Middle-aged couple holding a for sale sign.

Should You Downsize From a House to an Apartment?

Plenty of homeowners miss their carefree apartment days, especially when shelling out $6,000 for a new furnace or spending another weekend cleaning gutters and raking leaves.

If your stress over home ownership duties outweighs the security of home equity, maybe you’d be happier in an apartment.

Johnny Welsh of Frisco, CO, owned a 2,000 square foot home for ten years but now lives in an 800 square foot, two-bedroom apartment where he’s reduced clutter, he says.

“I felt a ton of weight off my shoulders when I downsized and simplified life,” says Welsh. “The smaller place is easier to maintain and keep clean so I have more time in my life for other pleasures.”

Apartment living isn’t always a stress-free paradise, though.

The SelfStorage.com Moving Blog asked former homeowners to tell us what they gained and lost by downsizing from a home to an apartment. Here’s what they said:

Mature couple in front of apartment building

What They Gave Up

Storage space. A smaller space means less storage, says Brian Davis, a real estate blogger at SparkRental.com. Where will you put all that stuff that you used to stow in the basement? “I enjoy camping but it’s not very convenient to store my tent and sleeping bag behind the couch in the living room,” says Davis.

Privacy. You’ll probably hear your neighbors, and they might complain about your noise level too. Rackety neighbors in an apartment building can be a problem “in an exponentially worse way” than when you live in a house, says Davis.

Pest-free abode. You may keep your dishes washed and food contained but if your neighbors leave open bags of cookies on the kitchen counter, rodents and cockroaches could be your next roommates.

Equity. With mortgage payments, you gain equity in your investment. Money paid each month for rent benefits someone else.

Kayaking Couple In The Pacific Northwest

What They Gained

More leisure time. “I’ve been happier and reduced stress in my life,” says Welsh, who found time to write and publish a book now that he’s liberated from home maintenance duties. “I don’t care if I’m not seen as a successful homeowner anymore. Life is good,” says Welsh.

Freedom from property tax and insurance. Timothy Wiedman of Crete, NE, doesn’t miss paying nearly $1,500 in annual property tax and $900 for homeowner’s and liability insurance for a house near Chesapeake Bay in Virginia that was “way too big” for his needs, he says. Now Wiedman lives in a large, modern apartment that’s close to family and friends.

Money saved. Downsizing means less space but a smaller place also means you don’t need to buy new furniture to fill the rooms, says Davis.

Affordable utilities. Apartments often mean lower utility payments, since there’s less physical space to heat and cool and better insulation from surrounding units, Davis says.

Maintenance-free lifestyle. Wiedman’s time used to be spent on mowing grass, cleaning gutters, shoveling snow and keeping the furnace and other appliances in prime condition. Now he’s got a maintenance person to take care of those chores.

Safety and security. Gregory Golinski and his wife moved from their home to a downtown Phoenix apartment last year and couldn’t be happier. They feel safer in a building with an entry system and a 24/7 concierge. “We also prefer living higher above and not on the ground floor,” Golinski says.

An urban feel. Golinski and his wife can walk to their offices as well as to downtown cinemas and restaurants. “We like being able to buy bread or grab a coffee without having to drive,” he says.

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