A one-level Scottsdale home with words downsize your home

I remember many years ago when my parents told me their friends were building their dream home. This was after they retired. It was much larger than the home they raised their daughter in. I couldn't wrap my head around wanting a larger home after being empty nesters.

One of our prior neighbors told us that when she and her husband moved to Arizona they purchased a large 5-bedroom home. The idea was that they would have space for their kids and friends to visit. They said they really didn't use all of that space and the visits weren't what they had expected. They eventually downsized into a 1-bedroom Scottsdale condo.

My husband and I have a large home and we do have visitors. I'm still wanting a Murphy bed so I don't have to use the blow-up. So far, we haven't had to use that but we have used the pull-out La-Z-boy couch. And if one of our friends hadn't canceled the last visit, we would have had to use the blow-up bed. We had 7 guests at that time.

Letting go of a long-time home can be challenging, but if your current residence is too large or difficult to maintain, it might be time to consider a more manageable space. Downsizing doesn’t mean giving up comfort; it means finding a home that better suits your current needs and lifestyle.

The Benefits of Downsizing

Many who have downsized report feeling liberated by the change. Although the transition can seem daunting, the experience can bring newfound freedom, especially if you're entering a stage of life with fewer responsibilities and more opportunities for enjoyment. Real estate journalist Sheri Koones notes that while the idea of downsizing can be intimidating, every person she interviewed who took the leap expressed happiness with their decision.

Choosing the Right Home

To ensure your new home is a good fit, focus on three key factors: the lifestyle you're envisioning, the type, style, and design of the home you prefer, and making sure this home will hopefully be perfect for the rest of your life.  I hear many people saying "This is my last home. I'm never moving again!" Some of those people are young and I just smile and nod my head. Statistics are showing that people are staying put for longer, around 12 years vs the 6-7 in the past. When downsizing you'll want to make a good choice so you can consider this your forever home.

1. Envision Your Ideal Lifestyle

Downsizing offers the chance to simplify your life, freeing up time and energy for activities you love. With less house to maintain, you can spend more time on hobbies, socializing, and even traveling.

4 men playing pickleball at a Scottsdale senior community

Consider what lifestyle you envision. Do you want a home with added security for peace of mind while you go out of town, such as a gated community? Are you like us, where you need a place with guest space for visiting family and friends, yet allow it with less square footage? Maybe a senior community with additional support services is the best fit. This might be the perfect time to find a place with a golf course view if that is something you've dreamed about.

Are you done taking care of your own private pool and large yard? There are many communities with smaller yards and community pools. Some townhomes and condos offer a larger, more private outdoor patio and space than a simple small balcony.

If you've been stuck in the suburbs because of children and schools, this might be your chance to move closer to a larger downtown area. This could offer more dining selections, nightlife, museums, and entertainment without having to drive so far.

As for driving, you might want to be able to run out for food without having to drive your car or rely on public transportation. We love where we live because we can walk or ride a bike to two different large grocery stores located in a strip mall with fast food, salons, and other shops.

Not everyone wants urban living. This might be your chance to live in a more private space. Have you always dreamt of a house near or on a mountain or maybe surrounded by trees in a wooded setting? Would you like an area where you can't easily see your neighbors? Or if you don't want to be too secluded, there are also areas in Scottsdale and surrounding towns where there are smaller subdivisions surrounded by desert.

Senior subdivisions are popular in the Phoenix area, especially Sun City and Sun City West. These 2 are probably the most popular, but there are others throughout the Greater Phoenix area. We are able to search this via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Some of these communities have low real estate taxes because they do not have schools. The homes are usually smaller, but not super tiny. The homes normally have smaller yards for easier upkeep. There might be a selection of condos, townhomes, and single-family residences. A community pool(s) is usually offered.

Some seniors live in these 55-plus communities because they desire to be among their age group. Others enjoy the amenities most senior communities offer, such as entertainment, sports activities like tennis and pickleball, and the ability to meet and make new friends. Along with lower real estate taxes, the HOA fees are usually lower than the average for the surrounding areas.

Take time to envision your ideal future. List the activities and hobbies you want to pursue and the chores you wish to eliminate. This list will help guide your home search.

2. Maximizing Space with Efficient Home Design

A smaller Scottsdale home doesn't mean cramped

Most older residents prefer a single-level floorplan so they don't have to worry about stairs. My Mother had a two-story home but her bedroom was on the main level. The two bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs were for visitors. She ended up getting a chairlift so she could safely make it to the upper level as she had a nice-sized storage closet up there that she sometimes wanted access to.

A smaller home doesn’t have to feel cramped. Efficient design can make a space feel larger and more comfortable. Look for features like high ceilings, large windows, and open layouts. Built-in storage and multi-purpose rooms can also maximize space. I've shown some Scottsdale condos on a golf course where many of them have Murphy beds in the office area. This is how they were built originally and fit seamlessly with the wood office set-up. Some owners kept them and some didn't. Or maybe it was an option and some didn't choose it.

If you don't plan on having overnight guests then you don't have to worry about extra sleeping space. Or if you might have an occasional guest, a sleeper sofa might be all you need. Blow-up beds work but you'll need space to store them. They never fold up to how you first got them.

Interior design can make a big difference. Light colors, mirrors, and sheer curtains can create the illusion of more space. Flexible furniture with hidden storage is also a great way to keep your home organized.

You might look at a smaller kitchen without a pantry and wonder how that will work for you. You are downsizing, so get rid of some of those single-use small appliances that you rarely, if ever, use. Same with utensils, dishes, and serving/partyware. Do you have a set of china that hasn't been used in years? Now might be the time to unload.

With our Arizona weather, if you have a patio it can be an extension of the home for cooking, dining, entertaining, and relaxing. Even a small space can offer those amenities if set up efficiently.

If you currently have a dining room but rarely use it, then sell the furniture.& Try to find a kitchen set that you can expand when entertaining. If you have the storage space, have a card table on hand if needed.

Identify essential furniture and items, then measure them. Knowing what will fit can help you evaluate potential homes more effectively. Or you might have to purchase more compact furnishings to fit in the smaller space but set it up similarly to what you're used to. It can be done.

Assuming you have to sell a larger home, this will be your chance to declutter and get rid of the things you won't be taking with you. Only pack what you know you will want and use in your new smaller home. Start this process before putting your current home on the market. Your home will show better and any storage area you use will look more spacious.

Design features to enhance a smaller Scottsdale home

3. Downsizing for Lifelong Comfort

A home that accommodates aging can enhance your health and happiness. Many people prefer to age in place, but not all homes are designed for this. Look for features like single-level living, accessible bathrooms, and wide doorways. You might not be thinking about these needs yet, but if you feel this is your last move, you might have to keep this in mind.

Consider your future needs as well as your current ones. Features like handrails, barrier-free showers, and accessible switches can be beneficial at any age. If you love a house that doesn't currently have all of these items, consider if you'd be able to make these changes where the financial cost will be worth it. You probably won't need some of these upgrades right away.

Prioritize long-term accessibility in your downsized home in Scottsdale

If you're considering attached living, you might be surprised to find out that a one-bedroom condo usually offers a larger bedroom since there is only one. That is what our prior neighbor decided on. Although she moved in with her husband after he got sick, she ended up being there alone. It was perfect for her and didn't seem small as it had high ceilings and a great floor plan. So keep an open mind when searching for your downsized place.

If you have a pet or two you'll need to check the rules for a condominium or townhouse complex. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the 55+ mobile home communities. They usually allow pets and if you don't like the idea of sharing walls with someone, you might enjoy a nice mobile home. In Phoenix, the mobile communities usually offer a pool or more and a community center. I've noticed that the 55+ mobile communities have lower rental fees than regular mobile home parks. They seem to be kept up nicer and some are gated.

Review the home safety checklist below and highlight the most important features. This will help ensure your new home meets your needs now and in the future.

A checklist to help downsize your Scottsdale home

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, downsizing doesn't mean sacrificing comfort; it's about finding a new home that enhances your quality of life. With careful planning and consideration, you can find a smaller home that perfectly fits your lifestyle. We can help you navigate this transition, ensuring you find the ideal home and maximize the value of your current property.

I have helped many seniors downsize from their large homes. Many times it's a widow or widower living in a large home by themselves. They have no need for 4+ bedrooms or 3+ bathrooms. They don't need a formal living room plus a family room. Most seniors don't really need an office. They might not utilize their built-in pools any longer but still have to maintain them.

Senior couple packing up the kitchen in their Scottsdale home

They might love their current home and the thought of moving can make them nervous and even angry, especially when their kids are urging them to make a move. The problem is that these children usually are the ones who have to take care of these homes. It's difficult enough having to work and take care of their own property. Many seniors can't afford to hire house cleaners, landscapers, pool upkeep, etc. So this falls on the shoulders of relatives and sometimes neighbors.

Contact us for a free consultation to start your downsizing journey. We are here to guide you through this process and help you discover the perfect living situation for this exciting new chapter in your life. Call Judy at 480-906-1500.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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