Are you thinking of downsizing?
This is a question that many people are considering these days. For many people they have family that is getting older or it could be their own home that they want to downsize! They may want something that is smaller and more manageable or maybe they have a a home that is far to large for them and a lot of equity tied up in the home.
For other people, downsizing can mean leaving a home with many memories, familiar friends and neighbours. Storage issues and not having enough room for guests and family can also be a disadvantage. The up-side can mean putting your energy into hobbies, dedicating more time to being active, and spending more time with grandchildren. Spending less time on the house both inside and outside can appeal as well as minimizing your living expenses and travelling more! What ever you decide, for most people, the thought of downsizing and where to start can be quite overwhelming for most people!
Several years ago my family and I were faced with dealing with this situation and these types of decisions. Deciding where to move our father when his health declined was very hard and there were so many unanswered questions. Finding out who to ask, and where to go and what to do first was a challenge. It was a very difficult process to say the least. With some family living out of town, having 2 young children, working full time, and dealing with the details of the move was both mentally and physically exhausting.
Here are some items to consider when it comes to deciding if you or family is ready to downsize.
- Determine what your needs will be! Will you be travelling once you downsize? Do you want to be in walking distance to shopping, transportation and seniors or recreation centers? Do you need a guest or project room? Is strata living such as a condo or townhome an option? Determining your essential criteria for your new home is the first step.
- Get help! Have a family member assist you. Start with just 15 - 30 minutes each day and sort through piles of paper, photos, cupboards and clothing. Have 4 areas where you can put items to send to family, recycling, garbage and charity. Host a garage sale is another good option! There are also some excellent companies that offer assistance with packing, sorting and decluttering your home. Having someone to assist you through the downsizing process will make it much more enjoyable whether it be family or a professional! Having the assistance will make the process much easier.
- Assess your needs! Will you need a place setting for 14 or will 8 be enough? Will you need a large dining table and a kitchen table as well? Will you be taking the treadmill that is collecting dust, or will your walking shoes be enough? Ask yourself how often you use these items. Consider giving special items to family members or close friends. Passing your china onto children or grandchildren can be an option and you get to enjoy seeing them use the items. Putting items in storage for 6 - 8 months can also be an option - this way you can see if you really will miss the item.
- Measure your furniture! You will need to know how your furniture is going to fit into your new home. Often people's large furniture items do not fit well into their new residence. Couches and bedroom suites can pose the biggest problems for people so be aware and measure!
- Consider storage! Don't underestimate the amount of storage you will need! How many closets will the new home offer? Will you have fewer kitchen cupboards? If you are moving into a condo, does it offer a storage locker or will you need to rent a separate locker? Going through your kitchen and bathroom cupboards and getting rid of junk that has accumulated will be necessary. Minimizing tools and garage items will also be required.
- Buy or Sell first? Sellers often ask whether they should buy or sell first. It really comes down to the individuals and their situation and their risk tolerance. Do you want the risk of owning two homes or none at all? Generally speaking, it can be less pressure to sell your home first. You will know exactly how much money you will have and while it is on the market, you and your Realtor can view other housing options. Sometimes purchasing a new home subject to the sale of the present home can be an option depending on the market. Ask yourself if you are financially capable of carrying two homes until one sells? If you are not, then selling first and if you do not find an available home, a short term rental will be your option.
- Getting ready for the move! Once you have decided on where you or family will be moving to, deciding on how the move will happen is the next step! This can be an exciting time for people and scary for others. Getting professional movers is a great option and can minimize stress. Many moving and downsizing companies will come in a access, pack and unpack you once the move has taken place.
I have many resources available and business alliances that specialize in many of these areas. Whether you or someone you know is considering a smaller home, 55plus condo, assisted living or continuing care, I can provide advice and guidance to assist your through the process. Decluttering, packing, storage, moving, finances and estate planning must all be taken into consideration. If you would like more information regarding downsizing or moving, please call me anytime!