seven years and says life has never been better.
"I was able to contribute to the Nashville Rescue Mission this week," she said. "And I helped a friend who is behind on her mortgage. I could not have done that before!"
3. We Just Don't Need It
For a lot of people, once the kids moved out, there was just no need to keep a big house.
"The house was too big and costly to justify the payment," Candice Cregier Price said. She and her husband are now renting.
In fact, downsizing is a great way to make your money go further in retirement. With the proceeds of the sale of your home, you can boost your nest egg, buy a smaller home with cash, and use the money you save on maintenance to increase your retirement savings.
Deal With A Pro
No matter what your reason is for downsizing, you need to work with a real estate professional to make sure you accomplish your goal. Dave's real estate Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) will help you get your home sold and find a new one that fits your situation.