To Downsize or Not to Downsize? That is the Question.

Posted on May 2, 2012


We loved having Carla Hill from on our show last weekend. In the good ole’ days, it seemed that most of us set the plan to upsize our homes until we were in a home that comfortably fit our families – and then we looked into downsizing once empty nesting hit and retirement soon followed.


Is downsizing right for you? Could your kids share a room?

However, in this economy, everything is turned upside down, and there are new rules being written. Young families in large homes are looking to downsize; and for good reason. A high unemployment rate, loss of stability in 20+ year careers and rising costs on just about everything have families reconsidering their “needs” in a home. How to know what’s the smartest move for your family? We got the scoop from Carla.

When to Downsize Your Home

There is a trend popping up all around that the “McMansions” as Carla called them are OUT. Homeowners are no longer looking for the huge luxury homes filled with media rooms, 5+ bedrooms, exercise rooms with tanning beds, single-court basketball goals – we think you get the idea. The tough economy has made many Americans rethink the size of their homes … and their electric bills. Home buyers are looking for a smaller, more efficient homes that will still be a perfect dwelling for the family – yet at a smaller price tag. And that lower price tag is across the board – a smaller home means less property tax, insurance, cost of repair, energy costs and more. In fact, the Census Bureau’s recent Survey of Construction indicated that the standard home is of today is 2,150 square feet with 2.5 bath and 3 bedrooms. (This is down considerably from the boom era seen just 5 or 6 years ago.) It appears that there’s quite a trend stirring, and until the market bounces back – we don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Is it time to downsize?

If you’re not sure if downsizing is right for you, Carla encouraged Truth in Lending Show listeners to think through these few questions:

  • Could you really live in a smaller home?
  • Could your child share a bedroom (great for teaching responsibility and sharing)
  • How much space does your family REALLY need?

Downsize for some Family Time

In addition – Carla mentioned the social benefits to downsizing. While many are motivated to downsize by financial reasons and smaller mortgage payments, the social relationships among family members may also be benefited by downsizing. Centuries ago, families lived (and kids went to school) in one-room cabins and buildings that were small-scale and quaint. When a “McMansion” has a bedroom and bathroom for every family member, some bonds are lost. Bonding opportunities like learning how to share the bathroom with your sister or hanging out and playing a game in the basement while your brother is on the computer are more easily achieved in a smaller space.

We’re grateful for Carla and her wise words of wisdom. To read more of Carla’s advise for downsizing, listen to the Nov. 13 Truth in Lending Show and read through our show’s archives!

Posted in: Dowsizing