by Drew Gelatt
Our passion as The Move Up Columbus Team can be summed up in this mission statement:
"Moving up" has always meant your house gets bigger...We think it means your life gets BETTER.
Let us help you MOVE UP.....to your BETTER life."
As someone contemplating a down-size move, you obviously are NOT looking for a BIGGER house. Rather, it's all about finding your BETTER life. I've created this page on my website to give you useful information on how to DOWNSIZE 2 MOVE UP. I hope you'll find it as easy as A-B-C.
A. Arriving at a Decision
B. Beware of the Downside
C. Choosing the Right Connections
Arriving at a Decision
Some decisions in life are easily and quickly made. Not so with downsizing. Most people have to bump up against the idea for a while before pulling the trigger. Here is an example of a very normal decision-making process. It's personal, because it's the story of my mom and dad.
My folks have a ranch home in Northern Indiana. It sits on a ravine that backs up to a State Park. Their dream home. They can sit in the great room and look out over their back yard bird-feeder that is frequented by Cardinals. They also sight deer and an occasional coyote or raccoon. I can't tell you how much they enjoy their window into nature. But life is changing for them. Now, their experience includes...
- A lower level that they don't use.
- A lawn that is difficult to mow.
- The reality that they can't climb the ladder to fill the birdfeeder, or put out corn for the deer.
In short, their dream home is becoming their nightmare reality. And so they bump up against reality again...they need to downsize.
HOWEVER.....it's still a pretty place. Deer walk by...they know the neighbors...they feel safe. So, last year they decided to stay.
And since they decided to stay...well...they pay. They pay to have the house cleaned. They pay to have the grass cut. They pay for all of the little things they used to be able to do themselves...and it adds up fast. And so they bump up against it again.
To describe the process in a more positive way, I would say that mom and dad have known for some time that a day would come when they would need to downsize. They have been weighing the pros and cons and elongating the enjoyment of their current home as long as possible. But the time will come. They are sure of that. So all of the bumping up against reality was really part of the journey. Now they know what they have to do, and they are well on their way to MOVING UP...to their better life.
The following articles may give you more assistance in considering your downsizing decision.
1.) This article from the Columbus Dispatch gives readers a summary of housing options.
2.) This Time.com article addresses the potential for greater financial stability through downsizing.
Beware of the Downside
There is an upside and downside to everything. When considering a downsize, most people can visualize the ultimate destination as something desirable. But the road you have to travel to arrive at that destination can be daunting. It reminds me of making several family road trips to Disneyland from Tucson, Arizona, when the kids were little. As a family, we found if you want to get to Disneyland, you have to go through the desert. So it is with your journey to a downsized life.
As you anticipate your downsize, here are some common pitfalls to avoid.
Pitfall # 1 - Failing to Plan
Much of the angst that you may feel about downsizing would likely dissipate once you have come up with a plan of action. Ideally, such a plan should come together with the input of anyone making the actual move, interested family members, and someone who has experienced a similar transition successfully. In a minority of situations, a complex estate might necessitate the assistance of a legal consultant. Previously, I mentioned my mom and dad's downsizing journey. I can tell you that since they made a firm decision to downsize, put together their plan, their sense of peace and enjoyment of the process is much greater. They are enjoying the desert on the way to Disneyland.
Pitfall #2 - Over and Under Estimating
Here is what can happen if you're not careful....
The time it will take to execute a move is under-estimated. The sales price of an existing home is over-estimated. The cost of getting into a new home is under-estimated. Therefore, the overall profit from selling and buying is over-estimated.
You will be able to avoid this pitfall if you estimate conservatively on all fronts. Assume you'll need more time than you think...make less on your house than you hope...and you'll have unexpected costs in purchasing and moving into a new home, etc.
Pitfall #3 - Trying to Do-It-Yourself
I've tried tackling a few DIY challenges myself, including some furniture made out of old pallets. They actually turned out great. But here is what won't turn out great...A DO-IT-YOURSELF DOWNSIZE. That won't turn out great at all. You'll need a team. Typically that team is made up of some key people we've already made mention of, including family members and friends who are committed to your well-being.
Here are links to additional articles addressing the downside of downsizing.
1.) The following article from Consumer Reports encourages seniors to consider the emotional and financial impact of downsizing.
2.) A very good Investopedia.com article that gives good advice on how to avoid some of the pitfalls by seeking professional help where needed.
Choosing the Right Connections
The purpose of this section is simply to get you thinking about the right connections with professionals who serve the the downsizing community.
I'll start by tooting my own horn. I've served downsizing adults frequently over almost 20 years as a Realtor. Here is a brief video that describes my passion to help people, including downsizers, MOVE UP...to their better life.
The remainder of this section is intended to give you an idea of the categories of professionals serving the downsizing community, along with a link to the website of one such professional.
Moving and Storage
Mortgage Specialist for HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) Loans
There are a myriad of other partners that you may need when it comes time for your downsize. A good Realtor will likely be able to offer some recommendations to you. Some of the other professional services you may need might include legal advice, painting, carpeting, landscaping, handyman help, mold remediation, radon mitigation, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, and the like.
If you've read to this point, you must have a keen interest in downsizing. I would love to meet with you in your home for a "listening appointment", not a listing appointment. This would be your opportunity to outline the details of your downsizing plan, and ask for input on the real estate issues involved.