The real estate pros at Town & Shore on how to find (and fit your stuff into) the right place for your next chapter
All moves are overwhelming. But downsizing can be especially challenging, as it often accompanies a major life change. Whether you’re simplifying, retiring, facing a freshly emptied nest, or making a move that will help you age in place, these tips from the Town & Shore team can help facilitate the process.
Size up your space. Take an honest look at which rooms you currently live in, and calculate how much square footage that amounts to. After your kids move out, you may find there are rooms or entire wings in the house that go unused. Also consider how lifestyle changes may impact how much house you require. If you’re moving from the suburbs to a city, for example, you may spend more time enjoying restaurants, and less time entertaining at home, eliminating the need for a formal dining room. Similarly, if you plan to use car services or public transportation, you may be able to sell one of your vehicles and get by with a single parking space.
Assess amenities. Think about what kinds of services you want, and what maintenance responsibilities you want to shed. Some people find gardening and yard work therapeutic, and couldn’t imagine giving them up. But if these chores are starting to feel unmanageable, you may want to move to a property where landscaping is taken care of. Other options to consider: Do you want access to a pool, gym, golf course, or tennis court? Do you want a concierge for security and to handle things like deliveries? All of these factors should play into your decision-making process.
Keep an open mind. Many people dismiss condo and high-rise living for fear they’ll lose their privacy. But you might discover that sharing walls connects you with people with whom you share common ground and provides a built-in support network. And remember — downsizing doesn’t mean downgrading. You can still have hardwood floors and a Viking range in a compact space. Tighter quarters can also change family dynamics for the better, as you’ll have more opportunities for togetherness with loved ones.
Address your stuff. Often, people are surprised to find that their kids don’t want furniture and dishes that have been in the family for generations. The owners know they have to pare down, but may not be ready to part with their precious items. Your real estate agent can help evaluate what your needs are and, if necessary, refer you to organizations that can facilitate the winnowing process. A downsizing specialist, for example, can help you decide what to keep and what to toss, and handle the logistics of getting items to antique dealers, auction houses, ebay, and charitable organizations.
Get the timing right. Lots of people try to time their sale to coincide with a peak in the market. But given the unpredictable nature of today’s real estate landscape, you’re better off moving when it makes sense for you. Carefully weigh the pluses and minuses of downsizing versus staying put. Talk it over with your loved ones. Make your life what you need today. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.