Everyone who was living with you has left the nest. The longtime job is (finally) coming to an end. The pension is in the mail and the house you’re living in now is way too big.
Downsizing is an integral part of retirement; a moment of reckoning in the golden years, when it’s time to move on to something smaller, and more compatible to your new needs. With Summit Moving & Storage, we offer a wide selection of moving and storage services for that time in your life, and many others. But for the process of downsizing itself, here are some helpful tips to make that transition as smooth as possible.
Set Your Goals
With any major move, the first place to start is laying out a game plan. Ask yourself the basics: What do you want to get out of this move, financially? What is important to you? Is it family? Friends? Health services? Fun? We know it sounds old-fashioned, but we encourage you to even write out these goals, and hang them somewhere you’ll always see them. Just to keep those goals in mind as you move forward.
Consider the Timing
As any homeowner knows, the housing market ebbs and flows, with values rising and falling depending on the economy. It may be the right time to sell right now; it may not be. Knowing when is something that every potential buyer—and seller—should research beforehand. See how your local housing market is doing, and then do the same for where you might want to move to. If forecasts show that the overall housing market will improve in a year or two, then consider the wait, or even becoming a renter. It may be worth a buck, or two.
Figure Out Your Ideal Home
Alright, so you’ve laid out a game plan, and you’ve done your research. The verdict is in—it’s time to downsize. Naturally, the next question is an obvious one: where are you going? One of the most liberating things about downsizing in retirement is that the world is quite literally your oyster. You can move into the kind of house you’ve always wanted, or to the location you’ve always dreamt of. Is it finally time to move to that condo in Vancouver? Or that beach house in the Caribbean?
Whatever it may be, it’s best to know ahead of time what type of home you want—apartment, bungalow, a smaller house, etc.—and where the location is. It may be a community that’s less expensive than where you live now or a community where all your friends have gone.
Allocate the Space
Retirement comes with its priorities. Maybe you want to travel more, so living near an airport is vital. Or maybe having your grandchildren nearby is the most important reason for your downsize, and relocation. Then there’s leisure—do you want a house that you can enjoy your golden years in, that’s truly just for you and your significant other?
These, of course, are the questions you must ask while sketching out your goals, but it’s worth reiterating this point—create the house with the space that you’d need. Add that extra bedroom if you think family members are going to visit often, or if you plan on renting it out in the future to pay for travel. Get a bigger kitchen, if you plan on cooking a lot more on your time off. And then think about what your grandkids may ask: does the house have a pool?
Get Your Costs in Order
Downsizing—or buying a new home, in general—is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make. So the importance of knowing exactly what that transaction will include, in terms of costs, cannot be understated. Before you pull the trigger on buying a new home, outline a cost and spending sheet. What are the property, state, or local taxes in that area? How much will you be saving, or losing? What will be the costs of maintaining the new home? Any way you can offset those costs? Believe us here: having answers to these questions before you’re blindsided by them makes a world of difference.
Find The Right Realtor
As professionals in the moving business, we know how stressful and confusing this sort of thing can be. That’s why we cannot stress how helpful it is to have a realtor on your side, who can help answer some of your questions, and guide you through this time in your life. Find a realtor you’re comfortable with, and see if they know any inside tips on where you may be moving to—the local activities, restaurant scene, or places of interest. They can welcome you to the neighborhood before even moving there!
Time to (Actually) Downsize
Okay, here’s the part that’s hardest for folks: you have to actually get rid of things. As mentioned, downsizing is a time when you reassess what you actually need in your life, and house. That means selling, donating, or throwing out possessions that have been with you for a long time—which isn’t always easy. We suggest holding onto the things that have sentimental value to you, and digitizing anything that can be digitized. You’ll have more space, and still get to hold onto what’s near and dear to you.
Prepare to Move
You’ve made it—the location is set, the house is picked out, and you’re ready to downsize. Now, it’s every homeowner’s favorite part of the process: moving. (Yes, we’re being sarcastic.) But don’t let the move get you down. Summit Moving & Storage will help you with every step of the way.