Downsizing. It’s something you may eventually decide to do. Perhaps your children have left the nest and are raising families of their own, and you no longer need the space. You may even decide you’d like to live closer to your grandchildren, so you can watch them grow. Or, you may have planned to downsize as part of your retirement strategy to save money, so you have more to spend on living in the moment or traveling. Whatever the reason for your downsizing decision, it represents significant changes for you.
Downsizing can certainly help you save money on living expenses. However, there are specific lifestyle changes that may be required to make it work for you. These tips will help you make better-informed decisions when you make the move to downsize your living space.
Understand the Limitations
Ensure you read the fine print before moving into a new community or condo so that you understand the limitations you may face. These may include a wide range of requirements such as:
- Pet restrictions
- Design options
- Parking restrictions
- Age restrictions for long-term guests
Some communities even have restrictions concerning lawn maintenance and the color of the front door. The key is to know what you’re getting into before you commit to buy, especially if you’re hoping to downsize your maintenance needs as well.
Visit Before Buying
It may be tempting, especially when moving to another city or state, to buy a home based solely on the photos and videos you see online. However, it’s important to visit the home, tour the property, experience the city, and explore the neighborhood before deciding to buy.
When touring the property, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will you feel safe in the home?
- Does it have stairs you’ll have to navigate as you age?
- Is it suitable for aging in place (wide hallways, accessibility features, etc.)?
- Is there room for your existing furniture?
- Can you live without the things you’ll have to give up in order to live in the smaller space?
Some questions may have hard answers, but you really need to consider them and work it out in your mind before you make your purchase. It’s especially important you tour smaller living spaces if your current home is much larger. While downsizing is a great retirement strategy, many find it challenging to adjust to much smaller living conditions.
Begin the Process of Sorting and Eliminating
For most people, downsizing your belongings is the hardest part of the process. You’re attached to most of the things you own. Unfortunately, moving to a smaller space means some of these belongings can’t go with you.
First, have a conversation with your children about treasures they’d like to pass on to their children someday and give them those items now. Knowing your beloved items are in safe hands will make it easier to part ways with them.
Next, go through all your possessions to identify items you will definitely keep as well as items you’d like to sell, give to friends and family, and donate. The sooner you begin this process, the less you’ll have to deal with (physically and emotionally) as the moving day arrives.
We’re Here to Help!
Buying a home, even when downsizing, is a big decision. It can come with significant initial costs and possibly the need for a lifestyle change, in some cases.
As your credit union, we’re here to help with financing options, managing savings, retirement planning, and much more. Please give us a call at 202-479-2270 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the many ways we can help you plan ahead and manage your downsizing needs.