Tips to Make the Most of Downsizing as a Senior
Steer Clear of These Senior Downsizing Don'ts to Ensure a Positive Experience
By: Harry Cline
If you’re approaching retirement or are already in it, chances are you’ve considered downsizing—or at least have heard about it. Downsizing is when you sell your current home so that you can buy a smaller, more practical home for your golden years. When done correctly, this makes sense for many seniors because it means simplification of life, lower living expenses, and fewer maintenance responsibilities, among other factors.
However, downsizing can be an emotional and laborious process, and overlooking certain steps can make your experience even more difficult. If you’re thinking of downsizing, try to refrain from making these common mistakes:
Assuming You Can’t Get a Loan
Many seniors who have a poor credit score assume that they would not be able to get a home loan if they want to sell their home and buy a new one. This assumption can significantly influence the decisions you make for retirement, and as Turnkey Home Loan explains, it’s important to know that there are other options out there.
For instance, FHA loans can provide you with a mortgage if you meet certain criteria. Also, you could look into acquiring down payment assistance through a HUD grant or a local government program. Additional options to explore include USDA rural development loans, VA loans (for veterans), and home improvement loans (for purchasing a fixer-upper). There are even commercial lending institutions that will help those with poor credit to obtain a mortgage. Look into the available options to see if any of them meet your needs.
Assuming You Have to Buy a Home
For some retirees, purchasing a smaller home turns out to be a mistake. If you need additional assistance with everyday activities, it may be better to join an assisted living facility. That way, you can enjoy your independence while getting the help and care you need.
Assisted living facilities vary in cost, as well as the amenities and services they provide. It’s important to visit several different facilities so that you can pick one that will help you flourish in your golden years. While cost shouldn’t be the only consideration, it can’t be ignored. While you’re looking at facilities, keep in mind that assisted living in Charlotte averages about $5,500 a month ($66,0000 a year).
Clinging to Too Many Items
Much of the emotional stress of downsizing comes with some of the belongings you have to give up. Naturally, you can’t take everything with you to your new home. So, you will inevitably have to make decisions when going through treasures, mementos, photos, and other sentimental items. With that in mind, Budget Dumpster recommends making a list of the items you absolutely cannot live without, and arrange to donate, sell, trash, or give the other items to family members or friends.
Ignoring Your Preferences
One of the primary advantages of downsizing is that it simplifies your life. However, you don’t want your new home to deprive you of every activity you enjoy. For instance, if you like to draw or paint, make sure your new home provides studio space for you to continue your artistic endeavors. If you thrive off of having people over for dinner, make sure your new home has enough room to comfortably host a group of people. Want to dabble in DIY? Set up a workshop that fits the bill. Whatever sparks your interest, make sure it’s doable wherever you end up.
Don’t make downsizing any harder than it already is. Look at all your options for getting a home loan, and consider whether assisted living is the best decision for you. Also, don’t hold onto too many belongings when you’re downsizing, and keep in mind the activities you enjoy when you’re choosing a new home. Following this advice can help your downsizing experience go much more smoothly.
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