If your lifestyle has changed and you’re finding your house or yard is to large, it may be time to downsize.

 There was a time when people bought a home with a 30-year mortgage and stayed in the same home long after it was paid off, and many times until the end of life. Most of those homes were modest and had at least one bedroom on the main floor; they were affordable, easy to maintain, and if needed, they could be modified to accommodate seniors or special needs.

 We don’t see many people staying put for over 30 years anymore. Somehow we got to the point where every time our family situation changed, our home had to change with it. Today most of my clients are those that bought a larger home, as their family grew, and now the kids are gone and they have too much house. Some are looking to cut expenses, move to one level living, reduce time spent on maintenance, or relocate to a more “exciting” neighborhood.

 Surprisingly, downsizing your home doesn’t always mean downsizing your expenses. Many of my clients experience sticker shock when they start looking at condos or townhomes, not to mention the price hike if they move into the Twin Cities.

 Downsizing is not always easy, especially if you have been in your home for a long time and you have accumulated a lifetime of memories, collections, and keepsakes. Most of my clients find that after they declutter, donate, and sell a few things, they can comfortably live in 1200-1400 square feet with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage, outdoor space, and hopefully a den.

 There has been an increase in new one level living townhome communities in Chisago County over the past few years to accommodate the baby boomers. The median sale price of the 2+ bedroom, one level townhomes that sold over the past year is $191,450. The average size is 1,526 square feet. The average year built is 2007. The older units were built in the early 1990’s.

 If we look at the townhomes built in the past two years, the median price is $246,942 and the average size is 1,651 finished square feet. The new townhomes are more expensive, but everything is new which will save on future maintenance costs. There are newer townhome developments in Lindstrom, North Branch, and Chisago City. Some of the townhomes come with a basement.

 An experienced real estate agent can help you determine the value of your home, provide staging advice, and provide options for new one level homes.

 Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.