By Michael Longsdon
Sometimes, the family home we loved during our younger adult years is not what we need as we age. For various reasons, we may decide to downsize. If you’ve chosen to spend your retirement in a smaller home, here is how you can make that transition as smooth as possible.
How to Sort Your Things
Like much of the moving process, the first thing to do is to sort and plan. Which room will take the longest? What, exactly, do you have, and how will you sort through it? It helps to remove things as you sort them so you can see not only exactly what you have, but how much of it there is. From there, it’s time to make piles, either two or three: “keep,” “don’t keep,” and “maybe.” Be as brutal as you can. Downsizing means less space. Sell and give away the items that are in good condition that you won’t be taking, and throw out or recycle things that aren’t usable. Do this early on in your moving plans, as it may take longer than you anticipate.
How to Pick Your Perfect Home
The first task is to decide where you want to live within your budget. Really look into any potential communities. Consider crime rates, opportunities for retirees (including jobs and recreation), public transportation, and hospital scores. Also look at the climate if you are moving to a new area. Try to visit for an extended period of time and when the weather will be at its worst. You want to see what it will be like to live here when it is unpleasant to see if you can truly tolerate it. Confine your searches to single-floor units (to put your joints at ease) and aim for something under budget, as you do not want to decimate your nest egg.
How to Move Easily
Using a moving company, especially for a big move, will make your life the easiest. But even if you hire movers and packers, there are ways you can make this transition simpler. Have various companies come to see what they will be moving so they can give you accurate estimates. Also, decide what route you will take to reach your new home. If it’s a long move, make sure the month you’re traveling will have good weather. Take note and plan for any rules your new association or homeowners committee might have. Ensure that you have utilities ready for when you arrive and that any renovations needed have been completed before you move. Pack plenty of snacks for yourself and your moving team for the actual moving day. You may not be able to stop for a full meal, so nutritious snacks throughout the day will help to keep you going.
What to Consider Before You Buy
As you age, things will most likely become more difficult. You will want a home that suits your needs. Some of these changes will be simple, like putting new hardware on your doors, cabinets, and faucets to make them easier to grab or turn. Floors should be level and slip-resistant. Two areas in the home that will most likely need remodeling are the bathroom and the kitchen. Bathroom remodeling, in particular, can be a procedure that may cost anywhere from $6,643 to $14,870. With this in mind, it is important to factor in the costs of remodeling for accessibility into the overall budget.
It may take more work than we expect, but downsizing does have its benefits. If you plan well and get the help you need, you can have a much easier transition. Take your time and remember that this home should be everything you want. Now is not the time to settle for less.