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8 Things for Empty Nesters to Consider when Downsizing

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This article is part of our ongoing series on renting in your retirement years and how it can potentially be a better option to owning your home.  The series includes the following articles:



8 Things for Empty Nesters to Consider when Downsizing

Downsizing affects most people as they age. Once the decision has been made to move into a smaller home, it opens up a host of other topics that should be considered before starting the process. It can be daunting, but doesn’t have to be. Here are some of the top hurdles people face when deciding to downsize.

For this list, let’s also assume you want to take advantage of a completely turnkey lifestyle, and all the freedoms and privileges that come with moving into a rental property.

8. Eyes on the Prize

First, sit down and figure out your goals. What will your life look like post-retirement? What do you hope to gain from downsizing? Whether that’s being closer to family, opening up an active, travel-filled lifestyle or simply simplifying, state your goals clearly from the get go and stay focused on finding an apartment that will help you achieve them.

7. Financial Goals

Once you sell your current home, you will have a lifetime of equity to repurpose. This is your nest egg - using it effectively will have a huge impact on your future. By using your lifestyle goals as a guide, you can choose the option that best suits you. If possible, pick an option that lets your money work for you, without tying it up in something you can’t easily get out from. Flexibility and freedom are your watch words.

Related Post: Own or Rent in Your Retirement Years?

6. The Space Equation

Wherever you move, there’s one thing that will be abundantly clear - you’re going to have to get rid of a few things. Your new apartment will likely be much smaller than your current home; you are downsizing, after all. Figuring out what to do with 30 or 40 years’ worth of accumulating will be a significant challenge.

5. Location, Location, Location

Where on the map you’re going to live is just as important as what shape your new apartment will take. Are you looking to move to a bigger city? Smaller? Do you need access to public transit? What about air travel, or proximity to the border? Will you still be doing some work on the side that requires face to face meetings? These are all questions you’ll want answers to before you downsize.

Related Post: You Can’t Take it (all) With You

4. Staying Healthy

Whether you are pre-retirement, post-retirement or just on the cusp of it, you are still at an age when your health needs start to change. Maybe you’re already dealing with some challenges and they are part of the impetus to downsizing. Or maybe you’re a loved one helping aging family members settle into a home more suitable for them.

Things like changing your network of health professionals or accessibility issues should be factored in when finding your perfect rental property.

3. Amenities

There’s more to living than just the rooms you occupy. Apartments have a host of amenities to choose from. Things like on-site exercise rooms, game rooms, bookable common areas for hosting gatherings, green spaces, secure parking and even swimming pools are all perks to consider.

2. Social Networking

Odds are, if you are coming from a traditional neighbourhood situation, years of building relationships has afforded you a circle of friends you can lean on and ask for favours from. 

Moving can change all that; uprooting you from your comfortable, existing network to an unfamiliar area. Taking care to find an apartment where there are others who are similar in age and life experience as yourselves can make it much easier to forge new friendships. 

Related Post: Life After 55 - How to Stay Active

1. Time Crunch

Downsizing is a big deal. All the hoops involved with selling your home at any other point in life still apply, with the added challenge of compressing into a smaller home. Trying to do it in a short period of time is a risk and likely to lead to serious frustration.

If you can, try to start the process at least a year, maybe two, in advance. Properties become available all the time; you shouldn’t have to jump on the first apartment you see. 

Planning ahead will allow you to dictate the terms on which you downsize, leaving you worry free on the other side of your move.