Life sometimes gets in the way: Homeowners find that they must downsize for any number of reasons. It’s not always easy. Whether the need results from having a smaller household, a job transfer, financial concerns, pending retirement, change in family status, or just the desire for simplicity, planning a move to a smaller home can be approached logically and without undue stress.
The first concern for people who plan to sell their home in order to downsize should be to decide what belongings will make the cut, and what must be sold or disposed of in another way. If there is a need to move quickly, similar steps apply even within a compressed timeline. Take advantage of friends and family, as well as professionals to ease the planning; and try as much as possible to put aside sentimentality. Look upon the move as a new adventure if possible, and make realistic decisions.
Taking Stock of your Life
It is always difficult to part with personal belongings, especially when they span a lifetime of memories. A valuable first step is to ascertain the worth of your things. Employ a qualified appraiser to place a value on antiques, artwork, books and memorabilia. If there are items to be earmarked for other family members now or in the future, discuss your wishes and document those decisions, take pictures, put in all in writing and entrust the documentation to a trusted person or adviser.
Then cull through the bits and pieces that are left, from kitchen ware to clothing and memorabilia. Amass what will be kept, and those items to be sold or given away in separate area. Keep lists and detailed records. Consider an estate liquidation service if the task seems overwhelming. Also consider gifting local organizations, community centers, homeless shelters or group homes with furniture and household goods of moderate value.
The Logistics of Moving
In a perfect world, deciding which possessions will not make the move to smaller quarters would be done prior to the sale of an existing home. Even if that is not the case, resist the temptation to “move first and sort later.” There are two common results: Either a smaller home is immediately cramped and uncomfortable; or a storage unit is filled with boxes that will take far too long to be unpacked. The cost is high, in terms of angst and actual dollars. Avoid that common mistake.
Set a realistic timeline. Decluttering is an advantage when it comes time to list a home for sale. A sparsely furnished, minimally accessorized home often sells faster and for a higher price that one filled with furniture and personal memorabilia. Fewer possessions also mean less packing and an easier move.
Settling In To Your New Home
Plan for existing furniture and accessories in advance. It’s possible to plan new and interesting uses for favorite pieces in new surroundings. A smaller space doesn’t necessarily mean that a large sofa, a favorite chair or a treasured collection of books won’t work. Recycle and re-purpose well-designed furniture whenever possible. A unique dining room hutch might find new life in a combo guest room/home office. A simple dining table could double as a desk or library table and still offer informal eating space in an open plan living room.
Think beyond the boundaries of traditional room labels and define your spaces in a way that makes sense for a revamped lifestyle. Keep reminders of family and children to add spice; decorate for easy upkeep and keep memories alive.
Contributed by: Greg Clarke top real estate agent in Kelowna and Vernon