Musings from a life of chances and changes
Tiny Houses: Downsizing Is Trendy
Recently, Super Bowl champion Deion Sanders sold his 29,000 square foot mansion in Dallas. It is an extraordinary home, with nine bedrooms, ten bathrooms, a 12-acre lake, football field, tennis court, indoor and outdoor pool, movie theater, bowling alley, indoor basketball court, barber shop, garage space for 14 cars, 3,000 square foot closet, and an awards gallery. Deion moved to a 7,000 square foot more understated rental house and then decided to go even smaller. “I want to go tiny because I’ve been through huge and humongous and wanting everyone to know that I’m successful, but I’m past that,” explains Sanders. “Now it’s about needs, not wants.” The NFL star is a big fan of HGTV's Tiny House Nation and hired architects to build him a luxury 600 square foot house. See the results at http://www.fyi.tv/shows/tiny-house-nation/season-4/episode-3 The success of TV shows like Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Builders, Tiny House, Big Living, and Tiny House Nation emphasize the popularity of the micro-dwelling movement.
Why is less...more?
The architectural and social movement to live a simpler life can be persuasive. Millennials think that it is financially prudent, considering college loan repayments, and it is an eco-friendly way to be debt free. The lifestyle attracts an aging population of Baby Boomers also. By 2029, nearly 71.4 million people in the United States will be at least 65 years old. For Baby Boomers who lost savings in the recession, a large home is no longer a sustainable model for retirement. They want to remain financially independent, and moving into a home with less square footage may be the answer. However, a home with fold up furniture, composting toilets, and steep staircases is laughable to most Baby Boomers. The TV show Portlandia provides a humorous view of micro-living.
Is Downsizing Depressing?
Another aspect to explore is the emotional strength needed to sell and move from your home. Typically, moving is one of the major stressors in life. It is anxiety provoking when you release history. It is exhausting to unload decades of accumulated stuff. When I think of downsizing, I think about my home as the place where I've lived the longest, raised my children, established friendships, and envisioned my grandchildren playing in the backyard. But now that the nest is empty, a large home does not make economic sense. Rather than viewing it as depressing, Realtor.com analyzes four questions to determine whether downsizing is rational.
Is Selling Your Home An Obstacle?
For those who find that living smaller is the best option, the next challenge is selling your home. Realtors know that selling in the spring market can be competitive. In Chicagoland, the supply is low. Inventory is bound to become more plentiful as the season continues. Analysts predict mortgage rates will rise. For the best result, put your home on the market with a professional sooner rather than later. Forbes addresses the recommendation to sell with a realtor.
Is It Difficult To Buy In A Seller's Market?
One expert believes that the decision to downsize will offset the economic stress a buyer sees in a competitive market. “There are opportunities for a seller-turned-buyer who wants to downsize in this market,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com. “You can lock in financing rates that you’ll never see again, and very likely make the trade-off work.” The economic rewards should help with downsizing discomfort. Although micro-dwellings are not for everyone, the trend to downsize simplifies life and produces financial relief.
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
-Henry David Thoreau
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Judi Berger is an attorney and real estate broker who is blogging as she begins a new chapter in her life.