Blog by Mary Cleaver

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The Dos of Downsizing

The “Dos of Downsizing”

Do plan ahead. All buyers and sellers benefit with some foresight but when you’re considering selling your biggest investment, a home you’ve lived in for many years to make a substantial change, it’s even more important to take the time to think it through.

Do research your options as to where you might like to move before listing your home. Whether you want to rent an apartment, buy a condo, townhome or smaller house, or move into a senior’s community, you’ll want to have a good idea of how much you want to spend and what will give you the most comfort and happiness in a new home. You can learn a great deal online, but I recommend visiting some options before listing your house. This should remove some of the uncertainty and reassure you that there is a great new home to go to!

Do consider your reasons for wanting to downsize. Are they lifestyle or health related? Do you wish to live closer to family? Perhaps you’d like to free up some money for your retirement, to travel, or assist your children. Your motivation is important because being clear on what you want to achieve will help you make the right decisions for you about whether to buy first or sell first, how much time to spend getting your home ready, or even if you should sell yet. For example, if what you want is to access the equity in the home, a reverse mortgage or home equity line of credit can achieve that end and might make more financial sense for you.

And speaking of finances, Do consider having a financial adviser involved early in the process. There are tax and estate implications of every decision and having some professional advice couldn’t hurt in the big picture.

Do consider involving a close friend or family member. Some people know what they want and prefer to work alone, but for many of us, good support is key. While there are fantastic professionals to advise and assist with your real estate transaction, having someone you trust to share the journey and be a sounding board can be very helpful. The experts you choose to work with will not only understand but encourage you to seek a personal support system.

Do reach out to your REALTOR® well in advance of when you hope to list your home. Ask for a comparative market analysis so that you have a price range that you could expect if you were listing right away. Get some good advice and referrals regarding decluttering, staging, finances, mortgages, inspectors, lawyers etc. We can probably save you time, money, and frustration by helping you sort through your options and connecting you with other service providers.

A lot of attention is paid to the reality that downsizing can be stressful and emotional. I don’t disagree, but do go into the process with as much optimism as possible. For many people, there is a great relief in selling a house and moving into something newer, more comfortable, smaller, and easier to maintain. It can be very freeing to lock up a condo, leave the keys with the concierge and take a long vacation without having to think about snow removal, gutters, and yard maintenance.

And once you’ve sold and are settled in your new home, do take that vacation - you’ve earned it!