Downsizing your home

Older couples must consider a host of factors before deciding to downsize their homes.

The decision to downsize a home is often bittersweet. Many couples who downsize their homes do so after raising a family. A home might be filled with memories, but downsizing helps couples save more money, and that financial flexibility often allows them to more fully enjoy retirement.

In spite of the financial impact of downsizing a home, there’s more than just money at stake for homeowners thinking of downsizing. The following are a handful of factors homeowners should consider before downsizing to a smaller home.

Real estate market

The real estate market can be a seller’s friend or foe.

Many sellers have a sale price in mind when they decide to sell their home, but the real estate market can be fickle. Homeowners should do research before putting their home up for sale. Will the current market make it easier for you to get the most for your home, or will you have to settle for less than you prefer? How fast are similar homes in your area selling?

When studying the real estate market, it’s also a good idea to study the market for smaller homes. If you plan on moving into a condominium, but the market is not flush with properties, you might end up paying more than you want to for your new home, which might negate the savings you can expect from downsizing.

Furniture

When downsizing to a smaller home, many couples realize their current furniture is unlikely to fit into a smaller home.

That means couples will have to sell or donate their current furniture and then buy all new items for their new home. If it’s been a while since you purchased new furniture, you might be in for some sticker shock on your first visit to the furniture store.

Another thing to consider regarding your furniture is which items you simply can’t live without. An antique dinner table might have been the centerpiece for your family holidays over the last several decades, but there’s no guarantee it will fit into your smaller home. You may want to pass this down to your son or daughter, but that’s only possible if he or she has the room for it.

Before deciding to downsize, consider your attachment to certain items that you may or may not be able to take with you to your new home and the emotional toll selling such items might take if you’re left with no other options.

Proximity to family

When downsizing to a smaller home, many couples move out of the suburbs and into cities or towns with more ready access to culture and restaurants.

While that accessibility is great, grandparents may find it comes at the cost of less time with their grandchildren. That’s a steep price to pay for doting grandparents, and it may also impact your children if they frequently rely on Grandma and Grandpa for babysitting.

Before downsizing, consider if you’re willing to move farther away from your family. If not, you likely can still find a smaller home in close proximity to your current home and any nearby family members.

Medical care

Many older people must also consider the effect moving may have on their medical care.

Downsizing to a home in the country may make it harder to maintain contact with your current physician, and rural areas typically have fewer medical practitioners than more densely populated towns and cities. In addition, if you have been visiting the same physician for years, you may not want to move and have to start all over again with a physician who is unfamiliar with your medical history. Consider how much maintaining your existing relationship with your physician means to you and if your next home will provide the kind of access to medical care you’re likely to need.

Downsizing a home is not just about moving into a smaller property. To ensure you’re making the right decision, many factors must be considered before downsizing.

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