Regardless if people are considering downsizing because they’re tired of their commute and want to live closer to work, or they want to live closer to children and grandchildren, or they’re newly single want to move out of the house they “won” in the divorce, there’s often hesitation or uncertainty of WHERE to go. Downsizers should not despair. Instead, they should conduct a bit of “market research” on hip-and-trendy areas close to where they live or work – or want to live and work – and take a try-before-you-buy approach. Or if they need a fresh start and want to explore living near beaches, mountains or small towns, they should focus on one or two areas that they’ve always loved and be open to the option of renting a condo, townhome or apartment for a year or two to see how it feels.
Staying focused is critical.
Because it’s an apartment that will be rented for only a year or two, it is relatively easy to find a place to live. But moving is a hassle – and downsizing is an even bigger hassle. By keeping their eyes on the prize and their minds on the light at the end of the tunnel, they’ll stay focused. Here, “prize” refers to the fresh, new and more-robust life that’s possible after downsizing (OH, the places they’ll go and the people they’ll meet!), and “light” refers to the lightness they’ll feel after ridding themselves of space that’s not used, stuff in the attic that’s never seen, clothes that are never worn, and chores they never again want to do (or pay for!)
“Staging” the home is a great first step.
Selling a house NOW, while it will bring top dollar, is a wise choice for those considering downsizing. In Spring of 2017, the sellers’ market hit full stride and prices reached their highest point in nearly ten years. (Check out this Money/CNN article for more details on why it’s a good time to sell.)
Staging a home is the first step in getting the place ready to list, and a solid first step in the entire downsizing process. (Click here for a list of staging professionals and estate sale experts.)
Realtors and home-staging experts report that a properly staged home helps buyers picture their own items in the home. Removing photos of family members or pets, hiding or otherwise getting rid of excess decorative accessories from side tables and countertops, and removing half the items from bookshelves helps buyers focus on the home and its features and not on the sellers’ accessories and “stuff.”
List your home and get busy!
Once the home staging is done and the house is listed with an agent, it’s time to get busy with the rest of the decluttering, tossing, donating and storing required in advance of a move to a condo or apartment. Because it’s a sellers’ market, sellers must be prepared to act fast; in some areas, homes are on the market for only a short time. Once there’s an offer and the house goes under contract, there may be only a few weeks in which to move.
Storage facilities can come in handy.
If there’s no time to sell the items that won’t fit into the apartment, and/or there are items with high emotional attachment, a storage facility will come in handy. (Check out this “marketplace” for self-storage to find a conveniently located facility.) Because it’s not a great time to buy a home (though mortgage rates are still low, prices are ridiculously high in many areas), having some of their items stashed away until it’s apparent that they will NEVER be needed – or until a new home is purchased to be their longer-term home – gives downsizers some comfort and helps them prepare for the possible disposition or placement of furniture and accessories in their new, smaller home.