For many seniors, making the decision to downsize can be a difficult one. Perhaps you have lived in your house for years, you got married in that house, started a family and raised your kids there. All of your memories are attached to that home. Despite this, you now realize that staying in your home is not reasonable, and maybe even a bit unsafe.
Advantages of Senior Downsizing
Mobility Issues - Downsizing has many advantages including helping the senior remain independent. Downsizing to a smaller home may help solve many mobility issues. We recommend downsizing to a single level home so that stairs are not an issue. Ideally, there would be no entryway steps to navigate either. An apartment or condominium building with access to an elevator is also an excellent option.
Financial Considerations - In many cases, after the kids have moved out and started families of their own, a large home is no longer required. Downsizing to a smaller home can mean big savings on everything from mortgage payments and home insurance to hydro and heating bills, cleaning expenses, yard maintenance and many more. If your home has plenty of equity, then selling may free up cash for professional home care or perhaps travel adventures.
Space Needs - As previously mentioned, larger homes mean greater expenses, but many times, after the kids have left the nest, a larger home is just simply no longer required. A large home with no one in it can seem depressing and cold. Moving to a smaller home has many advantages of its own including coziness, financial freedom, and lower maintenance costs. Caring for a smaller home is much easier for seniors who continue to do much of the work around the house.
Proximity to Family - More and more these days, people are willing to move great distances to gain employment. Downsizing and moving may give you the opportunity to get closer to family or friends.
Availability of Services - Moving closer to essential services and stores is always a good idea for seniors. This may be a great opportunity to move closer to a grocery store, hospital, or activities. If you plan to age at home, it will be less expensive to hire professional caregivers in urban areas.
Senior Downsizing Considerations
Although downsizing has many advantages, there are some other considerations that need to be factored in before you run out and sell your house.
Cost of Selling - There are many fees that go along with selling your home including legal fees, real estate agent commission, land transfer taxes, and moving company costs. These expenses need to be carefully weighed when determining if selling is the right move for you. Moving to a smaller home might not necessarily free up money for you...do the math before you sell.
Organizing the Downsizing - Are you prepared to organize the downsizing? Are you prepared to decide what to keep and what gets disposed of (or donated) when you downsize? If you are helping a senior parent downsize, keep in mind that “the best” things in the house aren’t necessarily what your parent will want to keep. Many seniors want to keep those items that are sentimental to them rather than those items that have the most value. Count on these decisions to take three times as long as you think they will. If you have difficulties deciding what to keep and what to toss, donate, or sell, a professional can help with these common downsizing headaches.
Moving and Expenses - If you have some strapping young kids or grandkids then this expense can be greatly minimized. However, if you do not, then you need to consider the extra expense of hiring a moving company. Other moving expenses might include costs of closing accounts with utilities providers and creating new ones. In many cases, you cannot simply change the address on your account. You have to close the current account and start a new one for the new home. Yes, some utilities will charge you for making the change. We suggest making a list of all your utilities that you have to change and check off when you made the change.
Proximity to Family and Friends - Maintaining relationships is very important at any age. So if you decide to downsize, make sure that there are housing options available close to your friends and family. If there aren't, then maybe this is not a good choice at this time.
Transportation requirements including location of public transit - Deciding to sell your home and move to a smaller one can create some increased transportation costs. Are you still going to be close to preferred grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, friends and family? Having to travel greater distance means an increase in fuel costs, vehicle maintenance costs, or cab fares. Think about transportation in both winter and summer. Will proximity to public transport or even your own garage be close enough to walk safely.
Simcoe Senior Services - Senior Downsizing Professionals
If you have weighed all the factors and decide that senior downsizing is for you, we can help. As we help with the downsizing process, we will also be focusing on your safety in your new home by properly organizing your new space, arranging for proper grab bars, and keeping trip hazards and breakable items out of your new home. Give us a call to find out how our downsizing specialists can help you along the way to your new, cozy home.