A Guide for Anyone Looking to Downsize

Posted on: Thursday, April 30, 2020

There comes a time in most homeowners’ lives when the thought of downsizing makes a lot of sense. Whether you’re looking for a home with everything on one floor or something with fewer rooms to clean, downsizing usually signifies the onset of a new and easier chapter to your life. But that doesn’t mean downsizing is an easy process. 

While your life experience and previous home purchases no doubt makes you more knowledgeable than first-time homebuyers — you know what escrow is, after all — it doesn’t make sense to go it alone when selling your existing home and buying your next, smaller one. You’re dealing with two complicated transactions and a two-way real estate journey -- in a market that’s become increasingly uncertain in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

All the more reason to enlist the services of a trained, licensed REALTOR®. You are, after all, trying to simplify and enjoy life. And your REALTOR® can be a trusted resource to help you do it. 

Here are some tips for anyone who’s ready to get serious about downsizing.

Figure Out What Your Next Chapter Will Look Like

The only thing you truly know at the outset is that you want to live in a smaller space. 

Many further issues need to be considered. Do you want another house or are you willing to give condo living a spin? Relocating to a condominium or townhome in a vibrant, walkable downtown has been a hot trend among people who are downsizing for quite some time, but the pandemic has cast that strategy into question. Moving into an urban area means higher population density, which probably brings a higher risk factor.

Do you want to downsize in your current area, move relatively close by, or venture far away, perhaps closer to the kids and grandkids? Interesting fact: The median distance is 71 miles for 65-plus movers, but 25 percent relocate more than 1,000 miles. 

Do you prefer living in a senior community for an active social life among your peers? Do you plan to travel in your next chapter?  (Clearly, the pandemic has put a temporary damper on wanderlust.) 

Those are just a few lifestyle questions that must be answered before listing your house. Then there are the business issues — the value of your current home; what you can comfortably afford for your next one; the real estate markets you are leaving and looking into; property taxes; the cost of a move, and more.

Your REALTOR® can be a good sounding board for the lifestyle questions, and provide quick, accurate answers to the business ones.


Start Decluttering Right Away

As soon as you’ve made the decision to downsize, start thinning out the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. This is no weekend job. In fact, it’s advisable to take your time doing it. Some experts say that starting to declutter early will give you pleasurable time to reminisce. And don’t assume that your kids will want your stuff. Ask them if there are any particular things they want for keepsakes, but otherwise the decisions to keep or toss something are all yours. 

Get Your House Ready to Sell

You’ve probably lived in your current home for a while. You’ve done regular fixes and upgrades. As far as you’re concerned, the house is perfectly livable and in good shape. But just being a sound, solid home doesn’t necessarily make it instantly marketable. Your REALTOR® can give you some good insights on how to make your home more sellable -- without spending too much. 

Shop — Carefully and Efficiently

There’s no harm in searching for your new, smaller house from the get-go. It’s the most fun part of a real estate journey. It lets you dream, and you can do it in your easy chair. But as the move to downsize becomes more and more a reality, make your search more robust and efficient, via virtual home tours, 3D interactive property scans, videos and more. Your Orlando REALTORS® have access to all these tools and can help you take advantage of them.

Choose Your Home Tours Carefully

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new risks to real estate showings; however, Orlando REALTORS® are following an established set of safety guidelines for home tours to protect everyone involved. Matters have become far more complex if you’re downsizing to a home far away, as any kind of travel introduces an additional health risk. So let a REALTOR® guide you through the home-touring process. 

Finally, Let a REALTOR® Wrap it Up

Have a REALTOR® negotiate for you when you sell your current home and put in an offer on your new one. Their negotiation expertise will help you get the best possible deal on both transactions -- leaving you in a good financial position to begin the newest chapter of your life.


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