Downsizing is a big step for a lot of seniors and, for many, it can be a hard change to make. To help make the transition easier, I asked real estate agents to share their best tips for how to handle this process. Read on below to see what they had to say.
Take an inventory of your current space
“My top tip for clients looking to downsize is not only take inventory of your home and the items you want to keep, but to also take an inventory of the space you actually use.
For example, if you have a formal dining area but never use it, or perhaps have multiple spare bedrooms that don’t see guests, then you can remove these items from your search in your next home – even if it means letting go of a special piece of furniture.”
Danielle M. O’Brien, the Broker/Owner of Parkway Real Estate in West Roxbury, MA
Start downsizing before you move
“When downsizing, it’s important to get rid of big items you aren’t planning on using before you move. If you wait, you may waste hundreds of dollars paying to move these items and storing them, especially if you don’t have space in your new home.”
Fred McGill, the CEO & Co-Founder of SimpleShowing, Inc. and a Forbes Real Estate Council Member based in Atlanta, GA
Hire an SRES-designated Realtor
“An SRES-designated Realtor is also known as a Senior Real Estate Specialist. These agents have done specialized training and have gotten specific certifications that are geared towards working with seniors. They have experience working with clients who are focused on retirement and downsizing.”
Benjamin Ross, an agent with Mission Real Estate Group in San Antonio, TX
Don’t forget to account for the monthly carrying costs
“My tip is to pay careful attention to monthly carrying costs. Often, buyers focus solely on the price of a home and don’t take into account property taxes or HOA fees. These costs are very important for all buyers to consider, but especially so for downsizers, who are often on fixed budgets.”
James McGrath, Co-Founder of Yoreevo, a real estate brokerage in NYC
Take your future needs into account
“Will your needs change in the near future? Are you looking for a home without stairs? Do you want to reduce maintenance? Do you want to live close to family who might be able to help you down the road?
Make a list of your future needs and prioritize them. This list will be helpful throughout a transaction as a reminder of why you are going through this and what your positive end goal will be.”
Karen Parnes, Broker/Owner of NextHome Your Way in Rockville, MD