Downsizing is a tough decision, an enormous undertaking and an emotionally complex process. Still, for many older adults, it’s the right decision.
According to a recent Zillow report, nearly half of all Baby Boomer sellers surveyed said they were downsizing. And although statistics are minimal for Silent Generationers, one can reasonably assume that the share of downsizers is that demographic is equal or higher.
Why downsize? Common reasons for downsizing include money, labour and accessibility. Moving to a smaller home can save you money on your mortgage payments and energy costs. A smaller house or condo is also easier to upkeep; tending to a large family home once the kids have left does not make sense for many people. Finally, many downsizers want to settle in a home that’s accessible as they age: somewhere without stairs, high shelves or tripping hazards.
If you plan on downsizing, consider the following tips to make the process smoother and more manageable.
Get Help Decluttering and Editing
Because you are moving to a smaller home with less capacity, you will need to edit your belongings. This entails selling, donating or discarding a fair number of belongings.
Editing can be both physically and emotionally trying. If you have family nearby, consider enlisting their help in the process. Especially younger family members like your kids can offer a fresh boost of physical stamina and emotional support as you part with memories.
Partner with a Great Realtor and Lawyer
As you edit your belongings, you will also need to house hunt. The key with home buying is to surround yourself with knowledgeable, careful people who have your best interests at heart.
A great realtor will listen to your criteria, respect your budget, and work tirelessly to search for and secure precisely the home you want. A fantastic lawyer will help keep the process running smoothly, help you win bidding wars, and ensure you remain protected through ironclad agreements and title searches. Look for professional and affordable legal services that you can access from home to make the buying process even easier.
Measure Your New Space and Plan Accordingly
Once your real estate lawyer finalizes the transactions, and you receive the key, you can really start to plan your new layout.
Measure each room in your new space and draft a floor plan (however crude your drawing skills might be). Then, measure each piece of furniture you plan to take, accounting for space between pieces and access within each room. This exercise helps you visualize your new home and saves you from over packing.
Allow Room to Feel Reminiscent and Hopeful
Finally, understand that downsizing will most likely be emotional. It is possible – probable, even – to feel two competing emotions: wistfulness and hopefulness. You are leaving a place that holds precious memories, a place tied to a sense of security and belonging. On the other hand, you are entering an exciting new phase in life, which may be shaped by a new sense of community and belonging.
Allow yourself to feel it all. Talk about your emotions with loved ones and solicit advice from friends who have undergone similar experiences.
No one says downsizing is easy. But with the professional help of realtors and real estate lawyers, the support of family, and some forethought on layout, you can downsize with minimal fuss.