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Rightsizing (Downsizing)

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

In my past Blogs I've discussed downsizing.  Go back and cross that word out. Downsizing.  Replace it with Rightsizing.  It sounds positive, doesn't it?  Like, right vs wrong.  Yes vs no.  Blue vs cloudy.

Rightsizing is downsizing; finding and preparing to move to a smaller, safer and more manageable home.  This could be a single-family home, a condo, apartment or a form of assisted living.

Rightsizing is about expanding options and defining purposeful directions. 

Moving from a larger home creates challenges, particularly what to take with you.  All your things won't fit and may not be needed in your new place.  We all have "stuff". Some "stuff" we haven't seen or used in decades.  The goal is not to simply toss things. The goal is to feel good about the decisions and the life you are consciously choosing for yourself. Taking control of yourself, rather than your stuff controlling you, is a huge step towards defining and loving your life, rather than merely living it.

Rightsizing:  Plans the next phase of your life.

                     Realizes your options.

                     Looks forward to future endeavors.

                     Reaches your lifetime goals and dreams.

                     Gives you a feeling of empowerment.


Sometimes Rightsizing triggers strong emotions, especially around sentimental items. Here are a few things to think about.

Gifts shouldn't be burdens.  "My daughter made me this in kindergarten."  Are you really obligated to keep everything you ever received?  Does your daughter remember what she made and gave you?  No?  All these little treasures add up.  Why not take a photo of these things and create a physical album, or digital, and keep the memories.  You can then ask your daughter if she wants what she made you all those years ago.  She's probably appreciate it.  This would probable explain when my mom Rightsized I got 3 boxes of childhood treasures in the mail.  Most I had forgot about.  Some I kept.  All of it I appreciated.

Rightsizing is not about loss.  "I don't want to loose everything else.  I've lost a lot in my life."  Rightsizing is about taking control and prioritizing what's permitted to take up space, time and resources in your life. If you've experienced loss, Rightsizing is one way to take control again.  You decide what matters most and what parts of your past to leave behind.  Life is a personal journey.  Nothing should monopolize your time and space unless it's valuable to you, emotionally and psychologically.

Free yourself.  "Why bother now?  I'm used to it.  My kids can deal with it."  Why spend any more time dealing with stuff just because you always have?  Instead of spending energy caring for possessions you hardly use or see, start considering what's on your bucket list and spend your time doing those things.  Then go find a large bucket and some boxes and start filling those with what you really don't need.  Unsure?  Pack it, seal it, date it and visit it in one year.  Still sitting there unopened?  Time to donate it.  And really, are you that upset with your children to leave them with all that stuff -and decisions- to make?

It's your choice.  "Do I have to get rid of everything?"  No!  Keep what you want.  What you are going to need.  What makes you smile.  But if it brings sad memories, heartache, loss or regret, then consider leaving it.  Surround yourself with what makes you happy. Remember, you are embarking on your next big journey in life.

Rightsizing decisions can be difficult.  "It's small, it doesn't take up much room, so what's the big deal about keeping it?"  Large or small, comments like this usually signal avoidance.  If you don't want to be bothered with the decision now, do you want to be bothered with it later?  Hopefully, you are reading this to prepare a few years ahead.  Set it aside and see how important it is a year later.  If you find out it hasn't been important, donate it.

There are some strategies to that help you have your cake and eat it too.  "I have lot's of stuff that makes me happy.  How can I possibly Rightsize?"  Then why is in a box?  Why has is not been used in 15 years?  As stated earlier, create memories by taking photos and creating an album or a journal.  Then pass the item on to someone who can use and appreciate it.  Along with the item,  considering giving the new owner verbal or written history of the item.  I remember when my grandfather passed something on to me, along with a long speech, when I was a kid.  It meant something to me then.  It means more to me now that he's gone.

Cleaning up your environment helps focus on what's more important, while eliminating unnecessary work and expenses.  "I'm planning on aging in place.  Why should I consider Rightsizing?"  If you are planning to age in place, you don't have to keep all areas of your home "active" for living.  You may want to clear unused rooms on the second level and basement and keep the main level for living.  This will eliminate the need for climbing stairs, cleaning, heating and cooling.  This also frees up space for guests, caregivers, family or friends that need assistance later on.

 

As Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES) we have the training and a network of connections to help you in every aspect of your next move.  

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

10 Ways To Help Your Parents Downsize

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

Sooner or later we have to deal with helping a parent, grandparent or other family member move.  It may be to a smaller home or an assisted living facility. 

There are many things to consider.  Care for your loved one, selling the home, legal matters, pets, all that stuff....

It's best to prepare now, for yourself and your loved ones.  Don't wait for that call telling you mom's fallen and now she requires assistance and can no longer live in her home.

 

1.  Have the talk

This involves the entire family.  Don't leave anyone out.  Involve all your siblings.  The worst you can do is make all the plans and arrangements and then inform the rest of your family.  This will only induce conflict and confusion.  Make the talk casual at first with your parents about their health and age.  What would be their best case scenario to live out their lives?  What is the worst?  What will they give up?

 

2.  Legal matters.

Consult a lawyer with your parents. It's always best to seek legal council in any real estate matter.  Find out how your title is held, how a sale effects your estate, heirs, taxes and finances.

 

3.  Financial matters.

Consult your financial planner.  There are many variables to consider when downsizing.  Are you buying a smaller home?  Moving in to assisted living?  How are you going to pay for it?  There are many ways to do afford a new home.  They can be Veteran benefits, a life insurance policy, a long-term care insurance policy, Reverse Mortgage, using annuities, renting your current home, using Medicaid or Social Security Income, a Bridge Loan or your family members. Some of these options may work and others you may not qualify for.  There may be penalties or other factors to consider doing one of these.  So, again, consult your financial planner.

 

4.  Choose an SRES

A Seniors Real Estate Specialist, like myself, has been trained and has earned the credentials in dealing with seniors.  We have patience and know we need to spend the time with you and your family to assist you in the next stage of your life.  An SRES also has multiple contacts to assist seniors, from movers and packers, financial planners, Reverse Mortgage specialists, lawyers, contractors, specialists to help you plan your move and contacts with many types of senior communities and living.  Think of us as one shopping.

 

5. Gather information

What updates have been made to the home, who did them and permits if applicable.  Collect all the dates on major appliances and warranty information.  When was the furnace, roof and HVAC serviced?  Collect all this information, write it down and have the file handy for your realtor.  This information will help provide an estimate to the homes value, give an idea on what needs to be done for service and repairs, and will be a helpful tool for inspectors and appraisers. 

 

6.  Choose the right place to live.

Not every senior wants to move to a retirement community.  Not everyone needs to go to some type of assisted living.  Finances play a huge role in what they can afford and where.  A condo or townhouse may be an option where HOA dues pay for yard and building maintenance.  Or a single-level home with a small yard may afford more privacy and independence. 

Help them choose a safe place to live, both inside and out.   Can modifications be made to the home like wider doors, lower counter heights, bathroom improvements, ramps or stair lifts?  Also, consider location to shopping areas, doctors, public transportation, retailers and family.

 

7.  Have a timeline.

Selling a home has a lot of considerations, especially if your parents still live there.  Preparing a home for sale means organizing, staging and cleaning inside and out.  This is where a professional stagger is helpful.  Your realtor will set up dates to list, photographs, placing signs, and showing times.  Have them work with you to achieve your goals.  A good realtor won't rush you unless there is a good reason for both parties to make a timeline.  And finally, when are you going to your new home?  Or are you still looking?  And are you prepared to move sooner if your house sells very quickly? 

 

8. Make decisions.

If your parents are unable to make their own decisions then it is up to you to help them find the perfect home.  Don't rush or force them into something you think is ideal.  Remember, it's where they will live, not you.  Definitely express your concerns for safety, convenience and finances.

 

9.  Choose the right stuff.

Your parents stuff is not junk.  It's their treasures and memories.  Help them decide what to take, what will fit in their new home and what will be given to family, friends, sold, donated and tossed.  If you can start this process early, great.  If they are not sure about something, put it in a box, date it and store it for them.  After a year, re-visit it with them and see if they still find it of interest.

 

10.  Stick to the norm.

Although moving interrupts life, make sure they are following their normal routine as much as possible.  Whether that is walking, exercising, hobbies, attending functions and clubs... continue to do it.  And make sure that wherever they move to, they can continue doing it as much as possible.

 

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

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