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6 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Downsizing Disasters

By: Shirley Martin –

Moving to a smaller home during retirement? Downsizing is a common move that can improve quality of life for many seniors. With a smaller home comes less worry and stress, so you don’t want to worry too much about the steps needed to complete this process smoothly. Which is why you should use the following tips to prevent common mistakes from happening.


Look into Local Housing Prices 

Cost is usually a factor for seniors thinking about downsizing, with most believing that a smaller home automatically equals a lower price. That’s not always true, however, so you should look into the local housing market to see what home prices are really like. Homes in Santa Cruz have been selling for $952,000 on average, but you need to stay updated on current trends to save the most on your new home purchase and avoid paying way too much.


Estimate Total New Home Costs 

Researching local home prices will give you a baseline for creating your new home budget, but your mortgage isn’t the only expense to consider. If you want to avoid being completely shocked by hidden home expenses, you have to fully anticipate them before you even think about making an offer. So when calculating how much home you can afford, be sure to calculate things like insurance, closing costs and utility bills into your grand total. For example, electric bills cost the most—an average of $183 per month nationally, to be exact!


Consider Needs for Assistance 

Another potential retirement expense that could throw your downsizing move off is the need for long-term care. While you may not need long-term care just yet, you may need some form of assistance in the future, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard by care costs. Homemaker services and home health aides can run from around $48K to $50K each year, so you need to make sure that covering those costs will not make your new home less affordable.


Downsize Items in Current Home 

Two major benefits to moving into a smaller home during retirement is having less to take care of and less stress in your life. So if downsizing is the right move for your retirement plans, you don’t want a bunch of clutter following you to the new home. Clutter causes stress, among other health issues, so avoid trying to fit all of your current belongings into a smaller home. Instead, sort through and declutter each room, so you will have less to pack, less to weigh your move down, and less clutter to cause life-threatening falls as you settle into your new house.


Spend Time in Potential Cities 

Sometimes, moving to a smaller home can also mean moving to a new city. While there are plenty of cities that are perfect for retirees, you can’t get a sense of which ones are a good fit for you without spending some time in them. So before you begin your home search, think about planning a vacation, so you can check out potential retirement locations. You can even look for short-term rentals in desired neighborhoods, so you can live like a local and get a better sense of whether that area will make you happy during your golden years.


Properly Plan for Moving Steps 

Finding the right home when you are downsizing involves enough details, so you don’t want to have to worry about the details of your move. Instead of relying on just your memory to manage a move, think about using a moving guide to plan each moving task for each step of the way. You will want to begin at least 8 weeks out, if not sooner, so you can properly research potential moving companies and also begin looking for new resources, like doctors and banks, in and around your new location. Around this time, also think about steps to update your information with current doctors and banks, as well as changing your address.

By downsizing your home, you can free up so much of your time, money and worry during retirement. You just need to take the right measures to keep your downsizing move free from pitfalls, so you can fully reap all of the benefits this big move has to offer.

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