When a move becomes part of your retirement plans, it can feel like you’re letting go of your memories. In reality, though, downsizing can help seniors let go of the stress and expense of managing a larger home. Moving to a smaller home or even a senior community can open up your life in ways you never expected, but you have to know which steps to take in order to make the downsizing process a positive experience during retirement.
Know Where to Start With Your Home Search
Finding a home that’s just right for your retirement needs can be tricky. If you’re not careful, you could wind up wasting time and money on this task, especially when researching homes online is so easy. For instance, with a quick search, you can see Salem, OR, housing trends, which will provide a clearer picture of the types of homes available as well as average prices. Homes in Salem have sold for an average of $313K in the last month. So, take a peek at homes online in your desired location and cost, and when you’re ready to get serious about your search, reach out to a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) rated realtor, who will have the senior real estate knowledge to help you make the most of your downsizing move.
Plan Out the Future of Your Retirement Finances
Buying a new home is no small undertaking, even if it’s smaller and less expensive than your old one. Even these tiny retirement homes can require a serious financial investment, so seniors have to be sure that they will be able to afford a new home, now and in the future. Take stock of any retirement savings or pension benefits that will provide you with income over the next several years. Will these income sources be enough to cover your new living expenses? Do you need to sell your old home first? Will you need to pay for additional accessibility upgrades in the future? These questions are so important for ensuring your home purchase will sustain you throughout retirement and will allow you to live comfortably in your golden years.
Streamline Moving Tasks Like Decluttering and Packing
With your finances in order and the right realtor, you should be able to close on your new home quickly. The work of downsizing your home, however, is far from over. If, like many seniors, you have amassed a collection of stuff over the years, you will likely need to sort through it before you can even begin packing. It sounds morbid, but “death cleaning” has helped many people stay more decisive when decluttering, so think about trying this method in your home. You can enlist the help of relatives or hire professional packers (these services generally cost $35 - $40 per hour) if that will make the process easier for you, but either way, you have to stay realistic about what will fit into your new home without causing more clutter. Once you’ve reduced what you own, packing your home should be easier and take less effort.
Settle into Your New Home and Start Living Your Life Again
Sometimes the hardest part of a move for seniors is adjusting to a new home. If you begin to feel a little homesick after your move, know that this is a normal reaction to such a big life change. It’s important to allow yourself time to process these emotions, but also avoid dwelling on your feelings. If you are able to, think about getting out and exploring your new neighborhood, so you can begin to make new friends and connections. You can also search for senior centers in your new area. Senior centers and services can help older adults stay physically active, provide mental stimulation, and connect them with other seniors in their new city. Best of all, you can usually find one that is tailored to your specific interests and passions.
If downsizing your home feels like a huge life shift, it’s because it absolutely is! But if you follow the above tips, the transition can become easier. You have the power to turn this major move into a positive, life-enhancing one.
- Michael Longsdon is the creator of ElderFreedom.net, which advocates for the rights and support of seniors. He has made it his mission to help locate resources, events, and engagement opportunities to help enrich the lives of seniors.