Moving is always a stressful process. Downsizing in particular is difficult, as there are additional factors one must take into account. Though downsizing may seem a bit daunting at first, there are many advantages to what is considered the future of home ownership. And while there are issues that arise that are unique to downsizing, they are certainly possible to avoid if you plan ahead. Here are some common downsizing mistakes to be aware of.
Waiting Too Long
One mistake that homeowners often make is waiting too long to make a decision about downsizing. Choosing to leave your home is a hard decision; you have a strong emotional bond with your old home because of the many memories you created there. Yet, you must consider that delaying downsizing makes the process harder. As you get older, moving becomes more difficult because you may lack the energy to physically move your belongings, so make sure you downsize when you are realistically able to.
Not Planning Ahead
Another common downsizing mistake is not planning ahead. Downsizing takes a considerable amount of planning and energy, so it’s wise to choose the downsize carefully and in advance if you want to avoid unnecessary obstacles and stress. As soon as you make the decision to downsize, think about your needs such as how small you want the new home to be. This will be based on any unused space in your current home, which will help you decide the ideal size of the next home. You’ll also want to consider which type of neighborhood will be best for you, such as downtown, a retirement community, or your current neighborhood.
When planning ahead, you’ll also need to decide on a home loan that’s right for your needs. This will require thoroughly researching the different types of loans and taking a look at your credit score, which will influence your loan qualifications. However, even if you have bad credit, chances are good that you can still get a loan. For example, if you are a veteran, the Veterans Administration offers loans that don’t require mortgage insurance or a down payment. FHA loans are also available for homebuyers with bad credit, and you can put down as little as 3.5 percent depending on your credit score. You may even be able to get assistance with the down payment from your local government or by getting a Housing and Urban Development grant.
Not Involving Your Children
Many people are embarrassed to let their children know that they’re downsizing because of financial issues. But it’s important to be transparent with your children. Consider the benefits: Children can help with the moving process, and if they’re of age and have a bond with the house, you could sell the house to your children—which is almost always easier than dealing with a realtor and a third party. If they don’t want the house or can’t afford it, you can always give them some of your cherished items to keep.
Downsizing After a Major Life Event
Another mistake people make is downsizing after a major life event. If a major shift in your life occurs or a tragic event such as a death happens, it is best to stay in a familiar environment for a few months and allow yourself the necessary time to adjust or grieve. Only downsize when you feel comfortable enough to do so.
Being Too Attached to the Past
When downsizing, many people are too attached to the past. While your belongings absolutely have value and emotional significance, there may not be enough room in your new house for all of them. When packing and deciding what to keep, make a list of what needs to stay and what can go. If it’s too difficult to decide on certain items, put them in storage so you can have more time to make a choice.
Not Seeking Expert Help
Finally, a major mistake people make when they downsize is not seeking expert help. You’ll need to figure out how much you can get for your current home, association fees, how long it will take to sell your home, and whether you should move into a smaller home or condo. Working with a professional is the only way to get the answers to these questions. Always seek the help of an agent when making life-changing decisions like downsizing. Downsizing involves some more steps than a standard move, but that doesn’t mean you have to make it harder than it needs to be. If you avoid these common downsizing mistakes, your move will be much less stressful, and you’ll have a smooth transition into your new home.