Once the kids have left the nest, you may be wondering what to do with all of the extra space in your home. Chances are, you don’t need four bedrooms anymore, and it may be a great time to sell your house and downsize, maybe even into a single-story home. You’ve likely gained significant equity if you’ve lived in your home for a while, so making a move while demand for your current house is high could be your best step forward toward the retirement goals you set out to achieve several years ago.
The dilemma, though, is where to go next. A big concern for many homeowners who are ready to sell is finding a home to move into, given today’s lack of houses available for sale. There is, however, some good news: the number of single-family 1-story homes being built today is on the rise, improving your odds of finding the right home for your changing needs. In a recent article, The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:
“Nationwide, the share of new homes with two or more stories fell from 53% in 2018 to 52% in 2019, while the share of new homes with one story grew from 47% to 48%.”
Here’s a map showing the breakdown of newly constructed homes being built by region, and the percentage of 1-story and 2-story homes in that mix:
What are the benefits of buying a one-story home?
Still not sure about buying a single-story home? An article from Home Talk covers several advantages of switching from two floors to one:
1. Energy Efficient
“It is easier to heat and cool a single-story house [than] it would be to regulate the temperatures of a multi-story house.”
Most single-story homes only need one heating or cooling unit, and they typically stay cooler than a two-story home, both of which can lead to significant savings.
2. Easier to Maintain
“Doing a general cleaning in a single story requires less effort and you will be able to see all areas that need cleaning and the areas are easily accessible.”
Cleaning and maintenance of a single-story home can take less time and effort, and better upkeep helps improve the overall value of the home.
3. Accessible for Everyone
“A single-story house can be accessed by anyone, whether they are young children or the senior citizens.”
If you’re looking for a house that provides a safe and easily accessible environment at any age, a single-story home may be optimal.
4. Good Resell Potential
“When buying a single-story house, you should consider the resale value…Due to the high demand of these types of houses it is [easy] to resell them, and depending on the growth rate of an area, it increases in value significantly.”
Single-story homes have a lot of benefits and are often in higher demand. This bodes well for future resale opportunities.
How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020
Home values have been increasing for 93 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. If you’re a homeowner, particularly one looking to downsize your living space, that’s great news, as you’ve likely built significant equity in your home.
Here’s some more good news: mortgage rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020 at an average of 3.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.
The combination of leveraging your growing equity and capitalizing on low rates could make a big difference in your housing plans this year.
How to Use Your Home Equity
For move-up buyers, the typical pattern for building financial stability and wealth through homeownership works this way: you buy a house and gain equity over several years of mortgage payments and price appreciation. You then take that equity from the sale of your house to make a down payment on your next home and repeat the process.
For homeowners ready to downsize, home equity can work in a slightly different way. What you choose to do depends in part upon your goals.
According to HousingWire.com, for some, the desire to downsize may be related to retirement plans or children aging out of the home. Others may be choosing to live in a smaller home to save money or simplify their lifestyle in a space that’s easier to clean and declutter. The reasons can vary greatly and by generation.
Those who choose to put their equity toward a new home have the opportunity to make a substantial down payment or maybe even to buy their next home in cash. This is incredibly valuable if your goal is to have a minimal mortgage payment or none at all.
A local real estate professional can help you evaluate your equity and how to use it wisely. If you’re planning to downsize, keep in mind that home prices are anticipated to continue rising in 2020, which could influence your choices.
The Impact of Low Mortgage Rates
Low mortgage rates can offset price hikes, so locking in while rates are low will be key. For many downsizing homeowners, a loan with a shorter term is ideal, so the balance can be reduced more quickly.
Interest rates on 10, 15, and 20-year loans are lower than the rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. If you’re downsizing your housing costs, you may prefer a shorter-term loan to pay off your home faster. This way, you can save thousands in interest payments over time.
There are many benefits to downsizing into a one-story home. If you’re planning a transition into something smaller, doing so while demand for your current house is high might make it easier than ever to make a move.
The twin trends of low mortgage rates and rising home equity can kickstart or boost your plans, especially if you’re anticipating retirement soon or just want to live somewhere that’s easier to maintain.
Let’s connect if you’re ready to purchase the single-story home you need while homes are so affordable today.