I often come across potential buyers who come to my open house to explore the possibility of downsizing. They are about to make a lifestyle choice.
Downsizing buyers invariably go through an exercise whereby they visualize themselves in this new lifestyle yet envision bringing all their worldly possessions to this new lifestyle location. They consistently verbalize how small townhomes look to them, but they are picturing all their current belongings and furniture crammed into a smaller space!
People underestimate how long the process is to truly downsize effectively. Do you really need grandmother's silver service? Do you have three others as well? Then, there is all that stuff in the basement…oh, in the garage, too. When was the last time the Buick came in from out of the elements? Oh, no, you'se got an attic, too? Clean it out now…it's not the place to be in July!
My personal best is helping a couple clean out their ranch home a few years ago…five full dumpsters later we were done – today they can's recall what they tossed!
If you don's use it, then sell it, toss it, give it away to charity (and get a tax write off), or give it to someone you know – just don's move it!
Next is furniture! Do you really need a dining room table that seats 12? To downsize means to simplify in every sense of the word. Perhaps buying a smaller dining table more in scale when you get to your new place would be a great idea.
Once you can get past the step of parting with items that are truly no longer needed and plan to bring only what is really needed, you will arrive at the other side with a newfound sense of freedom. Gone is the excess that has been weighing you down for, in some cases, many years.
Now that you embrace the “less is more” concept, you are ready to get your home on the market and preview your housing options for your next move.
In our area there are free-standing homes deeded as condominiums; ranch-style condominiums; floor plans with upstairs guest suites, second-level bedrooms; and smaller single-family homes. Condominiums are a turn key alterative to a single family home; especially great for second homes, for those that travel, or those that would just prefer to spend their time reading, going to the theater, walking on the beach, or entertaining family or friends. Since the ice storms of 2008 and again in 2011 and all that snow last year, there seem to be a few more converts to condominium living where all of that would have been taken care of for you.
Some condominiums offer amenities such as clubhouses, which serve as a great way to meet and spend time with new neighbors. Also, pools, tennis courts, putting greens, or exercise rooms are available in certain communities. Price ranges vary greatly from as low as $229,900 to over $600,000 depending on size, location, and types of amenities.
There are now more options than ever. Prices have stabilized and mortgage rates as I write this are in the low 4% range and in the mid 3% range for a 15-year fixed! These are actually lower than in 1955 when my parents bought their first home. I just don's know how much better it can get if you are a buyer now!