How to Find the Perfect (Smaller) Home

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Whatever you’re buying — a house, a piece of art, or a pair of shoes — it’s smart to know what you’re looking for before you start the process. You don’t need to have the exact thing in mind (you’ll never find it), but you do need to know what you want and what you need.

Last week, I addressed the big-picture things, those that are about the kind of life you want to live in your new house. But there are plenty of seemingly basic things — day-to-day considerations — that can’t be overlooked when you’re house shopping.

I call these “The Dealbreakers.”

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Photos: Top Left | Bottom Left | Right

Storage.

One of the goals of downsizing is getting rid of clutter, and that means you’ll need clever storage space. This is especially true for clothes. Even if you clear out half your wardrobe, you still don’t want to see it all bunched up. When it comes to closets, it’s a walk-in, or I’m walking.

Room size.

If you’re downsizing, think fewer rooms, not smaller ones. Downsizing shouldn’t mean that you have to sneak around the corners of your beds, or feel like your furniture is crowding you out. Space shouldn’t be a luxury.

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Photos: Left | Right

The flow.

Smaller homes seem bigger when there’s an open floorplan. But at the same time, an open floorplan might mean you always have someone in your space. You’ll know right away if a space feels like a cozy home, or like a warehouse.

The neighborhood.

I challenge you to look outside of your comfort zone on this. When we sold our home we wouldn’t have dreamed of moving out of our neighborhood, but we did and we have enjoyed the new neighborhood more than we could’ve imagined. Take the time to explore other areas and you might find something new and exciting.

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Photos: Left | Right

The price.

This goes without saying, but don't spend too much on a smaller house. If you won’t be entertaining as much or having as many houseguests, you’ll want to spend more time going out. Now that you’ve freed yourself from all these material goods, don’t tie yourself down with a big mortgage.

Shared master vanities.

No. Not ever. Run away.

Downsizing is your chance to correct the pain points that your last house gave you. Don’t just dive into something smaller. Dive into something smarter.

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