Sometimes, downsizing is the best option we have in life. Whether it’s to spend less time maintaining a large home, minimizing costs, or improving retirement, downsizing can be just what we need to thrive. Yet, we must be careful to avoid common mistakes associated with doing so. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get started.
Consider Your Neighborhood
Downsizing has many benefits, but these may be outweighed if your local needs are not met. After all, a home is not only the house you live in; instead, it’s the neighborhood where your home is located. With that in mind, make a checklist of requirements that an area must have before you downsize. Otherwise, you could find yourself locked into a place that is neither enjoyable or practical to live in. In particular, focus on crime rates, as well as the availability of hospitals and stores. If you have any reservations, listen to them.
Make Sure Everything Fits
Another easy mistake is to keep furniture that cannot fit into a smaller space. This will not only make moving a challenge, but it will also leave our new homes feeling smaller than they ought to. Given this, measure the dimensions of your property, either in person or by asking the current owner to do so, which will allow you to determine the possessions you can take and the ones that may need to go. Thankfully, if you do have to part with anything, you can donate or recycle them instead of putting them in the garbage. Best of all, many charitable organizations will pick up unwanted furniture to remove the hassle of dropping anything off.
Check for Hidden Costs
It’s tempting to choose a house that looks perfect. However, even smaller properties can come with some unanticipated hidden costs that could turn a dream home into a nightmare. In particular, many condos come with extra fees that may quickly build up. For instance, there are HOA fees to deal with repairs and maintenance, alongside special assessment costs for separate unexpected issues. In fact, there may also be additional insurance requirements, particularly if you choose to live in an area where natural disasters are frequent. So, do your research to avoid an all-too-common downsizing surprise.
In the age of the internet, a real estate agent may not seem essential. Yet, their experience and understanding of specific areas can be invaluable. In fact, they will know exactly what type of smaller home will suit your needs and wants. Likewise, moving in itself can be a stressful experience without the right support. So, whether you use professionals or friends, have help on hand when it comes to getting your stuff to your new place. Of course, your choice will depend on the distance you’re moving, the amount you’re taking, and your budget. Yet, without support, you may find that both downsizing and moving are stressful experiences.
Anticipate Moving Issues
Moving day itself can be full of pitfalls without research. For instance, you may have pets that have to be boarded, but the costs and quality can vary by company. Likewise, as
Angie’s List notes, it’s important to read up on moving companies and get any estimates in writing. To avoid any shocks, go through reviews for potential deal-breakers, and make sure that they have a moving license and insurance. For added certainty, look out for hidden fees and establish if a company won’t move certain things. If you’re still unsure, check if they’ve passed the American Moving and Storage Association’s ProMover program or have a Department of Transport number. After all, the right professionals can make or break a successful relocation.
With careful planning and preparation, you can successfully downsize your home. Just remember to get the support you need, know the costs, and adjust your plans accordingly. There is no stopping you from living your best life in a smaller home.
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