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How to Prepare to Downsize Your Home

- Friday, August 24, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VADownsizing your home isn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. Couples usually hatch a plan well before they start the process.

Preparing for the eventual move takes time. Part of downsizing means clearing the clutter that has accumulated over the years. That process should begin well before the move, at least six months and as long as year, and preferably soon after the last of the children depart for their own lives.

Plan ahead. Clean out the closet. Have your kids come and help. Focus on things that matter and get rid of things you don't need.

Memories of good times had at the home may keep an older couple attached to the larger home longer than needed. Real estate advisers recommend taking photos of the old home, or just gather a photo album — hard copies or digital — to lessen the anxiety over the transition.

Downsizing can lead to fewer expenses

Lowering expenses is another major reason for downsizing. A smaller space will usually trim monthly utility expenses or eliliminate them completely. Additionally, by downsizing the property tax bill could be also be trimmed or eliminated, depending on your choice of community.

Many Baby Boomers are trimming their floor space or moving to one-story structures.

There are other advantages to downsizing other than skipping the stairs.

Is your home mortgage-free? If it is, you may be able to downsize, and pull some money out of the transaction.

Should you rent or buy your home?

Then there's another determination: To rent to to buy? Much depends on individual circumstance, projected retirement income and personal choice.

Renting and owning have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

For many older adults, homeownership represents a vital safety net.

At the same time, homeowners face the physical demands and financial burden of maintaining their properties. More significantly, owners must pay property taxes, insurance costs, and association fees if applicable.

Should you move where your grandkids are?

The most difficult part of the downsizing decision: Do you move away from the community in which you've made a large part of your life?

Whether mature homeowners remain in the region or depart for other areas is usually determined by where the children and grandchildren are located.

A sellers market exists in a large portion of the region, with inventory of available home down 20 percent in the past year. This makes buying more challenging and senior communities more enticing to many.

If priced correctly, a home could bring multiple offers.

For more information on downsizing, contact Spring Arbor.

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