Downsizing : How to Know It’s Time

Victoria and Dave Ranck
Victoria and Dave Ranck
Published on March 7, 2020

Downsizing can be one of the most liberating things we will ever do. In the truest sense, it is becoming unencumbered by our things- things that are no longer serve us and have just become extra baggage. We may have loved these things during one season of life, but now it is another season.

Seasons of life, just like seasons of the year herald what is coming next. Each one is special, and when you know what is coming, you plan for it, with excitement and expectation! Seasons are something for us to embrace and look forward to.

Many think it is too early to downsize, as they can still function on their own and maintain the lifestyle they’ve enjoyed for years. Yet something is nagging at them, and they start asking questions about downsizing and to look into other options “just to see”.

Where downsizing is concerned, it is better to be a little early to the party than a little late. Just as when fall is coming, and the first leaves begin to turn at the tops of the trees though the days are still warm, it’s time to start the process. Here it is in a nutshell: you want to begin the downsizing process while the decisions are yours to make, and while you can enjoy the fruit of the next phase of life you are creating.

Your personal situation is unique, and your downsizing options are as individual as you are. Only you can decide what is best for you, health-wise, personality-wise, and finance-wise. The key is to have trusted advisers, one of which should be a Senior Real Estate Specialist. They can advise you on the whole picture of downsizing, and will be connected to and can recommend people for every aspect of the downsizing process.

What Does It Mean to Downsize?

For some, downsizing may mean going from a 3500 sf house into a one story, maintenance free villa. For others, it may be choosing a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community). A CCRC is a community which you enter as self-care, but that has additional facilities should you need greater care down the road, like assisted living or skilled nursing. The truth is that only 5% of people in a CCRC ever need the skilled nursing portion. These CCRC’s are lifestyle communities not nursing homes! The thing the staff most often hears residents say is “I wish I had come sooner!”.

Downsizing can be liberating! Seniors Leaping

For others, downsizing and the plan for aging in place may require a reverse snowbird move- selling the condo in Florida to move back up north near family. This type of move is much more common than you may think. There is a longing for home and family that often comes as we age.

Big Decisions Take Time

We have had clients that we have helped in all of these
situations.

We know these big decisions take time, and that’s why we like to meet with you well before you have decided to sell your home. The information we provide at our initial consultations will help you decide if and when to sell, and what would be the right next move for you. We don’t meet with you expecting to list your home – selling your home might not be the best option for you. Helping with these decisions is our area of expertise and we are very easy to talk to. The most common thing we hear from our clients is, “I feel so much better after talking with you”.

When we talk with you, we’ll also provide guidance on what to do to your home, or not do to your home so you get the best possible price. We provide staging advice so your home shows to its best advantage. We can connect you with charities that will take your unwanted furniture as donations, and to consignment stores that will sell your items and share the profit with you.

There are also companies that specialize in items that just need to be hauled away. And we know trusted handymen and contractors to make repairs needed to get your best price.

Quite a while ago, I came to the conclusion that I did not need to make a lifetime commitment to items of furniture and fashion. They are here to serve me; I don’t serve them. It was liberating to part ways with things that were no longer relevant in my life.

Another revelation I had is that it is not a failure to sell an item for less than I paid for it. I had the use of it and enjoyed having it. That is what I paid for. Any money gained on its resale is a bonus!

Being a Baby Boomer

I am a Baby Boomer, and our generation has lived life differently than our parent’s generation. Many of our parents owned one home their whole lives, had furniture that was passed down to them or purchased furniture that was meant to last a lifetime. They had fine china that was a wedding gift, and silver flatware and crystal they only brought out on special occasions. Many of our clients who are our parent’s generation are dumbstruck when their kids and grandkids don’t want these things or the boxes and boxes of photos and memorabilia. You are not doomed to be the curator of a museum filled with items your children do not want or live too far to come get. Free yourself from that responsibility.

As “Boomers”, in our early 50’s, my husband and I chose to downsize to a one-story maintenance-free villa in Florida, to be near family. We left behind our 10-room house with an attic, basement, garage and an acre of property for a more European lifestyle where life is lived outside the 4 walls of a home. Now when we want to go away, we just lock the door and go. We have limited storage and keep our possessions at a minimum, and we like it that way. Everything we own is relevant, or it goes. The exterior of our home- roof and siding- is repaired and replaced by the Homeowner’s Association. Because the details of our physical life are minimal, we have more mental space for enjoying what really matters to us in life.

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