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Downsizing For Seniors: What To Do With Your Home

When most seniors decide to downsize, they face many challenges both physically and emotionally. Letting go of possessions and the place you’ve called home for years can be very stressful, especially if you are processing all this in the wake of a major life change, like retirement or losing a loved one. While letting go of your family home and certain possessions can be a challenge, it can also become incredibly freeing; it just takes a little time to get there. Fortunately, the following tips from HomeGirls Property Solutions can help you get through the downsizing process more easily.

Why Downsize?

Many seniors are drawn to the idea of downsizing because a smaller home means saving money on the cost of utilities. Selling or renting your home can also help you pay for medical costs, living expenses, and/or caregivers who are needed for independent living. Perhaps your current home does not have the accessibility modifications to keep you safe and secure, or you simply hope to retire to a more exciting or vacation-like destination. In either case, downsizing can help.

Options for Your Current Home

Now that downsizing is on your list, you’ll want to spend a considerable amount of time deciding what to do with your current home. Take the time to look at the average cost of homes like yours in your area. This will help you decide if you want to rent your home, sell it or leave it in the care of a family member.

  • Rent Your Home: For many seniors, renting their home can create a monthly financial safety net that adds a significant cash cushion, especially for those living on a fixed income. Plus, renting gives you the option to sell later, when the housing market is leaning more in the sellers’ favor. However, Interest advises being sure you understand your legal responsibilities as a landlord, and have enough money set aside to take care of repairs (a plumbing service can cost an average of $250 to $500, for example) and keep things afloat between tenants.
  • Sell Your Home: Selling your home can give you a nice lump sum of cash, which you can use to offset the cost of a new home, travelling or medical expenses. Many seniors put that cash toward paying advance rent in an independent living center or a downpayment on a home in a retirement community. Plus, you can stockpile extra profits by selling the furniture and possessions that won’t be accompanying you to your new home. Just remember that when you’re selling your home, it’s critical that you connect with a skilled and dedicated real estate professional in the area.
  • Leave Your Home With Family: Letting a loved one move into your home after you downsize can help manage a lot of anxiety about leaving a home. This can be a helpful way to offer a loved one access to their inheritance. It can also be a great way to maintain your home as an investment property, which can provide additional financial resources in retirement. You can have peace of mind knowing your family member is managing the care and upkeep of your family home.

Weigh All Costs Carefully

All of these options come with pros and cons, so it is important you do your research first to know where you are going next and what kind of budget you’ll need. Remember to factor in your moving costs as well. You should request quotes from multiple movers, and make sure you read through customer reviews before you settle on one. With the right research, you can have a clear understanding of your finances, all the way around.

For many seniors, downsizing isn’t just about a physical place; The Huffington Post notes that it’s an emotional, physical or mental process that asks us to be thoughtful and brave. Many seniors feel overwhelmed and confused about where to begin and where to go. What to do with your home is a decision you can make on your own or with your loved ones—those who have helped you make all those cherished memories.

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