Five Expert Downsizing Tips

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.


Posted on October 3, 2018 at 12:14 pm
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

Mortgage Interest Rates are Still Going Up… Should You Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased by close to a quarter of a percent over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to rise another quarter of a percent by next year.

In addition to the predictions from the four major reporting agencies mentioned above, the Federal Open Market Committee recently voted “unanimously to approve a 1/4 percentage point increase in the primary credit rate to 2.75 percent.”Historically, an increase in the primary credit rate has translated to an overall jump in mortgage interest rates as well.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.


Posted on October 2, 2018 at 9:17 am
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

October Magazine!

October is here! Check out my latest issue of American Lifestyle at the link below:

http://digital.remindermedia.com/diane-terry/issue-92-vol-1/1/

 

 


Posted on October 1, 2018 at 10:55 am
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

6 Solid Downsizing Tips from Tiny Home Dwellers

When going from a 2,200-square-foot traditional home to a 300-square-foot renovated RV, my family and I ended up getting rid of 80 percent of our belongings. Downsizing is an experience that I recommend to anyone—no matter the size of your home. While living in a tiny vehicle might not be for everyone, I believe that getting rid of all that overwhelming “stuff” can help you live simpler and sometimes even happier.

If you’re looking to do a major purge, you could get instruction from an advice column or ask a “helpful” family member who is offering unsolicited opinions on things they haven’t been through in 30 years… Or, you could listen to me and my community of tiny dwellers—all who have shed the majority of their belongings somewhat recently. These six tips for simplifying your “stuff” from me, a tiny house dweller of more than a year, and others will help you prep for a successful purge, whether you’re downsizing from a house to an apartment, an apartment to a tiny house, or just trying to live more minimally.

The “new in, old out” rule

My family has a rule that if we buy a new item—clothing, book, shoes, or toy for their kids—we must give an old item away. This prevents our downsized life from getting overcrowded.

50 items per family member, per season

We also limit our clothing items (under things excluded) to fifty items per family member, per season. We can also keep an off-season tote for things we find on sale for the next season or in the next size up for our kids without overloading their drawers or storage spaces.

The sticky note reminder

“The first tip that was very useful for me was from a book called ‘Little House on a Small Planet,'” says Laura LaVoie, who lives in a 120-square-foot tiny house. “It suggested to put Post-It notes on the door to every room in your house. For a month or two, write down the reason for entering every time you go into a room. By the end of that time, look to see how you’re using your spaces. I found there were rooms in our large house I almost never used. That’ll give you an idea of how you really use spaces.”

Use bins for measurement

When we downsized from our farmhouse with a playroom and individual rooms for each kid to our tiny home, we used square felt bins from a local department store to downsize toys. This gave our kids a visual and a better understanding that they had two bins each and if their stuff wouldn’t fit it couldn’t stay.

Just let it go

Sometimes you hold on to stuff because you think it has some larger meaning. “Books can make you feel smart if you have a lot of them on display, but books don’t make you smarter just by having them,” LaVoie says. “I started realizing that it was more productive to give away books I enjoyed to people who could also benefit from them.” If there is something you are sentimental about, that will serve a greater purpose in the hands of someone else, give it to another person to enjoy.

Don’t forget the S.O.A.P.

Carmen Shenk, known as “The Tiny House Foodie,” lives in a Skoolie conversion with her husband—their second tiny home. She recommends never forgetting the S.O.A.P:

Start small—but start. Even if it’s just going through that one shelf that’s been bothering you, a start to simplifying is still a start!

Only one right-sizing project at a time. Don’t jump into trying to downsize lots of things or many rooms at a time. This will likely cause you to become overwhelmed and unmotivated. Instead, start with one junk drawer, closet, or room at a time.

Appreciate the process and stay in the moment. Purging will teach you a lot about yourself, your needs, and your wants. Instead of being overwhelmed by future uses for an object or the meaning imbued in your things, ask yourself how it makes you feel right now. It may take you multiple passes at purging in order to actually make any headway in downsizing, but trust that each pass will bring you closer to that simple life of your dreams.

Practice gratitude. You might have a lot of things and that can be overwhelming. One way to get over what seems like an enormous task at hand? Focus on how lucky you are to have had a bounty, and how fortunate you are to be able to give things away.


Posted on October 1, 2018 at 10:32 am
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Have Difficult Conversations With Your Aging Parents


Posted on September 26, 2018 at 10:32 am
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

1203 West Dravus Street Virtual Tour

https://vimeo.com/evanparker/review/291368150/995195c9fe


Posted on September 24, 2018 at 3:24 pm
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

4232 34th Avenue West Virtual Tour

https://vimeo.com/evanparker/review/291369026/ec394abaa2


Posted on September 24, 2018 at 3:19 pm
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

3257 Conkling Place West- Realtor Review!

“I first met Diane Terry many years ago during an open house for our neighbor down the street. We immediately hit it off and I could tell that she was someone who was extremely knowledgeable, not just about real estate, but about life in general. When we were about to start construction on our new house and there was a crisis with my contractor, she was the first person I turned to for advice. We became friends and I saw how she successfully represented a number of my neighbors, friends, and family in their real estate transactions. Her reputation is outstanding. When it was finally time to sell our Queen Anne home, I obviously hired Diane as our agent and was not disappointed. She is the consummate professional. Diane is extremely organized and detail oriented. She gave us a timeline and told us exactly what needed to be done and when. She also referred us to the best stagers, estate sale people, photographers, potted plant people, service providers, etc. to help us prepare our house for sale. I knew that if I followed Diane’s advice and let her do her job, everything would go smoothly. I was impressed by her Instagram “teaser” ad campaign she launched to get people excited about our house even prior to listing. I couldn’t believe how incredible the staging, video with drone shots, and final listing looked. I am a physician and naturally a control freak, but I decided to let the real estate expert take the reins on the sale of our home. She made an extremely stressful time in our lives much more manageable. Thanks to Diane, we sold our house with multiple offers right away and above asking price. I could not recommend her more highly.”

-Diane Chiu, M.D.

Click here to view a video of this home


Posted on September 4, 2018 at 12:02 pm
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

Just Listed: Veridian Cove Condominiums Unit

   


Posted on August 28, 2018 at 11:23 am
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage!

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplained:

Over the last three years, renter house-buying power has increased fast enough to keep pace with house price appreciation, so the share of homes that a renter can afford to buy has remained the same since 2015.

Although mortgage rates are expected to rise, they are still low by historic standards, and real household incomes are the highest they have ever been. Assuming this trend continues, our measure of affordability, which takes into account income, interest rates, and house prices, indicates that homeownership is still within reach for renters.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.51% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.


Posted on August 28, 2018 at 9:35 am
Diane Terry | Posted in Uncategorized |