Research shows that there will be close to 100 million North Americans who will need to downsize their homes over the next 20 years because of age and health. This means there may be as many as 25 million people downsizing in the next five years! If your age is between 62 and 67 years you may be one of those who will be downsizing in 5 years.
Downsizing is a much more complicated process than when homeowners upsized. There are generations of items in many homeowners’ garages, attics, basements and storage sheds which have to be sorted and redistributed to family members, donated or just thrown out. Waiting until the home is for sale is not the best way to be prepared for a home downsize. Here are three conversations to have today, if you are planning to downsize in the next five years.
- Does anyone in the family want this stuff?
Most downsizing homeowners believe their children and other family members want the things they have been keeping for years. Old year books, family games/toys and sports trophies are not things most adult children care about anymore. Additionally, these family members likely do not want their grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ china or antique furniture. Downsizing homeowners need to ask their family members early in the downsizing process so they can determine what to get rid of. One suggestion would be to say, “If you want it, come and get it. If not, it’s being tossed”.
- What size place am I moving into?
Knowing the square footage of the downsized home is important, as is how it’s laid out. Also, what type of home is it? If your home is furnished in your regional style and you’re moving to a different part of the country the style of furnishings may not work. How large are the rooms and is my furniture the right scale? These are conversations to have as you start the downsizing process. There is no sense saving and/or moving furniture pieces to a home where the furnishings do not fit.
- How long will I be in this new home?
If a homeowner is 67 years old today and plans on downsizing in the next five years, then they should be thinking about how long they may be in the new home. As age catches up, we all tend to see our health deteriorate more rapidly than we’d like. Unlike the primary home they may have had for 30 years or so, the downsizing homeowner may need to move within another five to eight years after their original downsize. Planning for two or three moves will help the homeowner decide how much they really want to hold onto.
William C Huff Companies has been upsizing many families for over 30 years and have been very involved with many downsizes over the past five years. We would be glad to help any homeowner who plans on downsizing to make the transition as stress-free as possible.