Making the decision to downsize is an emotional, financial and logistical process. It can be daunting, with so many decisions and choices to make: How do I begin sorting through decades of accumulated belongings? Do I sell now or later? How do I select a Realtor? How do I price my home? Do I rent or do I buy? House or apartment? Do I stay local or do I want to move away?
The key to making downsizing a positive experience is to start the process BEFORE it becomes an urgent necessity. If you still live in the house you bought decades ago, you have probably already started entertaining the idea of downsizing. Downsizing sooner than later can ease your transition and enable you to fully reap the benefits of your new lifestyle. Once we are over 80, more things tend to happen to us and it becomes increasingly harder and more stressful to move. Moving is hard at any age, and it only becomes more difficult as we grow older. In anticipating our future needs and circumstances, it is advisable to take a proactive approach to the right housing in the right location for us. When done at the right time, making such a move can actually be cathartic, liberating and rejuvenating, giving us an opportunity to fully enjoy our new fresh chapter.
BENEFITS AND FACTORS OF DOWNSIZING:
For most people, housing is their single biggest expense. Even if the home is all paid for, the expenses are hidden: maintenance and upkeep, roof, boiler, heating, cooling, landscaping, snow plowing, gutters, etc., in addition to taxes, utilities and insurance. Does it make sense paying all of this for space you don’t really need?
RENT OR OWN:
Condo or single family? 55+ community or rental complex? In general, condos are cheaper than single-family homes, and you won’t have to clean the gutters or replace the boiler. You’ll pay, though, for shared maintenance as well as utility bills and taxes. In a rental, the costs are more apparent—you generally know what your fixed costs are going to be, affording you better cash flow and greater financial flexibility.
SAFETY, HEALTH ISSUES AND EASE OF LIVING:
Unburden yourself of all the responsibilities of maintenance and upkeep. Living in a one level home is wise as stairs become increasingly harder to negotiate as we age. If there are health issues or concerns, it is advisable to choose a place or location that affords easy access to medical facilities.
A lot of people make the mistake of not focusing on location. The design of the new place is important, but where it is located makes a huge difference. Moving from suburban houses to apartment complexes with amenities on site–shopping, restaurants and active cultural life can be exciting. Being able to walk to shops, supermarkets or bus stop is a great plus. Opportunities for social interaction are another important factor. A lot of rental complexes and 55+ active adults communities have multiple clubs and classes, such as yoga, bridge, current events, book clubs, movie nights, and so much more.
SELLING YOUR HOME—THE PROCESS:
Realty transfer tax
Capital Gains Tax
Credit to buyers for inspection issues or remediation of these
Certificate of Occupancy (and related equipment)
CHOOSING A REALTOR:
The right Realtor will do much more than market and sell your property. He or she will work proactively on your behalf and will provide support and guidance throughout the entire process of selling your home.
A capable Realtor will supervise and coordinate your entire transaction, from A to Z, and will easily and expertly interface with all other involved parties, such as respective attorneys, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, and other professionals.
An experienced Realtor will also provide you with various resources you may need, such as moving companies, real estate attorneys, handymen, transition move specialists, storage facilities, etc.
EXPECT YOUR REALTOR TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Help you price your home correctly
- Market your home effectively and proactively
- Skillfully negotiate the highest price at the best terms for you
- Coordinate all details of the transaction, from start to finish, such as house inspection, bank appraisal, certificate of occupancy, and final walk-through
Here’s to the next exciting chapter of your life! The best is yet to come!
Ruth Miron-Schleider, a long-time resident of Bergen County, has been a real estate broker for over 3 decades. She is the Owner and Managing Director of MIRON PROPERTIES. Ruth is a Certified Residential Specialist, an e-PRO Internet Professional and an Accredited Buyer Representative. She is a member of the Eastern Bergen Board of Realtors, National Association of Counselors, the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council, and the Graduate Realtor Institute.
Ruth has been the Recipient of Circle of Excellence Award every single year since 1999, and the recipient of Reader’s Choice #1 Real Estate Agent—2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
For a complimentary consultation, call Ruth at MIRON PROPERTIES, 201.266.8555, or contact her via e-mail: Ruth@MironProperties.com
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, subject to errors and omissions.
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