Tips for Downsizing With No Regrets
For some, retirement eventually means downsizing or moving to a community with amenities that complement their retirement interests (like golf courses, lakes, or even just one-floor living).
But selling the family home is often an emotional decision to make. Because of this, some people might not be in the best frame of mind while making difficult downsizing choices. If you think it is time to prepare for a future in a smaller home, here are some tips to help you downsize with no regrets.
Don’t put off downsizing: This will cost you needless cash for heating, cooling and even higher real estate taxes that typically come with owning a larger home. Then there is the outside—the bigger the yard, the more work it requires to maintain.
Get rid of extra “stuff” by giving it away, selling it or donating to charity: Sorting through a lifetime of accumulations and deciding what to get rid of is difficult but necessary if you are downsizing. Your new home will have less space so some things will simply have to go. Think in terms of what you absolutely must keep, what can be given to family members – for either function of heirlooms- and what can be sold or given away. Do this “cleansing of items” long before it is time to sell your house. It makes showing your home and moving much easier.
Stop storing your kids’ stuff: Do they want to hold on to their things, but want you to do the actual holding for them? If so, place their items in a box and leave it by the entry door for their next visit. If they don’t have space for it you can explain that purging must be done, because you soon won’t have space for it either.
Think ahead before you decide to buy: What amenities are you looking for now and perhaps 10-15 years from now? It may seem difficult, but consider what you will need further down the road. What area/community will you be happiest in? Is that new retirement dream home you found near good hospitals, doctors, your family and all the recreational options you are hoping for? What is nearby that will keep you happy and busy during your retirement?
- Consider physical needs and home features that could be helpful: As we get older, or even just due to illness, there are accessibility issues that can arise. Plan ahead by considering one-story living, bathrooms already equipped with hand rails in the tub or shower and anything that eases mobility to help prevent safety issues that could arise later in life.
The more educated you are about your options, as well as the benefits and challenges of these choices, the better your decisions will be. Part of smart retirement preparation is getting as much solid financial advice as you can about your investments and real estate decisions. Do as much research before you move as possible, and ask your real estate agent any questions that come to mind.
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