You know the saying. “Everything is Bigger in Texas.” However, “go big or go home” isn’t the goal when moving into a smaller home. In fact, you will have to develop a minimalist mindset so that you don’t make the mistake of overcrowding your new home. And if you need to sell your house fast, you will need to make some tough decisions quickly. Check out this guide to help you with downsizing to a smaller home in San Antonio.
Get the Help of a Top Agent
Before you start discarding things in anticipation of downsizing, it is a good idea to get the help of one of San Antonio’s top real estate agents. They can help you find a suitable space and even provide you with downsizing tips. In addition, they will be your eyes and ears throughout the process and can provide you with accurate figures on how much to sell your house for and help you find a cheaper one.
Start With Your Next Home
When getting mentally prepared for downsizing, it may be a good idea to know how much space your new home has in terms of square footage. For example, if you currently live in a house of around 2200 square feet but move to one that is about 1400 square feet, you will need to reduce your load substantially. If you are lucky enough to buy a new home around the same time you’ve sold your previous one, it may be a good idea to take measurements in the various rooms of each house so you know how much space you have. This will help you determine whether you need to ditch your large living room furniture or colossal bed in exchange for something that will fit your space.
Give Away What You Don’t Want
One of the best ways to prepare for the physical move to your new home is to declutter your home. The first step in the decluttering process is to gather what is still in good condition and give it to local charities. For example, do you have lots of canned goods that are still good that you don’t want to carry to your new home? Consider giving them to the San Antonio Food Bank. Can’t take your furry friend to the house you’re moving to? Maybe you can help them find a new home through the San Antonio Humane Society. Some other places to consider giving your old clothing or furniture are your local Society of St Vincent De Paul Friendship House, Goodwill Stores, or the Salvation Army Family Store.
Sell Your Excess
If you have some items that you can’t throw away, but you don’t want to give away either, consider making money from them. Of course, you can always sell your clothing or furniture online through a marketplace such as Craigslist or Facebook. But you can also consider local consignment shops. Most consignment shops will accept your items and pay you a small fee once the item sells. However, some shops may pay you upfront for your gently used items. A good local consignment option is the Home Consignment Center. They accept furniture and jewelry. If you have some old high-end fashion pieces that you no longer want but still have value, consider giving them to consignment shops like Otra Vez, Second Looks, or Too Good to Be Threw.
Give Toys To Local Charities
If you have young children, chances are you have lots of toys here, there, and everywhere. Unfortunately, when downsizing, your new home may not have the space to accommodate many of their toys. Therefore, you will have to consider giving some of them away. You can help other children in need by giving to The Children’s Shelter or the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation.
Toss Out the Useless Stuff
After you’ve given away and sold all that you can, the only thing left to do is get rid of items that neither you nor anyone else can use. There’s no need to take clutter to your new location. Therefore, it is a good idea to rent a dumpster. You typically have up to a week to keep it on your property so that you can discard huge wads of junk. If you don’t have enough stuff to rent a dumpster, consider piling everything in the garage or an empty room in your home for a local junk collector to pick up.
When Out of Options, Consider Storage
Sometimes, no matter how much you give away or throw away, there will come a time when you will have to put items in storage until you can figure out what to do with them. While this isn’t a good idea long-term because it could get pretty pricey, it is a good temporary solution. Try to choose a small storage unit because the shortage of space will force you to decide whether to keep an item or toss it.
A Downsize Could Be an Upcost
You may be downsizing from a larger space to a smaller one. But this doesn’t mean that you will necessarily save money. So, when downsizing, make sure that you are saving by moving to your new place if this is your intention. For instance, you may pay less money for a mortgage per month by downsizing to a condo. But there could be condo association fees that you have to pay that could drive the monthly price up more than your current place. Likewise, you may purchase a cheaper single-family home than your current one. But the neighborhood may have high homeowner association (HOA) fees. For example, average monthly homeowner’s costs in San Antonio could run between $200 and $300. Still, they could be higher or lower depending on the neighborhood you move into. So keep this in mind when calculating your monthly housing expenses.
Another increase you may have to watch out for is increased property taxes. You may have become comfortable with lower property taxes in your current community. But moving to a new area may increase your property taxes. For instance, you may reside in Bulverde, where your total property tax could be 1.89 percent. But your new neighborhood in Somerset could be 2.88 percent. Don’t forget about the cost of insurance. In addition to homeowners insurance, your new San Antonio neighborhood may be in a flood zone. Although Texas doesn’t require flood insurance, your specific property may need it. This could run upwards of $700 per year. There could also be other types of insurance you may have to purchase based on the risks in your neighborhood. So make sure that downgrading leads to a decrease in your housing costs.
Capital Gains Tax Is a Real Possibility
Another fee you could get hit with when moving from your current home into a new one is a capital gains tax. If you’ve had your house for decades and its value has gone up on it substantially, you could incur a capital gains tax when you sell it. The details of such a transaction are very intricate. Therefore, it may be a good idea to solicit the help of a CPA or other tax professional to help with this matter.
What to Do When Downsizing Parents Are Seniors
Sometimes, you may have to help your own parents downsize their homes for various reasons. Perhaps their health is failing, and they need to move to an assisted living home. Or, for safety reasons, you may have to have them move in with you. When you must help aging parents downsize, prepare for the possibility of resistance, especially if they’ve lived on their own for a long time. Allow plenty of time for the moving process so that they can adequately reminisce and get mentally prepared for the move. Also, make sure that you gather family heirlooms. And while gathering these heirlooms, make sure that you aren’t throwing away something valuable that your aging parent may have stashed away in a piece of furniture. Recently, a family from Ohio tossed out $25,000 that an aging parent had stashed in a refrigerator. Luckily, they were able to recover it. If you plan to move your aging parents into your home, ensure that your space is safe enough to accommodate them. Minimize sharp corners and cabinets. Also, ensure bathroom floors are safe, and they don’t have to lift or strain to get the items they need.
Downsizing isn’t easy, and it isn’t always a cheaper option. Therefore, you have to consider all factors when you are ready to move to a smaller place. Ultimately, you will have to do most of the work, but a real estate agent can help make the process easier.