Real estate

How to Downsize Your Living Space if You’re Resident in Phoenix, AZ

Save MoneyWhile the housing market is still a whirlwind of chaos in much of the country, Phoenix seems to be smoothing out…at least a little bit. This is good since the housing market crashed hit here hardest of all. Foreclosure rates are going down. The job market is growing, which means the population is growing and there certainly isn't a dearth of physical space for the city to expand. This means it's a buyer's market.

There's a really great article in the New York Times called "Real Estate Boom in Phoenix Brings Its Own Problems," that talks about what's happening in Phoenix right now—people are flocking to Phoenix for jobs but they're having a hard time finding places within the city to live because developers are choosing to focus on outlying suburbs instead. This means that there is a demand for housing within the city but not enough homes to meet that demand (not everybody wants to commute an hour in to work from a suburb every day).

This means that, if you live within Phoenix proper, now is a great time to sell your house.

There are lots of reasons to sell a house and move into a smaller space or rental but these are two of the biggest:

1. Selling a house and moving into an apartment can create a windfall of cash that, after taxes and fees are paid, can help you pay off a bunch of debt, move to another city or even buy another space within the city (or one of those suburbs with all the cheap housing).

2. Smaller spaces and rentals are easier to keep up which, if you're getting older, can be a huge reason to ditch the bigger house you've been working to maintain. This is particularly true of rentals where the cost of maintenance and repairs (and even most utilities) is included in the rent.

But wait! What about my stuff?

There is no rule that says you have to get rid of everything you own when you move into a smaller space. While ridding yourself of clutter can be a great way to start over (and earn some extra cash, since Phoenix is rife with yard salers and Craigslist buyers), there are options if you can't bear to part with even a tiny scrap of scribbled on paper.

The easiest thing to do if you're determined to hold on to everything is to rent a storage space. Storage units, Phoenix based and elsewhere, are a great place to store your toys for the winter. The best way to utilize your storage units (Phoenix has plenty of sizes and styles to choose from so don't worry that you won't have enough space) is to use them to protect things that you do not use every day.

Yes, you do too have things that you don't use every day.

When you decide to move, go through your house with the finest toothed comb you can muster and sort things into three piles:

1. I wear/use this at least once every couple of weeks.

2. I like this, it comes in handy sometimes/has intense nostalgic value and I want to keep it.

3. What is this? When did I get this? How did I get this?

Pile 1 gets packed up and taken to your new small house or apartment. Pile 2 gets packed up and put into your storage unit (make sure everything is labeled!) and see? You scoffed at the idea of having things on hand that you don't need or use! Pile 3 is for selling or donating.

FYI: donations to the Goodwill or other non-profit organizations are tax deductible.

Another note about storage units: They can be a great place to store your things if you choose to spend your summers somewhere more temperate. A lot of people choose to spend summers in the North and winters in the desert. Store your things when you're at your other home so that you don't have to worry that someone will break into your closed house and steal your stuff!

The important thing to take away here is this: there is a market for your home, especially if you live within Phoenix's city limits. If you've been thinking about selling (or if you need to sell to take care of other financial issues) now is the time to do it. So what are you waiting for? Call your local realtor already!

If you have any questions, please ask below!