As you move closer to retirement, downsizing can seem like a no-win situation. After all, no one loves the idea of getting rid of possessions and “settling” for a smaller home. But waiting until it’s time to move isn’t the best strategy and can create even more discomfort and stress. Here are some ways to help feel good about downsizing.
As you get older, it gets more difficult to do physically challenging tasks. Cleaning out closets and attics is no small chore. What do you keep? What gets pitched? Is anything suitable for donation? Which items might you want to give to family or friends?
You can take small steps when making these decisions. If you start early, you can do one room at a time, and spread it out. This will make the task seem less overwhelming.
What type of home will serve you best?
Deciding to move is something that needs to be done far in advance of the actual move date. Before you get to a point when moving is a necessity, think about what type of community you’d like to live in, what are your “must haves” for a new home, and especially what you DON’T want. Look around at neighborhoods and retirement communities.
If a condo or retirement community is on your radar, there could be differences in lifestyle. Be sure to check out any homeowner’s associations or “rules” that might affect your decision.
You’ll also need to think about your furnishings … what furniture will fit in a smaller home? Will you have room for treasured keepsakes, or should these be given to family members? This is part of planning ahead and will be easier if you figure it out in advance. It’s much more stressful if you wait until your move is imminent to start thinking about these things.
Figuring out your finances.
Selling your current home and buying a smaller one doesn’t always mean you’ll see a windfall. There may be expenses associated with your new home that you don’t have now. You also need to plan ahead for additional medical expenses that may crop up as you age. If you’re downsizing to save money, be sure to consult with a financial planner, attorney and of course a real estate agent.
Don’t settle for a lifestyle you don’t want.
Make sure that you’re fully aware of how your move could impact your lifestyle. For example, if you love gardening, don’t move to a condo without a yard or space to garden. Or maybe you have a hobby car and need room to tinker, so make sure there’s room and this is permitted where you move. Don’t give up everything that’s important to you. If you love to swim or golf, check out facilities that are easily accessible from your new neighborhood.
Find the right real estate agent.
All real estate agents aren’t the same. Ask for recommendations from family and friends. Interview agents and ask specifically what they will do for you. Keep in mind that you want someone who is going to be able to help you effectively manage the whole buying-selling process.
Having a game plan is the key to downsizing success. I’m here to give you the confidence to feel good about downsizing and can recommend other professionals I trust (such as attorneys, financial planners and professional organizers) to help manage various aspects of downsizing and moving. Contact me today!