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How to Choose a House When You’re Downsizing

Posted by Christina Galbreath-Gonzalez on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 at 10:53am.

Chosing a Home when DownsizingWhether you have lived in your current home for decades or only a year, as you get older, you may find that you have too much space.  Additionally, thanks to stairs, slippery floors, and poor central air or heating, your old home may no longer suit your needs.  As a result, many seniors are increasingly choosing to downsize.  The process of selling and buying a home is always difficult, but it can be made much easier with proper planning.  Here are some strategies that can help.

 Choose a house that accommodates your medical needs

The most critical step is choosing a house that will accommodate your unique medical needs while also suiting your design preferences.  For instance, if you have trouble with your legs, hips, or ankles, you may not want to choose a house with stairs.  Instead, go for a one-story home.  Remember to also check around the house, as well - even single story houses often have steps leading up to the house from the street, as well as small sets of steps in the backyard. 

To ensure your stability, be sure to carefully walk around both the front and back yards to make sure the ground is level, not inclined, and that there aren’t any unexpected dips or hills.  If you have trouble with stability or often slip on level ground, you may want to bypass homes with slick tile floors in favor of more grippable surfaces like carpet.  Keep in mind, though, that carpet requires a little more maintenance.  A good compromise may be a home with wood or laminate floors - in the more slippery parts of the home, you can add mats that stick to the surface to ensure your stability. 

Choose what you will bring along carefully

Take your needs into account when you are choosing which of your items to bring along, as well.  Floor rugs, while attractive from an interior design standpoint, can often be extremely slippery.  Large breakable objects, particularly those that are situated on surfaces you may need to grab in the event of a fall, may be unnecessary inclusions.  Remember, when you are downsizing, pack your absolute necessities first, then add in pieces to which you have an emotional attachment or general preference.  You don’t necessarily have to throw everything away - some items you can sell for a quick buck, others you might be able to donate to charity.  If you think you might have a place for a particular piece in your new home after you’re settled, see if you can store it at a family member’s house until you’re ready.

Try not to overwork yourself on moving day

Moving day is always chaotic and busy, but be sure not to overwork yourself.  Instead of lifting heavy boxes, ask younger family members and friends to help out, or hire a team of movers to get it done quickly.  Your main role on moving day should be to help mitigate stress wherever possible.  For instance, your dog may be stressed out and unsure about his changing circumstances.  People coming in and out of the house at all hours of the day may disturb even the most even-tempered of dogs.  This is why it is a good idea to board your dog for moving day.  Your dog be happy to be away from the drama, while your movers will be able to work without any distractions.

Downsizing is a big decision that can eventually save you money and keep you safer in the process.  By choosing a house that suits your needs and having help on moving day, you will preserve your health so you can enjoy the first night in your new home.

Article written by Michael Longsdon



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