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Advice for Seniors to Ease the Stress of Downsizing

If you’re a senior, chances are you’ve thought about the prospect of downsizing. Maybe you want to be closer to family or less square footage to maintain. Maybe you have medical issues and moving will help you address them. Or, maybe you just want a simpler life. Whatever the reason, downsizing can be a physically and emotionally challenging process, but there are ways to ease the stress along the way. Here is some advice for planning your downsize so you’ll be able to move once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

Trying Out a Home

If you’re looking to own your next home, it’s important to find one that suits your needs — now and in the future — as well as your budget. After retirement, you may not have as much money coming in, which means you might not have enough to cover the price of a costly mortgage payment every month. And even if you use the money from the sale of your old home to offset the cost of your new property, it’s still important to take your finances into consideration.

Work with the Butler Group Real Estate to review listings so you can find a home that’s comfortable and affordable. Having an idea of what the market looks like can eliminate sticker shock and give you an idea of what to expect before you start the big hunt. For starters, keep in mind that the average sale price of homes in San Diego over the past month was $641,000, so use that figure as a jumping-off point so you can plan your budget. When it comes to shopping for a mortgage, a conventional loan may be your best option if you qualify. These loans offer lower and customizable interest rates, and if you put 20 percent down on your new home, you won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance.

Independent Living Community vs. Assisted Living Facility

House hunting can be a difficult aspect of downsizing. While this may be necessary if you’re looking for a new home, there are other options to consider, such as independent living and assisted living. These are often grouped together in conversation, but they are not synonymous. Both provide housing, common spaces, and services and amenities that accommodate aging, but independent living communities are tailored for those who do not need special assistance with daily life. Therefore, if you need help with tasks like managing medications, bathing, and dressing, assisted living may be the right option for you.

If you find either of these options appealing, evaluate your lifestyle and determine what level of services you would need. Then, visit a few facilities and communities to determine the right place for you. It’s worth noting that isolation is a common risk for seniors as they get older, which can lead to severe depression, and both independent living and assisted living provide great community activities that help seniors stay connected to others.

Sorting Your Belongings

When you’ve decided on a place to live, you’ll need to sort through your belongings and decide what to take with you. Start as soon as possible, as it will probably take longer than expected; plus, you may want some time to reminisce over certain items. Make clear decisions on what you will keep and get rid of — don’t leave a bunch of items undecided until moving day. Consider giving legacy gifts before you move, and look into local nonprofits for your items that are in good condition. Moreover, if you have some things that could make you some extra cash, don’t hesitate to sell them on eBay, Craigslist or other classified advertisement sites.

Moving to the New Place

One of the most important things you can do when it’s time to move is to ask for friends or family to help. Moving can be very stressful, and the more people you have to carry and transport your boxes, the better. You can also hire professional movers if you don’t want to subject your family to the rigors of packing and carrying furniture and boxes. Another thing to consider is hiring a senior move manager, who should be able to do anything you need that’s moving-related — whether that’s taking care of the entire process or only helping with certain tasks.

The downsizing process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Consider what kind of home you want to live in, and be sure to look into independent or assisted living. If your goal is to own a home, plan your budget carefully. Finally, leave enough time to sort through your belongings, make clear decisions in what you’re keeping, and arrange people to help with the move.


Additional Resources

Coronavirus’ Impacts on Real Estate: Why You Need to Think Short-Term and Longer-Term

9 Strategies When Selling in a Buyer’s Market

Good Neighborhoods for Aging – What Makes Them That Way (or Not)

Top 10 Benefits of Downsizing into a Smaller Home

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