Downsizing your home is a big decision whether you’re an empty nester, senior or a family with kids trying to find ways to save some money. Packing and moving into a bigger house isn’t a piece of cake, so taking all of your belongings and trying to move them into a smaller living space is even harder. I spoke with a professional real estate agent for tips on downsizing your home.
Decide On a Lifestyle
If you’re a senior looking to downsize, a lifestyle change might be what you desire. Before you start looking into areas to live, start thinking about what type of community you want to live in. Maybe you like to golf, so being near golf courses is important. A popular move for some seniors is moving down south near beaches and marinas.
If you’re an empty nester, your desired lifestyle might not be much different from what it is now. Some empty nesters want to stay close to their kids and grandkids. Although it’s common for empty nesters to stay near their family, a lifestyle change might be what you want, too.
Maybe you want to change to a minimal lifestyle or desire to leave the hustle and bustle of a city for a more rural area. There are all sorts of lifestyle changes, but finding the one that fits your needs should be your first step in the downsizing process, as you decide what type of home you’re looking for.
Do Your Research on New Costs
After you determined what your needs are for your new, smaller home, your next step should be to do research.
“Start by looking at what was sold in the last 12 months,” says Doug Gartley, a real estate agent at In-House Realty.
You can do this in the comfort of your own home by using house-hunting websites like My Perfect Home. By looking at past sales in your desired area, you can figure out approximately how much your new home is going to cost you.
Other factors you may want to research are the property taxes in your desired area, access to medical care, cost of living and association dues if you’re looking into a condominium.
Home vs Condominium
This might be one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. Do you invest in a home or a condo? There are pros and cons of both.
If you’re downsizing for reasons such as not being able to keep up with lawn care or looking for a home that is maintenance-free, a condo might be the right choice for you.
Although you don’t have to do condo maintenance yourself, that comes with a price. Although a condo is typically less expensive than a house, you’ll have to pay homeowners’ association (HOA) fees every month.
Downsizing into a smaller house also comes with some pros and cons. With a house, you’re able to look for exactly what type you want, as there tends to be more of a variety than condos. If you want a ranch-style home because you no longer want to be going up and down stairs every day, then that can be relatively easy to find.
However, houses come with maintenance responsibilities. Wood trim will need to be replaced at some point, air conditioners stop working and basements might flood. Although these things can be fixed, it may require a lot of work and may come with a hefty price.
Have an Estate Sale
Before you pack up to move, you need to take into consideration how much stuff you can fit in your new place. This might mean either renting a storage unit if you don’t want to reduce your belongings or having an estate sale.
An estate sale will not only lighten your moving load, but could put extra cash in your pocket. Assessing your needs early will make this process quick and easy. Decide which belongings you absolutely can’t part with and what you really don’t need anymore. If you don’t want to run it yourself, an estate sale company can take care of the entire process.
“Start this process early and interview as many companies as possible,” says Gartley.
Downsizing your home is a big decision. Before you start the process, save yourself the trouble of being unprepared by following these simple steps. You can make the transition simple and smooth!
Have you recently downsized your home? Comment below with any tips you might have from your experience.
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