Seniors

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.

TRANSITIONS

How can August be finished already? The last of summer vacations give way to getting the college students organized, packed and settled on campus, going over school supply lists and going through clothes to see what fits and what’s needed for the new school year for high school and elementary school age kids.

college dorm life

For some of us it’s time to start planning our winter getaways before the first snowflakes fly, because you know how fast Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas come and go, heavy sigh. If raising children is behind you, maybe it’s time to think about moving from that way to large of a home you currently own and where you raised your family, and downsize into a smaller ranch style home or condominium. But where to start?

Finances are of major importance so consulting with your financial advisor followed by having a market evaluation of your current home with a Realtor is a great place to begin. Get an idea of what your home will sell for and what you will net after closing costs. A knowledgeable agent will also give advise as to what improvements will give you your maximum sales price. I typically leave my sellers with “A” lists of what must be done, “B” lists of what would make your home stand out over other competing homes, and “C” lists of what would be nice to see finished but not necessary if “A” and “B” have worn you out.

downsizing

time to move into a smaller home?

Once you have a plan, this  process can take a week, a month or even more for you to be market ready. Start going through your basement and purge, give away or box all that has been hanging around for years. Go through your closets and cupboards and do the same. If you’ve been in your home 10, 20 or more years you know what I’m talking about. My own experience had me wondering why did I save 30 flower vases or my husband to save what seemed like a million cans of paint, car polish and wire?!? Do an area, a cupboard or a closet every few days. It may seem like an  overwhelming task but START. The good housekeeping fairy isn’t coming by, your grown children will applaud you for it, and you will be ready to start your new adventure. Life is full of transitions, turn the page and start that next chapter.