The bursting of the real estate bubble has made downsizing an increasingly appealing option (maybe 60 percent of people in the market for a house in 2009 were sizing down, says the National Association of Home Builders). That same burst makes the cost-effectiveness of downsizing a bit trickier than it once was.
For one thing, will you be able to sell your house for what it's worth? Will you be able to sell it in a timely manner? If you have to lower the price, how will that affect the projected financial benefits of your move?
The good news is, the buyer's market can help you out, since you'll also be buying. While you may have to sell your house for less than you'd hoped, you may also be able to buy the smaller place for less. You could come out even, but it's worthwhile to look deeply into the house sales in your neighborhood and the one you're looking to buy in to make sure you won't end up in a hole.
Of course, you can never be sure when it comes to real estate, as many of us have found out in the last decade, and you may end up with some unforeseen costs as a result.