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Downsizing in 2020 - Is a Move Right for You?

Change is never easy but when your home’s upkeep becomes too overwhelming, you prefer a more hassle-free lifestyle, or financial and health issues dictate a change, then downsizing or relocating may be the best option for you. How to decide when and where to move? It’s often best to take a proactive approach and consider your options ahead of time based on what your needs might be if your health fails, spouse dies, or some other major event occurs. No one likes to think of these things but there’s a greater chance of making the wrong decision if it’s made in haste.

It’s also a good idea to include your family in the decision-making process so they are aware of your wishes. What to consider before you make your move?

STEP 1: Evaluate your Needs Financial Considerations

Downsizing generally involves moving to a smaller and less expensive home. A tidy profit earned on the sale of your home may boost your income during retirement. Cutting housing related expenses will allow you to free up income and thus draw down your savings at a slower rate.

In addition to size, it’s also important to consider both the design, layout and location of your new home to meet needs in later life. Multiple levels and stairs can be an issue as would having to drive long distances to grocery shop or run errands. Many retirees prefer to live in places where they can easily walk to shops and other amenities or where they are well served by public transportation. Being close to family and friends is also an important factor. Many older adults choose to make a long-distance move in order to live closer to family members.

It’s also important to consider your current health situation and whether there will be a need for a more supportive environment in the near future. If aging at home, healthcare and community support services may be needed. If health concern stake top priority, a retirement or assisted living residence with available personal care and support services may be the best option.

STEP 2: Research Your Options. Whether a smaller home, townhouse or condo seems like the right fit or a retirement residence, assisted living facility or long-term care is the best choice, the next step will be to find out more about each option and compare the positive and negative aspects of each one based on your needs evaluation. Speak to a real estate agent that is familiar with selling seniors’ homes. They know the housing market and can suggest the best options for townhomes and condos that are currently on the market or that will be built soon. They are often connected with other professionals who specialize in seniors’ needs such as lawyers, appraisers, senior move specialists and companies that offer reputable home repair and maintenance services. Get a list of retirement residences and seniors’ apartments within the areas that you are considering and visit each one. Many offer tours and complimentary lunches. Make sure to take a family member or friend that will give an objective opinion. Evaluate each one and compare the strengths and weaknesses of each.

STEP 3: Plan Your Move. Lastly, plan ahead and give yourself time to organize and pack what you wish to keep and store, sell, discard or giveaway. This can be started even before you make your final decision. Talk to a senior move specialist who is trained and experienced in relocating seniors. Their advice and assistance can make moving easier and reduce stress.