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  • Writer's pictureJennie Griggs

The Top Three Downsizing Mistakes That Could Set You Back in Retirement

By Mary Shannon

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions we make in life. We pour our time and energy into finding the perfect family home, but when you decide to downsize, don’t underestimate the importance of putting just as much effort into this big move. Downsizing can be the perfect way to find your dream home for this next stage in life, but be careful to avoid these mistakes (presented below by Aging Collective) that can prevent you from fully enjoying the road ahead.

Choosing the Wrong Home

One common mistake some people make is waiting to downsize until they have no other options. Maybe you struggle with daily living activities, or maybe you have a hard time getting around your home. If you’re looking to downsize because of these concerns, you may want to consider whether assisted living would be the best move. When you need a little extra care but also want to remain independent, an assisted living center can be a great solution.

Exploring this option now is smart because you may decide it isn’t worth spending the time and money that goes into buying a new home. In this case, you can refocus your move on visiting assisted living centers to find the one that’s right for you. Cost is one of many things to keep in mind when searching, so the right facility also needs to fit easily into your budget.

If assisted living isn’t for you, be sure to think through all the other options in order to make the best decision. Nolo notes that when it comes to the type of home, ask yourself whether you want a smaller single-family home or whether you’d be happier with a condo that comes with less maintenance.

The size and features of the home are other important factors to consider. Even though you’re moving to a smaller space, do you really still need an extra bedroom for guests? Do you have hobbies like gardening that require outdoor space? recommends finding a home where the space matches what you actually use. You also want to think about your long-term needs, such as making sure the home will be safe and accessible if your mobility was limited later in life. You can make some changes to increase a home’s accessibility, especially if you decide to purchase an “as-is” home so you can save money to set aside for repairs. However, it’s much easier to find one that has these features in the first place.

Overlooking Financial Details

Whether you’re looking at assisted living or buying a new home, the financial details make up a crucial part of the equation. Some people make the mistake of overlooking hidden costs (and hidden savings). The key here is to look at the big picture. When it comes to costs, don’t forget to budget for moving expenses or the fees you may owe if you’re moving to a senior living community or condo unit. And when searching for a moving company you can trust, search online for “movers near me” to find websites that list customer reviews and deals for highly rated movers in your vicinity. Hiring shady movers could end up costing you in the long run.

Fitting Old Stuff Into a New Home

There isn’t exactly a right way to downsize your belongings to fit your new home, but you’ll know if you do it the wrong way! explains that some people make the mistake of trying to sort through their entire home too fast. It took years to accumulate everything — you can’t expect to get rid of it in a day. On the other extreme, some people don’t spend enough time determining what will fit in their new space, as well as how to decorate

a smaller home.

Most importantly, don’t underestimate what a huge decision it is to downsize. From the little things, like decorating, to the big decisions, such as finding your dream home, going through this process will be an emotional roller coaster. The emotional process can’t be avoided, but take your time to make an informed decision so you can enjoy the ride!

Photos via Storyblocks and Unsplash

Aging Collective is a collaborative of professional resources for business and personal needs. Contact us today for more info! 919.389.3985. Article provided by Mary Shannon,



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