Wednesday, December 19, 2018

7 Tips to Help You Downsize Quickly and Painlessly written by Michael Longsdon

7 Tips to Help You Downsize Quickly and Painlessly
written by Michael Longsdon

If the current housing shortage is any indication, older adults aren’t eager to downsize their homes. For many, it’s not because they don’t want the benefits of a smaller home. Rather, retirees simply aren’t ready for the big change. Seniors who wait to downsize put themselves in a tough situation. Instead of downsizing in their 60s when they’re healthy, older adults are waiting until their 80s when they can no longer live independently. Without the stamina for a big move, seniors in their 80s are more likely to end up in assisted living.

If you’re committed to aging in place, it’s better to downsize early. Not only will you have a safe home to age in, but you’ll also increase your financial security in retirement. A smaller mortgage, lower utility bills, and fewer maintenance expenses mean more money to live on and less stress. As HomeAdvisor puts it, “Having fewer financial- and maintenance-related responsibilities will allow you to focus more on your happiness and less on your home.”

If more financial security and fewer worries sound like something you want, don’t wait to downsize. Instead, use these tips to make downsizing as painless as possible.

1. Think twice before moving far.
A destination retirement might sound endlessly appealing, but moving far from your community has major drawbacks. Not only do you have to deal with the logistical aspects of a long-distance move, but you’ll have to rebuild a social community from scratch or risk isolation. Most seniors are better off staying in the same area.

2. Start culling possessions early.
Downsizing belongings can be the most overwhelming part of moving for many older adults. Rather than paying for an expensive storage unit or cramping a new home with too much stuff, start culling belongings a year before the move. The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be.

3. Know your ideal home size.
It’s hard to know how much to get rid of if you’re not certain what size house you’d like to live in. Research the local market to discover what size homes are available in your price range. Then, drop into a couple of open houses to see if it’s a realistic size for your lifestyle. In addition to home size, consider the aging-in-place design features explained at Next Avenue.

4. Practice living with less.
Can’t decide what to keep and what to give away? Box up the items on your “maybe” list and practice living without them. If you don’t miss them, you know you’re ready to say goodbye.

5. Hold an estate sale.
Selling items piece by piece is incredibly time-consuming. And usually, it’s not all that profitable. Instead, host an estate sale to sell a lot of stuff in one go. You can host your own estate sale, but hiring an estate sale company makes the process much easier.

6. Spruce up your home before moving.
A minor facelift can make a big difference in your home’s market appeal. If your home is well-maintained but hasn’t been updated in many years, it’s worth investing in some home improvements. An updated appearance helps your home appeal to today’s buyers without putting a big dent in your budget. Bob Vila recommends 13 inexpensive upgrades for sellers.

7. Know the floor plan.
Moving items that won’t fit in your new house is a waste of money. After buying a house, measure your furniture and compare it against the blueprint to see what fits. Creating a floor plan also lets you tell movers exactly where to set heavy items.

Our final tip? Hire help. Downsizing is overwhelming enough without trying to do it all yourself. With a trusted real estate agent, a crew of movers, and a senior move manager on your team, you can navigate this big transition with confidence that you’re making a smart move.

*Don't forget, Prop 60 and 90 were designed for people 55+ in LA county and other select counties in California.  It allows the transfer of your current property tax to a new home. Find out more here


Michael Longsdon reached out to me about him writing an article that I would put on my blog, which has always been my own writings. However, I believe that this is a great article and Mr Longsdon has a lot of great advice to give when it comes to caring for aging friends and family.  You can read more of his columns here

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