Three Steps to Retirement & “Right Sizing”

Like some of my clients, I am over 55. When you get to be this age, you start thinking about eating more fiber  botox  prostate health moving to your next place. Maybe you don’t need as much space since the kids have moved out, or maybe you want a similar square footage but with it allocated differently. I don’t call it downsizing, I call it “right sizing”. Folks my age are looking for usable homes that make sense for their next chapter, and they’re looking for locations and spaces based on things like weather, hobbies, ease of use, and proximity to grandchildren if they’ve got ‘em.

The desire is apparent, but how do you get from here to there? Here are three general steps to make it happen from a real estate perspective: The plan. The Prep. The Next Place.

The Plan

Particularly in today’s market, there is the worry about selling your current home and not being able to find your next place and being homeless. Let’s face it, couch surfing isn’t a good look for the 50+ set… plus, my back couldn’t take it anymore. There are several strategies that can take the worry out of this step:

  1. You can sell your current house, and rent it back from the new owners for a period of time while you find your new place.
  2. You can accept an offer with a settlement date months away that is contingent on you acquiring your next place. If you can’t find a new place, then you don’t have to sell.
  3. Conversely, you can put an offer on your new place that is contingent on you selling your current place.
  4. Or, you can buy your new place. Move there. And then sell your current home when it’s vacant. This is the least stressful approach as far as logistics but is dependent on the financing piece. You’ll need to be able to qualify to purchase your new place without the proceeds from your current place. A good lender can explain strategies that involve bridging that gap by borrowing against the equity of your current place (or a retirement account) and then paying yourself back after the sale.

The Prep

Once you’ve settled on your selling plan, then the prepping begins. Even for the least pack-rat-ish among us, this is the hardest part. It’s nice to have a year or so to go through everything you own and de-clutter and deep clean, but I’ve had clients do it in a week or two.(these are probably the people who could pull all-nighters before finals back when they were in school.) This step is worth every bit of your sweat equity for two reasons:

  1. It makes the move and un-packing at the new place easier and – maybe – cheaper,, and
  2. Homes that show well (de-cluttered, de-personalized to some extent, and super clean) garner higher offers with better terms. It’s a fact

The Next Place

It’s never too soon to start searching out areas and neighborhoods for your next place. If it’s not local, test drive locations by planning a few trips there and wandering around. The more you know, the better a consumer you will be. If you’re moving out of town, ask your local realtor (the one who is selling your current place) for a recommendation for a realtor in the new area. I know I do extensive research to make sure my client is well-represented on the other end, too.  As with selling, it’s important that you work with a knowledgable, smart, strategic real estate agent — it can literally save you thousands of dollars on each transaction.

That’s it! Go forth and “right size”! And if you have any questions or concerns, I’m always happy to talk about this subject, because I’m getting ready to turn the page to that next chapter, too!

[Photos: These are real views taken from their new places for some of my “right sizing” clients who recently moved from Northern VA.]

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