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How to Tackle Your Retirement Downsize in 3 Steps

Downsizing to a smaller home for retirement sounds like a great idea — until you think of all the work involved. It’s true that packing up a longtime home and relocating somewhere new is no walk in the park for seniors, but it’s still a smart move. A downsized home promises lower bills, less upkeep, and a simpler lifestyle for the retirement years. If you want to downsize your home, use these tips to sell your house and get ready for the big move into a smaller home.

Decide Your Sales Strategy
Not every downsizing experience is the same. Some retirees downsize for a more laid-back lifestyle in retirement, while other seniors have to downsize suddenly when faced with a move to assisted living. The reason behind your downsize has a big impact on your approach.

Seniors who need to downsize quickly often opt for an as-is sale or sell a home to investors. While this results in a lower price, it lets seniors liquidate their assets quickly and doesn’t require any sweat equity.

On the other hand, you have retirees who want to downsize but aren’t in any rush. For these seniors, getting the best price for their home is the top priority. Seniors who want to maximize their equity can sell their house by owner to walk away with more money in their pockets. However, it’s important to realize that selling a house by owner is more work, not less. Sellers are responsible for setting a fair market value for their home, marketing their property, and liaising with interested buyers.

If you’d rather have a real estate agent guide you through the process, understand what you’ll pay for it. Most buyers pay 5-6 percent in real estate commissions — that could be up to $15,000 on a $250,000 home.

Get Your Home Ready to Sell
No matter how you sell your home, you’ll sell it faster and get more if you spend time getting it ready to list. At the bare minimum, a home should be decluttered, depersonalized, and deep-cleaned before going on the market.

Decluttering can be especially challenging for seniors. Whether downsizing by choice or by necessity, it’s hard to say goodbye to items you’ve cherished for decades. Seniors who need to buy themselves more time can rent a self-storage unit, but avoid stowing too much away in self-storage. The longer you put off deciding what to keep, sell, or donate, the harder it becomes.

Sellers who want to maximize resale value should put a little sweat equity into their homes through minor repairs, repainting, and improving curb appeal. Simple updates like these can be done for less than $5,000 while adding significant value to a home.

Simplify Your Move
Once the home is sold, your downsized life is on the horizon. But before you can enjoy life in a simpler home, you need to get your stuff from Point A to Point B

Moving as a senior requires certain precautions. From heavy lifting to long drives, moving day puts a lot of stress on older adults. Minimize how much you take on by hiring a moving company. On average, hiring movers costs $1,149. However seniors benefit from paying a bit more ($2,300 and up) for a full-service move that includes packing and furniture disassembly and assembly. With these jobs off their plate, seniors can focus on the logistics rather than the labor of moving.

Seniors from all walks of life are downsizing their homes, and you should too! Stop debating whether downsizing is the right move for you, and start decluttering and updating your home so you’re ready to relocate when the time comes. While the journey to a smaller home can be a difficult one, the destination makes all your hard work worth it.

Image via Unsplash

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