Thinking of Downsizing In 2020? Here Are 3 Factors to Consider

Are you considering downsizing in 2020 or beyond? Here in Chicagoland and across the country, plenty of homeowners take this big step every year, selling their current home in order to move into a smaller space. 

People choose to downsize for any number of reasons. Oftentimes, this is a move associated with older adults, who want smaller homes that are more accessible and easier to maintain — while also being more affordable, in some cases. 

And it’s certainly not just older homeowners who consider downsizing. In some cases, homeowners of all ages may want to “downsize to upgrade,” seeking a smaller home with more features on their wishlist. Downsizing can also be a matter of convenience. Depending on your preferences, downsizing can be a way to simplify your life, declutter your home, and live a more sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyle. 

Whatever your reasons for making the move, downsizing into a smaller home can feel like a big deal. From understanding market trends to getting the help you need to find the home that will suit your needs, there’s a lot to think about. Here are three important factors to consider as you think about whether or not downsizing may be the right fit for you:

Downsizing Trends and Statistics

Downsizing is often thought of as a popular step for established homeowners — but a growing number of baby boomers are opting to stay in place. 

According to data cited by CNBC, homeowners are staying put for longer. Looking at census data reveals that “the typical American homeowner has spent 13 years in their home, up from eight years in 2010.” 

Bucking the trends set by earlier generations, many homeowners in their 60s and 70s are “working longer and putting off retirement,” according to a 2019 report from USA Today. At the same time, multi-generational households are becoming more and more common, as many millennial children continue to live under the same roof as their parents. 

According to a survey of 50- and 60-year-olds cited by USA Today, 43 percent of adults who are planning a move “want their next home to be the same size as their current one.” Another survey from 2019 found that 43 percent of 45- to 65-year olds “anticipated remaining in their current residence through their retirement,” according to USA Today.

Now, with that being said, downsizing is certainly still on the road map for many homebuyers of all generations, including both gen X and millennials. This has led to some interesting ripple effects across the real estate industry. According to a report cited by Yahoo! Finance, for instance, “the square footage of newly built, single-family homes began to shrink in 2016,” and is projected to continue declining slightly in 2020. This may reflect changing preferences among homebuyers. For younger buyers, smaller footprints may reflect a desire for “denser, more urban homes that are more walkable to shared amenities,” as Yahoo! notes. Among older homeseekers, this trend underlines a preference for spaces that are “smaller, less maintenance-heavy and more accessible.” 

Will It Be the Right Fit for You?

As with any major real estate decision, it’s important to think about your unique wants and needs — and whether downsizing will be the right fit for helping you reach your goals. 

Among those who have recently downsized, or are looking to do so, many share some similar motivations for seeking a smaller space. 

According to a report from HousingWire, citing a survey from, homeowners are primarily looking to downsize in order to save money and cut down on excess space. According to HousingWire, boomers as a group “were most likely to size down” because their “previous space was too big.” Nearly a quarter of boomers — 23 percent — said that they downsized after their kids moved out. 

Millennials, meanwhile, were more likely to cite cost savings as their primary motivation for downsizing. According to survey results cited by HousingWire, 80 percent of surveyed millennials who have downsized did so in order to save money, as did 65 percent of gen X homeowners. While older adults also cited saving money as a primary benefit, they were more likely than younger generations to sing the praises of some of the other lifestyle advantages of downsizing, such as making it easier to clean and maintain their homes. 

The upsides of downsizing? According to HousingWire, 62% of survey respondents said that it does help them to spend less, save more, and grow closer to friends and family. The drawbacks? About a third of downsizers reported feeling challenged by their lack of space, and many homeowners also found that downsizing meant having to adjust to less privacy. 

Understanding and Navigating the Real Estate Market

Looking to downsize, upsize, or purchase your first home in the near future? It’s important to have an experienced local guide on your side, who can help you navigate the ever-changing Chicagoland market. 

This is particularly true when it comes to downsizing, which has many unique aspects and personal decisions that need to be factored in — from figuring out the size and style of your next home, to devising the right strategy for your budget and goals. 

An experienced and knowledgeable Baird & Warner agent can help you focus your search and find the home that’s going to be the right fit for you, using our sophisticated toolkit of technology and resources to make the process simpler at every step of the way. A real estate professional can also help you understand the unique market factors in your area, and how they may impact your search. 

Curious about how to create a budget for downsizing? Interested in learning about the competition and costs associated with smaller homes in your dream neighborhood? Want to learn more about renovations and upgrades you can make to your current home to help it sell faster and at the best possible price? Your Baird & Warner agent can be a trusted guide for all these matters and more. 

Plus, with our one-stop shopping approach, Baird & Warner makes it easier to understand all of your options when it comes to financing your next home purchase. There are many strategies and loan products for buyers to weigh when it comes to downsizing. Your Baird & Warner agent can seamlessly connect you with an expert from Key Mortgage Services, who can help you understand all of your choices and find the loan that’s right for you. 

Ready to Start Exploring the Chicagoland Market? We Get You.

Interested in starting the search for the home that will be the right fit for you? Baird & Warner is here to help.

At Baird & Warner, our goal is to make the real estate process easier for buyers and sellers, at every step of the journey. As Chicagoland’s largest independent and family-owned real estate services company, we know what it takes to help you turn your biggest goals into reality, and can guide you through the ever-changing local market with ease. With sales, mortgage, and title services all in-house, we put a fierce focus on making life easier for buyers and sellers across Chicagoland.

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