Elder Downsizing 101: From Buying a New House to Planning Moving Day

BY Michael Longsdon of ElderFreedom.net

Many seniors think of downsizing as something they can always do later in life, but downsizing takes time. In order to do it well means you should be methodical and thoughtful about each decision. But once you turn your new, smaller house into a home, you become unburdened by a house that was too much responsibility, and find more joy and peace in your golden years.

Thinking of downsizing but unsure where to start? Here are four simple suggestions to get the ball rolling.

Research the Market
Get the downsizing process started begins by thinking about where you want to live next. You may want to be near friends, in a particular climate or closer to urban areas. For seniors, a home that will allow you to live safely, comfortably and independently is an ideal start. But it’s not just about the house—the neighborhood is important, too. Researching the current housing market shows what you can afford to buy and in what areas. You can also learn what your current home is likely to go for and how to factor that into your next buy. For example, Redfin notes the average house in Port St. Lucie, FL, sells for around $238,000 and spends about 77 days on the market.

Rent Your Current Home
Not all seniors who downsize into a smaller place choose to sell their current home. Many find that they can receive a steady income by renting it instead. Seniors on a fixed income can add spending cash to their bank account, cushion their travel fund or save up for medical costs. Just be sure you have enough saved to make any big fixes for your tenants, and to cover any costs that you might face when in between renters.

There are also many legal regulations and expectations that come with being a landlord and you’ll want to make you can handle the workload. If you decide it’s more work than you want to take on but still like the idea of the income, you can hire a property manager to oversee things for you, just make sure you budget accordingly.

Purge Unused Items
It can be hard to decide what stays and what goes when you are downsizing to a new home. This process can be made a bit easier by starting with items you never use. First, look around your house for duplicates you can purge. If you’ve been in your house a long time you likely have several items that serve a similar purpose— especially in the kitchen. Think of downsizing as an opportunity to consolidate collections, donate items to important charities, or give belongings to someone who might have a sentimental attachment to them.

Plan Moving Day
Moving day is going to be stressful. Kind of like a wedding day, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation, but you have to be flexible. Something is going to go wrong and you just have to accept that. Bed, Bath & Beyond recommends a moving day checklist to help you minimize those day-of challenges.

With the chaos of the event, consider keeping your valuables with you and not in the moving van. Similarly, if you have pets, you may want to board them for the day or have a friend take them out on a little adventure. If at all possible, try to take your pets by the new place once or twice before move-in day. And lastly, make sure your phone, tablet, laptop, medical devices and other kinds of technology are fully charged so they are ready to use the moment you get in.

For many seniors, downsizing isn’t just a one-time event; it is an emotional, physical and mental process that takes time and patience. That’s why it is so important that— if possible— you take your time to plan your downsizing so you can process all the changes without feeling rushed or undecided. With proper preparations, you’ll be settling into that next home in no time, ready to savor the best of what’s yet to come.

The above information is opinion based except where noted. Always contact a licensed professional for information on the above subject or BEFORE applying or practicing the above information.
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