Preparing for retirement is an exciting journey but it can sometimes be overwhelming. Some retirees move into smaller homes to make retirement life a little easier financially. This helpful guide will aid you in learning how to downsize your home and belongings.
Have you considered the advantages of downsizing your home? Many people plan to downsize in their golden years. A smaller home is a great way to lower your monthly living expenses. Downsizing helps to declutter your belongings. Moving into a smaller home will lower your utility bills saving you money. The equity in your home can be a valuable asset in purchasing a smaller home without a mortgage.
Step 1 – Cost of moving
Downsizing includes determining the cost of selling and moving into a smaller home, condo or apartment that will suit your age, health and mobility. Before moving examine your current housing expenses like mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, home insurance and maintenance. Compare existing expenses including any updates or improvements that will need to be made to your existing home with what a smaller home will cost. Factor in the costs of selling and moving, closing costs, lawyers and realtor fees.
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Step 2 – Where do you want to live?
Do you want to live somewhere new during your retirement or perhaps someplace less expensive. Perhaps you are no longer able to drive and it is important to be closer to your healthcare provider, shopping centers and amenities. Evaluate how your needs will change. Do you want to be closer to your kids and grandkids? Do you want to travel more? Do you struggle with home and yard maintenance? Keep these factors in mind when reviewing home options such as smaller home, condo or apartment, independent or assisted living communities.
Step 3 – Owning vs Renting
Owning a home can provide independence. Staying in your home will require 1% – 4% of your home’s value in maintenance costs. Home maintenance becomes more difficult as you age. However, rental properties have maintenance staff so you don’t have to worry or pay for upkeep and repairs. Renting also means you don’t have to pay property taxes or worry about the real estate market in terms of your homes value going up and down in terms of resale value.
Tips on Decluttering
Downsizing your belongings whether you decide to move or stay will free up more space and help you stay organized. Downsizing also makes it easier on you and your family should you move into assisted living or nursing care later in life.
Clearing out an entire home all at once is overwhelming. Create a timeframe that works for you allowing you to tackle clutter 15 minutes a day or over a month long period. Work with a professional to assist with decluttering or enlist friends and family members.
Step 1 – Categorizing your belongings
A most important step in decluttering is to categorize and divide your belongings. Categorize into groups such as keep, donate, sell or throw away. First deal with your larger items like furniture and then move on down to smaller items like documents, photos and your keepsakes. It is helpful to label items or place different color tape or sticky notes on items to keep them easily identifiable.
Step 2 – Sorting through your belongings
Through the years you can accumulate a lot of possessions but getting rid of these things can be an emotional process. Getting rid of these items can make room for new memories. Schedule a time when you can go through these items with family so they can decide what they will want to keep and what they don’t want to keep making it easier to throw away or donate belongings.
If you have photos, documents and artwork that you have to part with you can scan them into an online drive or computer file for safe keeping.
Step 3 – Selling unwanted items
You can make extra cash by holding a garage or yard sale for unwanted or unused items. If you don’t want to have a sale of your own contact an estate sale company or auction house to sell these items for you. Make sure to have antiques and other valuable items appraised to so you get highest value possible. Other places to sell your belongings would be Facebook market, or Kijiji.
Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here