Downsize to Upsize ~ The Yo-Yo Effect

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Beam & Branch Realty TREC #547752

An entire segment of our population is trying to make the life-changing decision if they should downsize their home. As children leave the nest and parents face the empty nest situation, sometimes homeowners begin to determine if now is the time to sell their home. However, having been in real estate for nearly two decades, I have discovered the downsize vs. upsize yo-yo effect.

 Here is the scenario:

The Seller determines they want to downsize their home. They sift through their furnishings, collections, and knick-knacks as they plan the move. The purging process ensues as the big move becomes a reality.

The new homeowners settle into their perfect downsize casa and everyone appears to be happy. Well, sometimes this state of Nervana is short-lived. When the happy empty-nesters realize after the first family get-together that with the grands and grown children, this smaller nest is not ideal.

My phone rings with the clients saying, "We've decided we need a bigger nest!" Here we go again in reverse mode to find a larger home. Not a problem for me as an agent, but in reality, the stress for the clients is escalated.

This is what I call, the "Yo-Yo Effect". For this reason, having the early-on conversation with your clients and bringing up the realities of downsizing is important. The potential needed to re-upsize is often not even thought about.

The bottom line is that as real estate professionals, being able to speak into the "realities" of a potential down-size is paramount. You may lose out on a potential sale but you will have saved your clients a ton of time and stress if the downsize is truly not the best option for them.

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Comments (17)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Paula- we were almost one of your yo-yo effect clients!  When we decided to return to Houston to be near family we thought it would be a great opportunity to find something smaller. We edited a lot of our "stuff"  and even though we were looking for that "much smaller" home, we ended up with something larger than what we had. And it's a good thing since our family dinners can reach  up to 40 or more. 

Mar 07, 2023 05:45 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Wow, Kathy Streib! I can't imagine how much food that must take to feed that many. How fun for you all.

Mar 07, 2023 08:06 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Paula - You make an important point.  I live in a smaller home.  It is perfect for just me.  However, I have a large family, and when they come home, my house bursts at the seams.

Mar 08, 2023 01:46 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Paula, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Mar 08, 2023 01:46 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

This is an excellent post with great information. Thanks for sharing it.

Have a super fantastic week!
Joe Jackson, Realtor-KWCP

Mar 08, 2023 05:32 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Paula, have to say, I did the same thing.   Bought a ranch, and is smaller, so the gatherings have to be smaller.

Mar 08, 2023 06:21 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

It really is a common issue. Sometimes the move makes sense and other times, it makes sense to stay put.

Mar 08, 2023 06:30 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Dr. Paula McDonald - so true.  Sometimes people do not think "down-sizing" all the way through especially when people are still relatively young and will still be the ones hosting family events. 

Mar 08, 2023 07:56 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

We are among those who should downsize. 

We simply have not discovered the home we want.

Mar 09, 2023 08:26 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Roy Kelley, I hope you have good luck in finding one soon. Blessings to you.

Mar 09, 2023 08:36 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

having the honest conversation upfront about whether downsizing truly makes sense  is the way to go .. might lose a sale but in the long term you gain clients' trust! 

Mar 09, 2023 09:50 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Paula agreed!  It's so important to talk about the pro's and con's up 'right sizing' is what I call it.  Sometimes it sounds good to folks but in reality it's not what they really want after sorting through things with them. A find here that many folks want to right size not so much in square footage but rather upkeep of huge yards with a lot of vegetation to manage and/or a pool.  We're kind of getting to that point but not ready to give up the pool just yet.  The yard betcha! 

Mar 09, 2023 09:56 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mar 11, 2023 06:30 PM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

We definitely upsized our "retirement home" as we live in an area that our friends and family love to visit.

Mar 12, 2023 07:12 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Funny thing when we decided to move to AZ we started cleaning out "stuff" and donating lots to local Salvation Army/Goodwill from our 1,500 square foot home. Then we moved into a 2,900 square foot home because that was the only "good" home at that time for sale in our budget.  Yes the Yo-Yo effect does happen.

Mar 12, 2023 07:42 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Paula,

Sometimes you just don't know what you want or need until the purchase is done.  It is a really good idea to have that conversation with clients.  

I am very familiar with "downsizing."  

I had 2 homes in 2 different states for about 9 years.  During the holidays or other celebrations, we would go back to CA and use our house for the family.  We realized that was not going to work and sold the 3,100 SF home in CA with a 4-car garage.

We kept our 2 BD home in Sedona. But we had furnished both homes. We are still de-junking. I gave a lot of our furniture to my son who bought a home close to us. 

Initially, we had people visiting Sedona.  None of my family has visited in many years.  I am very happy in our smaller home.  If you visit, you can stay in a hotel.  (We have plenty)!  

Mar 12, 2023 10:08 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

 I'm happy to report that after the difficult decision of whether or not to downsize it worked out great for us. Yes, the family gatherings can be frustrating. However it started a new tradition of our daughter hosting at her house for the biggest gathering which is Christmas. The yo-yo for me was going back and forth as to whether or not to downsize. Happy we took the leap!

Mar 13, 2023 07:37 PM