Moving Insight

Rightsizing for Seniors

I have been selling real estate for over 35 years and since I am over 65 considered by most to be a “senior citizen” myself. The words can sting for a minute until you change your mindset and start appreciating the fact that hey, I’m alive and I deserve this title and the freedom that comes with it. Things are not the same as when my parents were reaching this milestone. I am not needing nor wanting to retire but intend to live like my heroine, Betty White, so I have many years to plan for. I choose to enjoy my career, my home, friends and clients, and travel. Seven years ago, my husband and I sold our 2-story home in Ada and moved into a ranch in the Crystal Springs golf community. I wanted my space, but also wanted a main floor master suite. My daughters called this “flattening out” not downsizing and when they used this term I laughed for a week. While still helping first time and relocating buyers, I have decided to devote the majority of my time to helping seniors, or soon to be seniors, plan for the next chapter of their lives.

So, if this scenario, or a variation of this, may be weighing on your mind, let’s start really looking at your house and to see if it’s time for you to “RIGHTSIZE.” Have you lived in your home for a long time and have rooms that you never use? Is your lower level or basement starting to accumulate cobwebs because you don’t use any of the extra space? Are all your bedrooms on the second floor, maybe even your only full bathroom? Do you have boxes and tubs filled with “stuff”, unused small appliances and gadgets, old cookbooks, dishes, vases and car parts taking space on your shelves? It’s time to let some of that go and rightsize your life NOW while you can. Don’t put it off and have an event happen in your life whereby you must make an unexpected move quickly. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a walk out or daylight basement if you want, it just makes sense to have all your main living area on one level.   

Begin by having a heart to heart talk with whomever is most important in your life, be that a spouse, your children, or a friend you’ve had for many years and start envisioning where you’d like to live when you rightsize.

  • CONDOMINIUM Many decide to move to a condominium to free up time and energy with  outdoor maintenance. There are many varieties such as stand alone, duplex style, no steps and no basement.
  • SMALLER HOME Maybe condos are not your vision. Moving into a ranch style home where you can live on one floor, with a lower level that could be finished or unfinished may be more suited to you. You can always hire private lawn maintenance and snow removal.
  • APARTMENT Moving to an apartment could be an option if you want to free up your cash and not have the burden of a house to maintain
  • RELOCATE Are you wanting to make a long distance move to be near your children or south to a warmer climate?
  • SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY living with other seniors could give you a sense of connection and offer you endless options of involvement, especially if you don’t have an extended social network.

Envision yourself in a space of your choosing and let’s start planning on how to get your there step by step. Follow my blog and I’m going to give you one assignment a week to start helping you arrive at the splendid next chapter of your life .

Rightsizing

What is rightsizing as it pertains to real estate? If you are single and living in a one bedroom or studio apartment and you’re soon to be a newlywed, you may be ready for your first home with more living space and a yard. That’s rightsizing.

You may be having your first, second or third baby and need even more space in that neighborhood you’ve always wanted to live in. That’s rightsizing.

Your youngest child is now off to collage and you’re ready to sell the 4 bedroom, 3 bath home for a smaller home. That’s rightsizing.

You may be retiring and traveling more, having health issues or just ready to be in a ranch style home or condominium community where all of your essential living is on one floor. That’s rightsizing.

So how do you plan for any of this and start taking the first steps? Discuss your money situation with your financial adviser, if you have one. If you’re young and haven’t really thought you needed to plan so soon, think again. You will find time goes by in the blink of an eye and you don’t want to find yourself at 50 or 60 with “should have” “would have’s” in your financial vocabulary. No time like the present to lay out your blueprint for your plans and dreams.

The next step, regardless of what chapter you are in life, is committing to a Realtor who has YOUR best interests at the top of their agenda, one who’s there to help you evaluate what kind of home best suits your lifestyle, who will find a home in your price range, and look ahead to your future. If she or he can’t say a particular home you’re considering is a great option for you, if she can’t say “if you call me in two or three years because life changed again and you have been transferred, are expecting triplets, or need to move to a senior living center, I think we will be just fine in selling this property”, you are working with an agent who has set THEIR financial needs ahead of YOURS. Of course that also takes some partnering up on your part, maintaining and improving your soon to be new home as time passes.

And finally, your third step is connecting with a trusted mortgage lender. Any Realtor will tell you that calling endlessly to seek out the lender who will save you pennies on the dollar for your new loan is not your only priority. We have years of experience in working with lenders. We know who will pre-qualify you properly, who knows how to process your loan in a timely manner, who isn’t going to drop the ball and let the sale blow up midway down the track to your closing. We all have horror stories from years past where lenders aren’t committed to a great experience with their customers, and if things don’t work out well, they are just on to the next loan. Trust your Realtors advise.

Once you have taken these three crucial steps, you are ready to start looking at your options and narrowing down your search for your new home, your new chapter in your life, your new lifestyle in a community. Enjoy the process, then look back and say it was worth every minute to prepare.

Call me if you want to discuss your own plan for rightsizing, if you need a trusted lender, financial advisor, or have suggestions for a new topic of discussion.

Ignoring your side yard?

When getting your house ready for sale, or just sprucing up your landscaping, don’t forget your side yard. So often, people put their lawn clippings and yard waste where they think buyers won’t notice. They do, and your neighbors notice it, even though you think its out of sight because of a fence. Resist the “easy way out” urge and find some ideas to make your side yard look as great as the rest of your yard!

Preparing your home FOR SALE … It might be all about color …

Getting ready to put your home on the market? Winter can be a great time to prepare. If you have collections of pictures on your walls, now is the time to lovingly pack them away so that prospective owners can visualize their own life in the house without distraction. Once all or the majority of them are down, do the walls look a bit dingy or are there shadows around where the pictures were? Is there candle or fireplace residue on your walls or ceilings? Walk through your home as if you were a buyer, or better yet ask a friend, one who can be brutally honest with you, to walk with you and decide if you need to pick a good color and paint before listing. You want your walls to give a great first impression, down to the trim. White baseboards (or even stained wood), often have a layer of dust covering them. Wash or paint/stain if chipped or past clean up stage. If your kids have bright colored rooms and they are in good shape and painted well (not an inch splashed over on the ceiling or trim), well, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Check with your real estate agent to see if they need to be neutralized. I tend to be on the safe side with grays or greige, and have Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige SW6073 in my main living areas, just be careful your paint choice doesn’t have too much pink in it. And agree or disagree, the many colors of blue just might start to influence your next painting project. The perfect shade of blue looks beautiful in kitchens with white cabinets and trim, is perfectly soothing in bathrooms, and makes laundry rooms look crisp, clean and just makes you want to wash clothes, well almost. For a fresh, beach like look

Check this out if you’re deciding on a color theme for your home, you just might want to revisit BLUE

Behr Blue bathroom paint ideas

Moving With Kids

Did you know that plenty of experts consider moving during the school year the BEST time to move? What is the reasoning here? Moving to a state, city or even a new neighborhood in the summer may leave a space of a month or two before your child has an opportunity to meet new friends vs. jumping right into an established routine which may allow them to adapt faster to a new environment.
In working with relocating families for over 30 years, I’ve witnessed 4 and 5-year-old children assume the toys in the house they purchased will stay with the house, while worrying that their own toys and pets will be left behind. I’ve seen the nervous anticipation of an 8 or 10-year-old anxious to meet new friends while fretting about being “liked” at their new school. I’ve seen the sadness and downright rebellion of a 16-year-old boy as he blocked out his parents best efforts at making the move as smooth as possible. But, moving happens as we live in a time when relocation due to job changes are far more common than years ago when families stayed in the same home from kindergarten through high school. 

So, what can you do to make your move easier on your kids? Once you have decided on the home and have been through inspections and all is smooth sailing toward closing, see if you can tour the house once again with your family. Take pictures of the house, the yard, and each child’s bedroom. Visit the school, or at least drive by and take another picture. Another major concern of middle and high school kids? Knowing what the kids wear to school because they want to fit in! When you get back home, help them make a wall map marked with the old house and the new, add the pictures, and maybe add some places of interest that they will see once moved. Lakes, parks, the zoo, a possible new dance studio, team sports, etc. If you can’t get some of these, ask your Realtor for help. Most of us are as anxious as you to see your family happily settled in your new home.