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The Easy Path to Downsizing for Retirement

The Easy Path to Downsizing for Retirement

You no longer need the space to raise kids, but the tidy profit after buying a less expensive home would come in handy. As a result, downsizing means there’s less cleaning and maintenance to worry about with a smaller space, and it would certainly be nice to relocate to greener pastures.

There are even more ways you would benefit from downsizing, but the process is rather difficult as you’re offloading the biggest investment of your life and settling up someplace new, which can be stressful. If you take it step by step, though, you’ll be living it up in soon enough with a minimum of hassle. Here’s what to do.

Start Early

According to Realtor.com, real estate experts say buying a new home takes at least four months, with much of that time taken up by visiting the properties you’re interested in. Having the home inspected only adds to the already lengthy process, but there’s no way around it, so plan accordingly.

Set a Budget

That’s largely a calculation that involves the value of your current home and how much you want left for your retirement savings and investments after buying a new one. To give you a general idea of what you’ll get, homes in Ladera Ranch, California, sold for $646,000 on average the last month. An appraisal, though, would provide a much more accurate estimate.

Know Your Options

There are some home-buying options specifically for aging adults that could help you downsize with even more financial security. For example, you have a larger, higher-priced home to sell, you may be able to purchase a new home mortgage free. Seniors who sell their homes, use the net proceeds for their new home purchase, and then use a reverse mortgage can eliminate monthly payments all together in some cases.

In California, Propositions 60 and 90 allow homeowners ages 55 and older to transfer their property tax base assessment from their original property to a new one of equal or lesser value. This can be done within the same county or between different, participating counties. Consult a real estate professional to discuss all your options before making a decision.

Choose the Destination

Climate remains a major concern when choosing a place to retire, with Florida and Arizona remaining popular. However, a low cost of living is also important, says a writer with the Balance, along with proximity to human services. The latter is why experts recommend avoiding towns with a population lower than 10,000 as you may not find the medical attention you need.

Find the Right Home

Once you’ve got your heart set on a certain area, it’s time to look for property that fits your budget and has the right amount of space to live comfortably. The Internet has made this much easier as you’ll get a general idea of prices with a simple search online, and maybe even find exactly what you’re looking for. Be sure it’s close to amenities and green spaces.

Purge Old Belongings

Now you’re getting closer to the big move, but there’s one problem: You won’t be able to fit everything you own into the new and smaller home. This calls for a massive decluttering, and there are a variety of methods to choose from. You may have to set aside whole days to get the job done, and a few more for a garage sale to make a bit of cash selling off the unwanted items.

Organize Your Packing

Organize your packing or else you could risk breaking fragile items and getting bogged down sorting through chaos upon arrival. Give yourself plenty of time and boxes, with heavier items like books going in the smaller ones, then label all of them according to which room of the new home they’re destined for. Don’t forget to wrap glass, porcelain and ceramics in paper to keep them from getting shattered.

Make a Few Upgrades

You’ll likely be spending a long time here, so safety is a worthwhile investment. Slip-resistant flooring in the bathroom would seriously reduce your risk of injury due to falling, while seated work areas in the kitchen make preparing lunch and dinner easier and more comfortable, especially if you develop back problems later on down the line.

Learn About Your Locale

This is the fun part. Your goal? To find the bank, supermarket and pharmacy as well as places to hang out. You’ll need a new restaurant for dinner on Friday night and perhaps a local bar to take a load off at happy hour. If it’s a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, a walking tour would burn off some calories, as would a bike ride.

By this time, you should be enjoying a new life in your little piece of paradise, as well as the benefits of downsizing, so kick back and relax. After all, you’ve got the time.

Michael Longsdon - Website Contributor

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