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When is it time to downsize?

September 7, 2012

Making the decision about whether or not to downsize can be very stressful for senior citizens, but it is a very important thing to consider. For many people the idea of leaving a large home behind is both scary and frustrating. A senior faced with this decision might feel like they are being asked to give up an important part of their history, but it is important to focus less on what is being lost and more on what will be gained by downsizing.

If a senior citizen is experiencing physical difficulties and they live in a house that has more than one floor, it might become imperative for them to move. In most instances seniors in this situation will begin using only one level of their house. Rather than continue to live in a space that is no longer completely functional, it would make more sense to downsize.

Having a fixed income can also turn downsizing into a requirement. Even if the house itself is already completely paid for, it can be difficult for those on a fixed income to keep up the utility costs of a large house. This becomes especially important for those who are no longer utilizing the full home. Although they can keep the lights turned off in that part of the house, there will always be wasted heat or air conditioning. Even if they close the vents on the second floor, the heat or air conditioning from the first floor will naturally rise throughout their home, thereby wasting money.

Downsizing can also be a plus if it allows a senior citizen to move closer to their family. It is typical for family members to spread out into different areas as time goes on, and this might leave a senior living a considerable distance from their closest relative. Rather than struggle to keep things going in a large house, it would make more sense for the senior to move to a smaller home near someone who can provide them with some assistance.

Regardless of a person's age, it is necessary to keep a home well maintained. Performing even simple chores such as dusting can become extremely overwhelming for a senior if their house is large. It makes no sense to live in an environment that cannot be easily kept up, and downsizing will provide a much needed sense of relief when it comes to housework. Downsizing will also decrease the amount of lawn work that needs to be done. Even if a senior pays someone else to take care of their lawn, they will benefit from the reduced costs that are associated with having a smaller piece of land.

Many seniors decide to downsize into an apartment. This makes perfect sense for those who can no longer perform yard work but cannot afford to pay someone else to do it for them. An apartment is also a nice option because the senior will not have to worry about taking care of maintenance issues, and they will also enjoy the benefits of not having to shovel snow or break up ice in cold weather areas. For many seniors this alone becomes a major reason to downsize, as they will often find themselves basically trapped in their homes for a while after bad weather. If you are a senior that is considering an apartment instead of a home, your real estate agent can help you determine which option is more viable for you.

Some seniors become concerned about taking on a new mortgage due to downsizing. By working with a professional real estate agent, it might be possible to synchronize the sale and new purchase process. Ideally the new home will cost less than the sale price for the old home, thereby making financial concerns unimportant. In some cases a senior might even be able to obtain a new home and put some money in the bank as a result of downsizing.

If the daily tasks associated with keeping up a large home are overwhelming, then it is definitely time to downsize. Downsizing will reduce physical, emotional and financial stress from a senior citizen, and it will also allow them to retain their sense of independence by keeping them in a space that is their own. 


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