Go with the Flow

The upsides of downsizing your home.

Story by Ellen Linnemann 

Downsizing was once thought to be for seniors or those going through life changes, such as a divorce or an empty nest. Today, it’s more popular than ever. The days of the “McMansion” and the “bigger is better” mentality have diminished.

Many of today’s home buyers are looking for homes that may be smaller, but still make them feel as if they aren’t missing out on any of the amenities they’ve become accustomed to in their previous homes. Here in the Lowcountry, the downsizing trend is prevalent.

“When it comes to downsizing, it’s not really about the square footage,” said Matt Green, president of Front Light Building Company in Bluffton. “The true smart homes of today aren’t really as much about technology as about the design and flow of a home. With the right design, and the most effective use of space, you can live in a home quite smaller than your previous home and never feel as if you are missing a thing.”

 

Who is downsizing? And why?

According to a recent TD Ameritrade Survey, 42 percent of pre-retirees report being likely to downsize (with 25 percent of respondents planning to move to a warmer climate and 17 percent planning to relocate to be closer to loved ones.) It seems like everyone today is seeing the value in downsizing, from seniors to working professionals and families of all sizes.

“We work with so many clients who are downsizing from bigger homes throughout the Lowcountry and from other regions of the country. The key to the homes we design and build for them center on livability, flow, storage and the connection of indoor/outdoor areas such as porches and other amenities,” Green said.

Our experience in seeing what works and what doesn’t work in terms of maximizing space in the hundreds of houses we’ve built has a tremendous impact on our clients.”

Tiphany Jackson, owner of Haven Professional Organizing Services, has helped countless Lowcountry families downsize, de-clutter and stage homes for sale.

“Almost all of the clients I work with are downsizing and looking for more of an open concept with fewer rooms with an emphasis on spaces to gather and entertain,” she noted. “I’ve had several clients who felt like they moved to a larger space even though they downsized considerably because we got rid of everything they didn’t use and only kept pieces they truly loved, which we re-purposed through paint or re-upholstery into furnishings they are very happy with.”

Half the size, twice the happiness

In addition to the significant financial savings involved in the purchase of a smaller home, downsizing can dramatically enhance a homeowner’s quality of life. “A smaller home with fewer possessions and less to clean can mean more freedom to enjoy the activities and people you love,” Jackson said.

Green points to what he remembers about an extremely satisfied customer who went from a 5,100-square-foot home to a 1,900-square- foot downsized home here in the Lowcountry.

The homeowners couldn’t be happier with their new home that seemed to be just as big (or bigger) than their previous home due to design and flow created with its open kitchen, screened-in porch, 12-foot ceilings and built-in storage,” Green said.

“There are ways to cut unnecessary space in a home, while instead creating more livable space through an open floor plan and outdoor living space such as porches,” Green said. “Maybe a guest bedroom doesn’t need to be 16 feet-by-16-feet and instead can be smaller. The key to creating the perfect downsized home is to find out where people like to spend the most time, such as in a big, open and airy kitchen and create a floor plan that not only feeds your need for space, but feeds your soul.”