Downsizing is a fantastic way to finance and simplify your retirement plans. You sell your large house, buy a smaller place, and spend the leftover funds on things that make you happy.
Do it right, and you get to walk away with more money in your pockets, but the benefits extend beyond funds. You’ll simplify your life and perhaps finally achieve a life-long lifestyle-related dream.
Don’t be too hasty, though. There are boxes to tick before hiring a truck to carry your belongings. Let’s check out the tasks to fulfill while you’re at your current residence.
Estimate Home Prices
Are you excited about downsizing and moving away from a big, empty house? You might already have a spot in mind, or you’re toying with several ideas.
A smart strategy revolves around learning as much as you can about potential areas. For example, this article about relocating to Florida (the truth about living there) sings praises about the retirement communities and discusses the potential downsides.
Once you decide on the location, it’s time for some financial consideration to ensure you’ll be able to afford your dream-site.
Your Home Price
Property sales are long, challenging processes with many possible pitfalls. One of the potential issues has to do with the price.
You may expect that selling your house will provide you with an extravagant sum that opens doors to any location and property you like. However, the real estate market can be unforgiving. It’s best not to get your hopes too high before some research.
- Visit real estate websites to check the costs of homes in your area.
- Use online estimation tools from banks to determine your property value.
- Consult with local agents to obtain a pragmatic estimate.
- Hire an appraiser to reach a realistic figure.
If it turns out that the numbers aren’t high enough, you could inquire about potential repairs and changes to boost your home value. While massive renovations typically aren’t worth the trouble, simple spruce-ups can make a difference.
New Home Price
Once you know what to expect from the sale, you can gauge what falls in your price range with much more certainty.
Use the same tools to check out prices in the desired area. Then, think about the characteristics you’d like to see in the house you’ll call home. Is there anything about the current place you couldn’t live without?
If you have gardening aspirations, for instance, you’ll need a place with a backyard. While budget-friendly garden furniture is easy to acquire, green spaces can skyrocket home prices in certain areas.
Also, are there features you couldn’t afford before that could now become a part of your reality? Many seniors want a comfortable, luxury bathroom. This extravagance is also a price booster, though.
Write down the essential requirements and the things you’d enjoy before viewing any listings. That way, you’re most likely to find a home that meets your budget and needs.
Declutter Before Moving
If you’ve been living in the same house for a while, you undoubtedly own more items than you realize. Your belongings have been piling up for decades – now’s the ideal time to get rid of everything you no longer use.
However, with decluttering come hard decisions. Approaching the task with a strategy in mind can help.
Purge by Category
You’ll have to battle some sentimentality and abandon rooms full of items you haven’t touched in years.
Going category-by-category rather than room-by-room makes it much less overwhelming. For example, start with old electronics and appliances, then purge your clothes.
By the time you arrive at miscellaneous decor pieces with emotional ties, you’ll already get used to the idea of discarding possessions.
You might feel bad about throwing away furniture, appliances, and clothing that are still in good condition.
Gift such items to your children or nephews with bigger homes. That way, the old dining table stays in the family, and you won’t feel half as bad for getting rid of it.
If there are still boxes of old items around you, visit a donation center.
Organizations like Goodwill ensure your possessions don’t end up in a dumpster, and they sell what other people can’t use to recyclers. It feels much better to know your belongings are serving a purpose.
Prepare for Emotions
Apart from being physically tiring, downsizing is draining. Get ready to relive old memories, bad and good.
If you’re not sure you can handle the emotional turmoil alone, ask a loved one to help. It can be fun and feel great, as long as you approach it with the right attitude.
Consider Your Lifestyle Goals
The pre-move weeks and months are ideal for considering your current lifestyle and the needs that evolved as you’ve aged. A healthy lifestyle for seniors looks different than the one you led when you were forty.
Plus, downsizing brings some luxury to the table. You’re no longer stuck behind a work desk, dreaming of the freedom to come. So, visualize the priorities for your new life.
Do you want to host family dinners and babysit your grandchildren? Are you more looking forward to a vivid senior community and all the events to visit? You could be one of those seniors with itchy feet eager to get on the road and make up for all the missed vacations.
Another question is whether you’ll be living alone. If you have a partner, discuss your retirement desires until you’re both on board with the expectations. Accommodating pets while keeping things clean is another vital consideration for those with furry companions.
All these factors can impact the choice of a new home. Making as many decisions as possible in advance reduces the chances of calling off the move half-way through or regretting it once you’re all settled.
In a Nutshell
Overall, downsizing is an event to look forward to, not dread. Expect some stress during the sale and purchase process, ensuring your new place is right for you, and the very human fear of change. Still, the end-goal of a happier, simpler life is near.
Follow these tips to handle the challenging technicalities that come with downsizing. Once you’re there, embrace the newly-acquired freedom and savor it.