Senior Spotlight: Custom Considerations For Downsizing


While every move type is unique, even the same types of moves can have processes that look very different! While a cross-country relocation obviously looks very different from a local  move, did you know that there are some not-so-obvious aspects of every downsizing journey too? In this week’s all-new Senior Spotlight, the Bobbi Decker Real Estate Team is excited to share 6 considerations for customizing your downsizing journey.

#1: Is the downsizing of this home likely to be the last move you ever make?

Many adults consider downsizing around the age of 55-60. What your life looks like at 55 may be very different than age 75 or 95. The age you are downsizing at and how many subsequent moves there may be are very critical factors in what you choose to keep, clean out and how to go about it. In general, each additional move tends to get more challenging, so outlining your goals with the first move and doing as much as possible is often preferable.

#2: How far will your next residence be?

Downsizing to a condo in your same town is much different than moving to an assisted living facility near your kids… but across the country. It may be cheaper to buy new furniture in your new location instead of paying for long-distance movers (they often charge by weight – ouch!). In addition, a change in climates is likely to influence the clothing and gear types you will need, another important consideration for what to keep vs. donate or sell.

#3: Do you have realistic expectations of what items you can sell?  

This is the million-dollar question and something that a professional senior move manager can really help you with (we can make some great introductions!). While every move has some costs and it would be ideal to offset them with the sale of goods, it is not always as easy as it seems. What items you can sell is entirely market driven – and there is rarely a market for older wood furniture, everyday clothing items and household goods. US News & World Report recently advised donating clothing (unless you have exceptionally rare, vintage items) and saving the receipt for tax purposes.

Other items such as collectibles, electronics and designer goods may have some market value, but often require the assistance of an estate or move management professional  or the use of an online platform to access your buyer audience.
#4: Do you know the criteria of local donation stations?

We often hear of homeowners who are amazed at what cannot even be given away for free and we get it! It can be frustrating to find a place that will take an old mattress off your hands, and surprising how much a junk hauling service costs! We highly recommend reading ‘Why Getting Rid Of Junk Isn’t Free’ from our friends at T-O-P Move Management for some worthwhile insights and potential alternatives.

#5: How can you keep the downsizing process moving along amidst the uncertainties of what to donate/sell where?
There will no doubt be many questions along the way, but one often-recommended step to keep up the momentum is to work with five basic categories: Sell, Donate, Give To Family, Throw Away and Keep. Many professionals advice against a ‘maybe’ pile, however, my feeling is that if making a decision about an item is stressful – gift yourself some time to think about it with a decision deadline (such as 10-14 days).
#6: Do you have a moving timeline that accounts for all aspects of your move?

Just because my roots are in real estate does not mean that my advice is to list now and figure the rest out later. While every move represents a huge life milestone, downsizing is an especially unique journey that deserves the utmost care and attention. By starting with the end in mind and determining where you want to be, we can work backwards to identify your next, most suitable residence and then outline a plan that gets you there. What type of deposit/down payment is required, any applicable wait lists, the size of the next home and community, what amenities are offered and dozens of other factors are likely to impact how much time you have to prepare your current home for sale, if there is any overlap between the two residences and what support you may need to accomplish your goals.

Are you ready to hear about the very best part of downsizing?! You do not have to do it alone! As a Senior Real Estate Specialist®, my experience, my commitment and my network of trusted professionals is centered around anticipating and meeting the needs of this quintessential point in time. After all, this is so much more than the closure of one chapter, it is the fresh and inspiring start of another.

All my best,
Resource Used:
Tips for Downsizing Your Home as a Senior
Bobbi Decker, SRES®, CIPS®
Broker Associate, Today Sotheby’s International Realty
Bobbi Decker & Associates
DRE 00607999
p. 650.346.5352
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