If you are considering downsizing as a senior, you definitely aren’t alone. Many older people opt to move to a smaller house, and as a result, compact home sales are rising, especially among Baby Boomers. This allows you to save time, energy, and money when it comes to maintaining a property. Before you leave your current house behind, you must decide what you want to do with it: sell it, rent it out or keep it in the family. Each one of these choices has different repercussions financially, practically and emotionally.
Analyze the Financial Aspects
When transitioning to a smaller house, you want to make sure you have enough money for the down payment you will need for the new property. Anticipate paying anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the full sale price in order to secure your loan. If you are planning to sell your current home, the money you make should be able to cover this fee.
Before listing the property, get a home inspection. This will reveal potential problems that would detract from the property’s value, such as a crack in the foundation. Informed Inspection offers services throughout Gainesville and the surrounding counties: No upfront money is required, and seniors 62 and up even enjoy a 15 percent discount.
If you’re not interested in selling your old home, you can rent it out. This gives you a steady monthly income that can help keep you afloat financially as you age. Given the fact that money troubles are one of the biggest concerns among seniors, this is undoubtedly a boon.
Alternatively, you may decide to keep the property in the family. If you go this route, make sure you have enough money for downsizing first: Assess your income, how much you already have saved for your down payment, and your monthly spending, and make sure you know precisely what you can comfortably afford.
Consider Your Practical Needs
As you prepare to downsize, you need to consider not only financial but also practical elements; in particular, when it comes to choosing your new home. Keep design in mind when hunting for properties. A one-story model that nixes the need to climb stairs is ideal, for instance, as such activity becomes more strenuous with age.
The National Association of Home Builders offers this guide on aging-in-place renovations, including what to look for in senior-friendly homes. Hallways that are at least 36 inches wide can accommodate wheelchairs, for example, while bathrooms are safer with grab bars and non-slip mats. If you find a home that already has these characteristics, you can avoid the cost of making improvements later.
Location is another practical factor to consider. Do you want to stay in your current neighborhood where you already have local connections to neighbors and friends? Perhaps you would prefer to move closer to your children, allowing you to have easier access to your grandkids. Or, maybe you currently live in the city and would prefer the country life.
Take Your Emotions into Account
Don’t ignore your feelings when deciding what to do with your old house. For some people, selling an old home is simply too difficult emotionally; they may opt to keep it in the family. For others, the priority is moving closer to family and friends. This allows you to benefit from opportunities for social interaction, which promotes mental health for seniors.
Take all the above factors into consideration when deciding what to do with your real estate when downsizing. While moving can be tough, focus on the benefits, such as the fact that you’ll save money on utilities in a smaller space. When you embrace the change, you will feel less pressure as you navigate the path to downsizing.