Does the walk to your front door seem to grow longer by the year? Or, do chores seem to take more time with each passing week? If so, it might be time to downsize. Far West Realty, your professional property management specialist in Prescott, recognizes that as hard as it is to say goodbye before you’re ready, downsizing is easier when you do it early instead of waiting until your health demands it.
Not every older adult needs to downsize, but it’s a smart choice for many. Not only are big homes tough to keep clean as you grow older, but a home that’s too big could pose a risk to your safety. In a small, low-maintenance home where everything you need is nearby, you’re less likely to get hurt walking up stairs or mowing the lawn.
Downsizing also offers economic benefits. In the right market, seniors can sell a home, purchase a more affordable home, and use the difference to buffer retirement savings or fund travel.
Unfortunately, many older adults avoid downsizing not because they wouldn’t prefer a more convenient home, but because they dread the process itself. Selling a home is a time-consuming process, especially if the home requires updates to meet market demands. In addition to selling and moving, seniors have to downsize their stuff in order to fit comfortably into a smaller home.
It’s a big, emotionally demanding process, and it’s understandable why seniors might shy away. However, the temporary workload of moving is better than staying put and risking injury in a home not suited to aging in place. A family home in the suburbs also isn’t what most seniors today are looking for. As The New York Times reports, modern older adults want to live in walkable communities where they can live, shop, and socialize without relying on a car.
As unpleasant as moving is, the long-term benefit of living in a safe, accessible home and community is worth the effort of downsizing. And while it may not be a joy, the process itself doesn’t have to be burdensome when seniors follow these tips:
- Don’t rush downsizing. Sorting through a lifetime of belongings is overwhelming. There’s a lot to be donated, discarded and sold, like bulky furniture that won’t fit in a smaller home. Rather than let the process delay a necessary move, seniors should determine what will fit in the future home and store the rest somewhere they can work through it gradually. For a few small boxes, asking family to spare a closet should work. But if there’s a lot of stuff, a storage unit is a better choice. For example, storage units in Prescott Valley, Arizona, range from $54 – $113, making it an inexpensive way to buy some time.
- Know what you need in a home. It’s not enough to buy a smaller house. Seniors need a home that accounts for future mobility changes. That means, at minimum, a one-story home with plenty of lighting and even flooring. The National Association of Home Builders lists additional features that make a home suitable for aging in place.
- Update your home to sell (but not too much). A home that’s outdated is hard to sell, even if it’s in great condition. Seniors should modernize their homes with small, inexpensive changes such as replacing lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware with more contemporary selections and swapping wallpaper for neutral-colored paint. However, seniors should talk to their real estate agent before investing in major changes to the home.
- Hire movers. Trying to save money with a DIY move could become expensive fast if someone gets hurt. Seniors should hire movers who can pack, load and transport their items, taking care to choose an insured company. If overseeing moving crews is too much for the senior, Moving.com recommends hiring a Senior Move Manager.
Downsizing to a smaller home is a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it. When older adults make the switch to a downsized home, they can enjoy their retirement years without worrying about falling or maintaining a large home. That means more energy for living retirement the way it’s meant to be lived: seeing family and friends, pursuing the things you love and enjoying a slower pace of life.
If you find that you’re ready to downsize, speak to the experts at Far West Realty. We can help you with buying, selling, and relocating in Prescott. If you’d like to keep your present home as an investment property, we can handle your property management needs. Call us today at 928-772-9400 to schedule an appointment.