What All the “Sizing” Means

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Elder Law

You’ve probably heard about downsizing, but have you heard about rightsizing and upsizing? Let’s take a look at each and what they all mean for older adults in particular.

Downsizing: A Consistent Trend

The term “downsizing” applies to numerous things, including real estate, organization, and business, but in general means to reduce the amount of what you have. In this case, we’re talking about downsizing from a large home to a smaller one.

The downsizing trend has been fairly consistent since it began, and continues even now. Many older adults find that a large house is beyond their ability to pay for or upkeep, and so move to a smaller living space that’s more manageable. Even some younger adults choose to downsize or just live in a smaller space from the beginning in order to save on costs and maintenance.

Rightsizing: The New Buzzword

Rightsizing is the latest in the home lifestyle trends and is growing in popularity. To rightsize your home doesn’t necessarily involve a move from one home to another. In fact, rightsizing doesn’t usually involve a move at all.

By rightsizing your home, you’re utilizing the space you already have but in a more efficient, functional way that meets your needs better. This may include organizational changes, maybe letting go of some belongings that you’re ready to part with, or even some minor renovations to alter the space you’re already living in.

For older adults who want to stay in their home for a longer period of time, this is the stage they actually find themselves in. They may add handrails in halls or bathrooms for stability, better lighting, and remove trip hazards, among other modifications.

REALTOR Magazine reported that a growing number of older adults are choosing not to downsize in their retirement, and 52% of baby boomers (who are now of retirement age) say they don’t plan to move from their current homes [1].

Upsizing: An Unusual Plan

It’s not often that you hear of an older adult buying a larger home; it’s far more typical that you’ll see a senior citizen downsizing to a smaller home or moving into a senior care facility instead. So when might an older adult choose to upsize?

Upsizing is the opposite of downsizing – it means moving into a larger living space, and often comes with proportionate costs. However, some older adults may choose to upsize if they need the space, particularly to accommodate medical equipment, larger and more accessible halls and rooms, or if they’re moving in with friends or relatives and all plan to share the same space.

An upsize move is most typically seen for young families who are moving from an apartment or starter home into a single-family home to accommodate a growing family.

If you or a loved one are considering making changes in living space, you may want to speak with a qualified Seniors Real Estate Specialist or other real estate agent in your area who understands your particular market.

[1] REALTOR Magazine. May 22, 2019. https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/05/22/baby-boomers-who-needs-to-downsize