Is a retirement or downsizing move on the horizon for you? So many factors that go into the process when deciding when, where and how to retire and downsize. Here we break down some of the main points to consider when starting the process.
STYLE OF YOUR DOWNSIZED HOME
Once you’ve zoned in on where you want to retire, next, you will need to determine the style of home you want. Many downsizers are drawn to condo buildings or 55+ communities. You may not be there quite yet. Consider the following criteria to determine where you may be happiest.
1) CONDO VS. SINGLE FAMILY LIVING
If you enjoy mowing the lawn and shoveling snow, great! But do consider how long you will want, or will be able to, do this sort of work. You may be drawn to condo living for this reason.
Condo living is often attractive to downsizers because of the built-in social life it offers as well as the many convenient amenities. But bear in mind that condo living almost always comes certain restrictions – pets, what you can do to your home, noise, etc. You may decide you’re not quite ready for condo living yet. The neighbors will be very close!
2) LOCATION AND AMENITIES
Think about the places you go on a daily and weekly basis — your favorite grocery store, the library, your doctor, or a certain park, etc. Consider how close you want or need to be to these places. Do you want to be able to walk to them? Are you comfortable driving, especially at night? Perhaps you will want certain amenities onsite – such as a fitness center, dining options, or even medical offices.
Consider your social life as well! Is there a general clubhouse or sitting room where you can meet up with others (residents or visitors)? If you have an activity or hobby that you look forward to doing more of in the future, make sure your new home or building has a space for it.
3) MULTI-GENERATIONAL LIVING
More and more often, we are seeing multiple generations living under one roof. If an adult child, grandchild, or parent could possibly join you in your retirement, consider spaces that would work for them. You may want your search to include an au pair/in-law suite or first floor master bedroom. If grandchildren are in the mix, investigate the local educational options.
4) THEN…ENVISION YOUR NEW SPACE WHEN DOWNSIZING
Whether you choose a condo, townhome, or single family home, you will want to keep these considerations top of mind when it comes time to look at options.
Ideally, the entry to your new home should not have any steps. If it does, check to see if you can easily install an access ramp if/when needed.
WIDE HALLWAYS & OPEN SPACE
Without a doubt, today’s buyers are looking for open floor plans. So you will find these options when you start your house hunting. Your new home will ideally offer wide hallways and 36” doorways. Aim to have an open floor plan in the event a walker or wheelchair comes into the home.
Will you want to do your laundry in your own home or is it ok if the machines are elsewhere in the building? Or perhaps you may even want someone else to do it! Investigate the options available in any option you are considering.
STAIRS OR ONE-LEVEL LIVING
Think about your daily life and your physical state. You may be able to handle stairs just fine now, but will you want to in another ten years? Perhaps focus your efforts on one-level living or buildings with an elevator. If this is a concern of yours, also look for even flooring (without thresholds or step between rooms). Tripping is a real concern as we age.
If you end up in a home with stairs, you may want to check on space for a chairlift in case one is needed down the line.
Ensure your storage is easily accessible. Again, you may not think this is an issue now, but in another 10 years, you may not want to climb rickety attic stairs to get your holiday decorations or bend down to access your crawl space.
Make sure you can comfortably reach all essential appliances such as the dishwasher, microwave and refrigerator. If not, are these heights adjustable? You may be able to bend and reach just fine now, but your mobility may become limited with age.
In the bathrooms, check out the shower/tub set up. Is a big step required to get into the shower? Aim to have at least one step-in shower, as well as seating (a bench) in the shower itself. Also, check to see if you’ll be able to install grab bars if/when they are needed. Non-slip flooring in the bathrooms is ideal.
Will you want to live in a building that requires an access card? Would you want a doorman building? Is the neighborhood safe – will you feel comfortable walking down the street? Check out the crime statistics online or make a call to the local police department. Your peace of mind is essential.
Is Fido coming along to your new place? Think about space for pet needs (bathing, litter box, etc). in your new home. Will you be able to easily walk your dog? Will you want to go into an elevator every time Fido needs to go out?
It goes without saying, if you are moving to a condo or HOA, check the pet rules and restrictions. A building may allow pets but only those under a certain weight or they may restrict the number of pets.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Before any downsizing/retirement move, you will have plenty of things to think about — everything from where you want to live, to the style of home, and its features.
If we can help you think through this process, please reach out. We’ve been through this process with clients many times and when all is said and done, seen them happier than ever. We know it can be overwhelming. We are always happy to help, even if you’re not quite ready.
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