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Downsize Dreamin’ for Seniors: Welcome to a New Beginning

Photo by Pexel 

You’ve worked hard to get where you are, so what’s next? For many retirees, downsizing has allowed them to pursue dreams they’ve had on hold for decades. They trade in their extra rooms, yards to mow, and high utility bills for a lifestyle that suits their needs today. If you’ve been thinking about making the plunge yourself, connect with expert realtor Joyce Gottlieb and read on for tips to help with the process.

Where in the world do you want to go?

It’s your turn to have it your way. How do you want to spend your days? Walking the beach with your dog, or enjoying people-watching from uptown outdoor cafes? Is it your goal to be close enough to grandchildren where you can go to their every soccer game and dance recital? Dig deep, and decide what you really want in this next stage of your life. Once you decide on the location, it’s time to ask yourself the next question.

How much space will you need?

If your dream is to do nothing but travel for a few years, maybe all you’ll need is an RV, a studio apartment or a storage unit. If your dream is to move near your grandkids, you may want an extra bedroom for sleepovers. Of course, the less space you’ll need, the more downsizing will be required. Your budget may also determine your space requirements. A small, simple home or condo could cost you much less, so if you sell your home for the current market value, you could pocket a nice chunk of change to help you enjoy your retirement dreams. Some seniors also choose home sharing, a less expensive living option where they take on a roommate.

During this time, you should also take potential accessibility modifications into consideration. As we age, getting around the house can often become difficult, so it’s important to keep this in mind when purchasing a new home. A kitchen remodel can cost you anywhere from around $10,000 to over $100,000. Since these costs can quickly add up, incorporating them into the cost of your new home should definitely be a factor if you foresee accessibility concerns.

What will you do with all your stuff?

Once you’ve found the perfect home, you’ll know what won’t be needed. If you’re moving to a one-bedroom condo, you won’t need a lawnmower or three beds, for example. With this in mind, go into each of your rooms, and consider one object at a time. Have three boxes handy: 1) Keep, 2) Discard, and 3) Trash/Recycle. Ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time you used this item? Anything not used within five months probably needs to go.
  • For any half-finished projects, ask yourself when you’ll finish it. If you don’t like the project enough to finish it within a few weeks, it needs to go.
  • Is it a duplicate of something else you have? Do you really need a blender and a Nutribullet?

From the “Discard” box, decide if you will give the item away or if you will sell it on eBay or at a yard sale. As harsh as it may sound, if you have not discarded the item within two weeks, it needs to go in the trash/recycling bin.

When it comes to nostalgic items, like your children’s artwork, special birthday cards, etc., consider archiving them digitally. Sometimes, it’s just too difficult to part with some items. Whether the item is too big or you have a deep emotional attachment to it, give yourself permission to do what feels right for you. One option is to look for self-storage units near your new home.

Get ready for moving day. 

When it comes to a smooth-sailing move, it’s all in the preparation. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress if you hire full-service professional movers for the packing, transporting, and unloading. What it might take you weeks to accomplish, they can do in a few days. Your belongings are much less apt to break in transit as well.

Prepare a Moving Day Survival Kit for the day of your move. If you include in it such essentials as medications, phone chargers, toilet paper, toiletries, bottled water, and snacks, the first day in your new home will be much more enjoyable!

Congratulations on making this big step. Seniors who have downsized and embraced homes that reflect their current desires and abilities report feeling lighter and more hopeful. It’s a new beginning for you, and you can feel proud of your decision.

For dedicated Gold Coast real estate service, partner with Joyce Gottlieb! Call (310) 283-8931 or email jgottlieb@compass.com to schedule a consultation.