Thinking About Downsizing in Retirement?

By on March 25, 2017
thinking about downsizing

By Sam Radbil—

Why Apartment Life Might Be Right For You

We often think of renting as a young person’s game. And it’s true — Millennials dominate the rental market. But according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Research, nearly half of the country’s renter growth in the last 10 years has come from older Americans in their 50s and 60s. Retirees are trading their mortgages for leases in droves. But is it the right choice for you? Here are six reasons it might be:

  1. Cleaning is Much Easier.

Do you really need three bedrooms, now that your kids are in homes of their own? More importantly: Do you really want to vacuum and dust three bedrooms? All that room is probably wonderful when you have guests, but maintaining it when you don’t can be expensive and time-consuming. Downsizing into an apartment will make the task of interior home maintenance more manageable and less time-consuming.

  1. Also: No Yard Work!

Even if you love mowing and the smell of freshly cut grass, yard work gets more difficult as you age. Pushing a lawnmower around is physically taxing and can even be dangerous. So forget the heat exhaustion, the twisted ankles, and the sore muscles. Downsizing into an apartment lessens the burden of yard maintenance, and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be cut off from the outdoors entirely — in fact, many complexes have shared green spaces that allow you to put your feet in the grass without having to also cut it.

  1. It Can Be a Windfall.

Depending on your market, selling your home in favor of a rental can be a financially advantageous decision. Downsizing can give you a substantial, immediate bump in retirement funds. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save in maintenance. Who wants to replace a furnace at age 80?

  1. It’s a Living Space Designed for the Way You Live Now.

Developers are smart: As an increasing number of Boomers move into the rental market, they’ve begun to construct properties that cater to their needs. Accessible bathrooms, single-story floor plans, and spaces designed to make it easy to keep doing things you’ve always done. Instead of fighting your space, you can live in harmony with it. Better yet, it can make daily life safer, via new technology — like Philips Lifeline, which can sense if you’ve fallen in your home and need help.

  1. It’s Easy to Go Downtown

If you’ve been locked into the same house and community since your kids were little, downsizing gives you a chance to put down roots somewhere new. Have you always dreamed of living in the city? Now you can. And maybe you should — living within easy walking distance of shops, pharmacies, restaurants, cultural centers, and health care providers can be incredibly convenient as you age. One of the largest challenges to self-sufficiency is mobility — and often, the ability to drive. If you live in the middle of it all, you won’t need your car keys very often, if at all. Want a quick dinner? Time to pick up a prescription? Feel like going to the opera? Just walk — or take a cab.

  1. More Time for Family and Friends… and Yourself

Less cleaning, less yard work, a shorter commute… Downsizing can often simplify your life, leaving you time you wouldn’t have otherwise. But it can also be the start of a new chapter in life, one that is dedicated to spending time with family and friends… and maybe even a few new neighbors. Many communities geared toward downsizing retirees have social groups, book clubs, and cinema screenings aimed at building new bonds and friendships. Just because you’re of a certain age, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try a new hobby or make some new friends. Downsizing can help you keep your adventurous spirit and encourage you to try something new. It’s a challenge, but if you’re up for it, the rewards can be substantial.

Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

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