Hello, I am Paul Stewart and this week I will be taking over The Stewart Sisters slot (we all work as one team) because down sizing has become my specialty of late.
Marta (my wife) and I are in this age frame. Also, in many situations we sold the sellers (who become buyers) the house they are now downsizing from. When you have been in the Metro Atlanta real estate market since 1985 that happens!
Traditionally downsizing means going from the large traditional home where you raised your children to a smaller home, often one level living. The goal is not to have to own a lawn mower anymore, not to heat and cool unused bedrooms now that the children have left home, no more external maintenance, no more pool up keep. All of these things allow you more time to travel and relax. So let’s explore “the art of downsizing”.
If you have a large, two story home on a basement where you have raised your children and had numerous pets then odds are you have accumulated a lot of stuff. Even if you aren’t in a particularly huge house it just happens. Boxes of children’s possessions, school and sports paraphernalia cramp the Christmas decorations in the attic or basement. Bedrooms though rarely used are still decorated with furniture, pictures on the walls and closets stuffed full. So the first thing to think about is getting rid of what you no longer need or use.
Once the kid’s stuff is packed, call the children and tell them to come and get it by X date or it goes in the dumpster. Or plan to deliver it to them on a stated date. This can be pretty emotional so allow yourself the time, and be prepared for the argument: “Your house is bigger than mine” and “I can’t believe you are selling my childhood home.” That second one is not nearly as emotional as we tend to give ourselves credit for. The truth is they just don’t want to warehouse their stuff anymore than you do!
You have no idea how much space you gain when you relocate 3 wedding gowns and countless bridesmaids and prom dresses or all those sports trophies to their houses!
So once you get past the emotional part and it really is time to move forward what is important? We have friends who went from 5000+ square feet to 900 SqFt. in a log cabin in the mountains. That lasted about 2 years before they added another 1500 SqFt. We get very accustomed to our creature comforts and those “creature comforts” are different for everyone. Some people will say “we just need two bedrooms now” but they forgot they each had an office/study as well. They sold 5 bedrooms and downsized. Maybe a master on the main level with less unused square feet is what is needed. Be careful not to go too small as because after a few months you may well regret being cramped .
One interesting trend has been people who rarely used a formal dining room now want at least one room where the whole (new) family of husbands, grandchildren, etc. can all have a meal. So no dining room may be traded for a table in a Florida room or large eat in kitchen.
Other people think they want to relocate to the ocean only to realize later they feel quite lonely without their friends, religious groups and well known (comfortable) surrounds. So the geography is very important. At this stage of our lives we have established doctors, dentists, pharmacies, grocery stores, bank and post office. If you move from the area will that be exciting or discouraging? How easy will it be for you to make new friends in a strange place? Often a local downsizing plan is a better option.
Although it isn’t the most wonderful thought we must accept that downsizing is usually a result of aging. So being near quality healthcare and hospitals is important. Being near to the kids or helpful relations is also important as you may need their help as time moves along.
We have a number of “over 55″ developments as well as some very nice developments that function like condos though present like single family homes without the yard work.
If you are giving this some thought and I can be of service to you I would welcome your call. As I said earlier, I have become quite specialized in this phase of real estate. You can reach me on 770-439-9999