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10 Rightsizing Tips

by Denise Townsend Group

1)  Start with the easy stuff. If it's broke, damaged or no longer wanted - get rid of it. Then continue on to out- of-the-way places like attics, basements and crawl spaces.


2)  If it disappeared tomorrow would I go out and replace it?  If the answer is "no" then it should go.


3)  You are not a storage unit.  If you've been keeping things for family and friends, then ask them to pick it up.  Set a timeline and be firm.


4)  Ask for help.  Family members are good for this.  You may have some of their stuff or want to pass on some things to them.


5)  Decide what is really important.  Pretend you are moving to another country and the cost of shipping is high.  Make a list of what matters most.


6)  Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want?  Thirty years ago you water skied every day and now you live 200 miles from a lake.


7)  Schedule time.  Once a week or twice for a few hours.  Remember, it took a lifetime to achieve everything so don't expect to decide what to keep or finish in a day.


8)  Value what you keep.  The fewer things you keep the more you will treasure them.


9)  Prevent new collections.  Do your parents have everything?  Instead of gifts that become "treasures" to be cleaned up give time, help or food.  Last Christmas I gave everyone treats from the NW that they can't get back home.


10) Use age to your advantage.  Now is a great time to "gift" items you eventually want to give family members.



Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006


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


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


55+: Why Sell? Why Stay? How to Prepare. Part 3 of 3

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

Part 3, How to Prepare

There is no doubt about it, moving is a lot of work.  Selling your home, buying a new one, working with agents, buyers and sellers, getting both homes ready, changes of addresses, and packing - just to name a few - is time consuming.

It's also something that shouldn't be done alone.  Seniors need to share their plans with their family and get them involved.  This reduces the stress and questions over aging, health, health care, safety, distance, finance and inheritance. 

This blog, and the 2 parts previous, need to read and planned with everyone in the family.


It's you that's moving...


Start thinking and planning on the years ahead

Start now!  (Even if you are not close to retirement).  Where do you want to be?  How do you want to spend your time.  What size home do you want?  Will children and grandchildren be visiting? 

Prepare emotionally

It's hard to move and leave those memories behind.  I've personally experienced this with my grandfathers home.  After most things were moved out, I was walking through it and had almost 50 years of memories flashback.  Again, it's hard to let go.  But, eventually we must.  Start focusing on your new life and make it a positive experience.

What's your income level going to be?

The best thing to do is meet with your financial planner and decide what you can afford to do during your retirement.

How long will you work?

As posted in Part 2, people are working in to their later years.  This will definitely make a difference in what you do and how you do it. 

What is my home worth?

Hopefully you do not have to move when the market is down.  Although their is no crystal ball to foresee this (I wish), talk to an agent for a free market analysis.  Here is our link.  No mater what the market is, it doesn't hurt to find out.  We'll let you know if the time is right for you.

Here's to your health

As posted in Part 1, health can play a huge role in what you do.  It's the difference between a home, assisted living or a care facility.  If you are going to buy your own home consider it's size, number of levels and access.  While shopping for a new home keep these things things in mind. Remodeling before moving in is a great time to adjust for possible aging and health concerns.

Are my children financially fit?

Because of the recent economy, a lot of children are moving back home or may be there now.  This can put  a halt to your retirement needs, temporarily or permanently.  If there is a possibility of your children and their families moving back, and you intend to help them if that were to happen, have a contingency plan for your retirement dreams. Remember, Family Feud is a game show, not something you want to experience in real life.

Keep your home up to date

What seems to have been great over the last 40 years to you probably will not be great to someone in todays market.  Outdated homes generally sell for less.  So do homes that have not been maintained.  Don't put things off because you are moving.  Buyers will ask for repairs.  Some lenders will too in ordered for the buyers loan to be accepted .  Not doing repairs may cost you the sale, and a failed sale puts up a red flag to other buyers, which makes it tough to get people interested in your home.  As far as updates, consider spending some money to make money.  Your agent can give you insight to what should and what could be done to to help your home value.

Take, give and throw away

Do you have 40 years of treasures?  20?  5?  Even if it's a few years off, start organizing and cleaning now.  Decided what to keep, what to give to family and friends, what to donate and what needs to be thrown away.  Unsure?  Put it in a box and put that days date on it.  If you haven't opened it up in a year, toss it.


Is it your parents/grandparents moving...


Express your concerns and be empathetic. 

Don't push unless it's serious or a timing issue.

Support them through all aspects of the move.

Ask questions they may not ask, or may be afraid to ask, about the process, details, etc.

And most importantly, think of them, not you.


As an SRES, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I have the training to meet your needs.  Our Team, including my wife Denise who has been a realtor for 24 years, are here to help.  We live by our motto: "Results with a Caring Touch".

Other experts to consult during the process are your mortgage office, accountant, financial planner and lawyer.  Don't have one of these?  Call us.  We have a large referral network.

Take care!



Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006




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