A fully minimalist lifestyle is not for everyone. But nearly everyone has a closet that’s stuffed to the gills or a junk drawer filled with random items you “might use one day.” And others have entire rooms that are no longer used. Would it be nice to pare down on that space someday?
As a generation, Boomers have successfully launched their children into their own homes, and many are dreaming about the freedom of retirement. If that’s you, you may also be considering selling the family home for something more manageable as you age in place.
Downsizing can lead to a simpler and more affordable life. However, surprisingly few adults over the age of 55 are taking the steps to prepare. Here are six easy steps to help you toward a more affordable lifestyle—whenever you’re ready to make the leap.
1. Dream about Your Future
Well before you gather the moving boxes, imagine your life in different settings. Would you like to live out your twilight years somewhere rural or walkable? Do you need to be close to your children and grandchildren, or have you dreamed about a perfect retirement community on the water? Different locations necessitate different lifestyles. By knowing where you want to end up, you’ll be able to better plan how to get there.
2. Create a Budget
Compared to your desired lifestyle, the opposite side of the retirement coin is your budget. A “more affordable lifestyle” is only what its name implies if you know how to manage your money. Use your imagined scenarios from the step above to create projected household budgets. Don’t forget to account for standard of living differences if you want to move to another region. Will you have maintenance costs in your next home, or will those be covered by an HOA? These won’t be budgets you need to stick to once you retire, but they will help you envision how your new lifestyle will impact your quality of life.
3. Start Paring Down Now
It can be hard to part with your heirlooms and items that hold sentimental value. But it’s devastating to think about those items being chucked carelessly in a landfill someday. If your children don’t want (or don’t have space for) the things you’ve saved up, take this opportunity to find them new homes where they will be loved. You have the time now, well before you’re ready to move. And by paring down early, you can get a better feel for how much home and storage space you will need in your retirement.
4. Prep Your Current Home
It’s easy to get excited about the next phase of your life, but don’t forget you have to sell your current home first! Almost all homes, even brand new ones, have at least minor issues that need to be resolved. By fixing potential issues before putting your house on the market, you can solve many problems before a buyer ever sees them. Being proactive can also save you money. By solving issues on your own time and budget, you can spare yourself the funds required by demanding buyers who may prefer more costly repairs.
5. Study the Floor Plan
One of the great joys of moving is decorating your new place from scratch. Start before you ever move into your retirement home! Study the floor plan of the space you are buying and imagine where your existing furniture, electronics, appliances, and decor would fit. There are even apps and software that can help you out! By knowing what will go where, you’re also deciding on what you will NOT have room for or may need to buy. That can save you the trouble of moving a solid oak dining set into a breakfast nook better suited for a cute new bistro table.
6. Get the Timing Right
In real estate, timing is everything. If you’re counting on the sale of your current home to help you build your nest egg, then you want to make sure you have it right. Consider housing values, both in your current home and where you would like to move, and how they’re trending. Look at trends in mortgage interest rates, think about how your other financial investments are doing, and how all of this will impact your taxes.
Want an extra hand to help with this planning? A reputable real estate agent is trained to help you make those dreams come true. Your Beverly-Hanks agent is well versed in local neighborhood home values and national real estate trends. Plus, Beverly-Hanks is part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldⓇ, the premier international relocation network. Our network affiliation connects us with more than 550 premier firms at 4,000 offices in 55 countries—so we can help you relocate with ease to anywhere in the world!
All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about downsizing for retirement, our experts at Beverly-Hanks are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about buying and selling homes and land in Western North Carolina.
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