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Anyone Planning to Move/Downsize Soon?
Old 02-14-2015, 01:57 PM   #1
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Anyone Planning to Move/Downsize Soon?

I'm single in a 4 bedroom 1600 sq ft home. Although I'm still some years from retirement my goal is to sell the home this spring and move into a condo. I want to do this while I still have plenty of energy and health. Two bedrooms in about 1000 sq ft seems perfect to me. I have realized that at age 58 I no longer have any interest in yardwork and want to keep my home life as simple as possible. My priorities now are friends and travel.

But I am dreading the whole process. For one, I have to sell before I can buy (for peace of mind and finances). Thus I may have to rent for awhile if nothing suitable is on the market when I am looking. Then there is the process of downsizing the stuff I have now. Just don't know how to handle all the work that looms ahead in the process. My realtor is coming this Monday for an initial consultation, so I have to get going on decisions.

Anyone in the same boat?

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Old 02-14-2015, 03:15 PM   #2
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I want to move eventually, does that count? So I have been thinking about these challenges too. Here are some ideas and thoughts that I have been having about it, for what they are worth....probably very little, but here they are:

Downsizing is extremely important. I would make a point of filling at least 1-2 extra trash bags with items to throw away, every trash day. Also, donation runs to GoodWill or wherever at least once a week. This will take time, so the sooner you start the better.

And then there is the move itself. Maybe you could hire a couple of strong young men to move your things to a storage unit, and then just minimally furnish the apartment. I am thinking that an air mattress, a folding table, a lightweight foldable lawn chair, and a couple of suitcases as for a vacation might not be too much to move by yourself. Then, when you take possession of your condo, you could hire someone to move your things from storage to your condo. Or, if the apartment was big enough you could use part of it as your "storage unit". If you don't unpack things, then you don't have to re-pack them later.

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Old 02-14-2015, 03:32 PM   #3
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Not anytime soon but we will move to a CCRC in another five or eight years or so. The immediate plan is to decide what we want to keep and then call an auctioneer and say "Make the rest go away".

There really isn't anything that has much value to make it worthwhile to do a lot of effort marketing. A 27-year old drill press, air compressor, and a tool cabinet with Craftsman hand tools are probably the most valuable items in the basement.
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:35 PM   #4
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Been there, done that, got the T shirt! My condo is 1122 sq ft, a perfect size for me. In my case the move was long distance. It was a great opportunity to do a major purge, and I got a professional downsizing company to help. (I'm in Canada so including the link won't help you). That was invaluable, as my house was cleared in three days. I can't believe how hard they worked. Triaging was done with my input so I never felt railroaded, but doing that myself would have taken forever. I had purchased my new home more than a year before moving in. I rented it for one year, then hired a painter to personalize it before moving in myself.

Could you rent a furnished suite during the transition? It might be more expensive, but it would be simpler.
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:39 PM   #5
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We are planning to downsize just waiting for the right house to come on the market . This will be my final move so I want what I want . You are smart to do it now . I am 68 and the thought of moving drove me crazy until I decided I would make it easy on myself . I started tossing things with a vengeance .I will also hire movers to move our stuff and store it if necessary . I might use the pod system.I will have the movers deliver the furniture and set it up . All my clothes will be in clothes boxes so they only have to be transferred to the closet . This is what money is for to make life easier .
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. Misery loves company. I am thankful that it looks like the real estate market will be very good in my area this spring.
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:52 PM   #7
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We downsized 3 years ago. We did not sell the 2,500sqft house, but we put it on the market as a rental and a good amount of work was involved to get the house ready. In the meantime, we got rid of 70% of our stuff. Then we moved to a 1,100sqft apartment in another state (the search for said apartment involved a good amount of coast-to-coast travel too). After the move, we had to get new driver's licenses, put the cars through the local inspection process, get new registrations and titles, get new health insurance policies, etc... All in a 5-month period. I am not going to lie, it was overwhelming.

My advice is to give yourself time.

For the downsizing, I started with the big things. Make a list of furniture pieces you want to keep. Get rid of the rest ASAP. The house will start to look a lot emptier and it won't feel so overwhelming anymore. Then go drawer by drawer, cabinet by cabinet, etc... I made 3 piles: what I wanted to keep, what I wanted to donate, what I wanted to trash. Do not let the donation or trash pile grow too big, get rid of them as often as possible to keep yourself motivated.

For some items, the decision making will be difficult (keep it or not?). You will probably be tempted to set such item aside to give yourself more time to make a decision. But then you'll have to make that difficult decision as you get closer to the move and you are crunched for time. It will be even difficult. So be decisive and keep moving when you downsize.
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:56 PM   #8
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Here are some earlier threads on decluttering:
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:04 PM   #9
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Been there, done that! We downsized about 5 years ago. I highly recommend you start the process of winnowing down 'stuff' immediately. Keep in mind that your current furniture may not work well in a condo but keep just enough to stage your home for sale. Go through all the rest and set aside that which you haven't used in the last year. Tackle a closet, set aside what you will need in the future, clean the closet.

Attend garage sales in your community and determine if the price of goods sold is worth the work. If so price & clean your sale items as you remove them from your cabinets. If they aren't worth that work start hauling stuff to Goodwill or your local charity.

Before you put your home on the market start looking at the condos in the community you want to live in. Take a look at the space in the kitchen, look at wall space for pictures, look at closets & baths. Start asking around about condos with issues so you can winnow down the buildings you will consider. When you have several condo Assns that you think would work for you THEN put your home on the market.

When we had an offer on our house we started looking in earnest. We had already ruled out troubled buildings and floor plans that wouldn't accommodate our lifestyle. We had researched property taxes and likely sale prices so we could concentrate on affordable units on the market.
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:18 PM   #10
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Yes we downsized from a 1200 sq foot house (10 years of stuff) into a car. The plan (which is in motion now) is to do some traveling before possible purchasing a condo or townhouse.

We probably started a year or two before our planned sell date of our house. +1 on the advice to give yourself some time and it will probably help to do this in iterations. Even with our early start, it was still a mad rush to get the house empty for the new buyer.

I think one thing you need to decide is how much effort you want to put into selling items and recouping their cost. Generally we found the best sell prices on eBay > craigslist >> garage sale. We did not put anything into storage as our furniture was not expensive and we could just buy new stuff.

Another option is to use a service like PODS (storage + moving).
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Old 02-14-2015, 07:42 PM   #11
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I think we put off the soon part of downsizing soon because moving was starting to look like more work than the current house's yard work and general upkeep. We're still looking forward to downsizing and moving to a townhouse or condo some day, and for now we are decluttering, checking out open houses and getting the house in shape to sell over the space of at least a couple of more years, maybe longer.
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Old 02-14-2015, 07:48 PM   #12
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I want to downsize, DW does not. I'm closing in on 60, and the constant work to maintain a 3800 sf house and workshop on 5 acres is taking its toll on me. I would like a 1300 sf place in town. And have a workshop - 2 car detached garage would be enough.
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Old 02-14-2015, 10:56 PM   #13
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We went from 2 places - 1000 sq ft condo apt in NYC and 2000 sq ft weekend house in PA to 1600 sq ft house, at least 1/3 of which we don't even use. To stage the apartment we were brutally drastic in downsizing clothing, furniture, kitchen stuff, including donating about 1000 books. Then we sold it so fast we had to find a rental in the same building for 7 months before DH retired 4.5 years ago. We sold our second house almost completely furnished including all kitchen accessories, dishes, etc. We even left the piano.

I second the idea of looking at condos now so you get an idea of what you do and do not like and also their availability. You will then know what you would like to buy.

How are houses selling in your neighborhood? This is another factor. Houses here in Austin are selling in 29 days average and in our neighborhood they are selling before they even reach the market, at least for now.

Condo boards will want financials and sometimes interviews before approval. Sometimes they wait for their next scheduled meeting which can lead to delay in approval for a month. It all depends on the building/complex.

It can be done. We always have the movers pack, it is so much easier that way. We will move again and probably to a smaller place next time without exterior maintenance and with the need of only 1 car.

Keep simplifying.

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Old 02-14-2015, 11:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by iac1003 View Post
Condo boards will want financials and sometimes interviews before approval. Sometimes they wait for their next scheduled meeting which can lead to delay in approval for a month. It all depends on the building/complex.
I have never heard of condo boards having this power. Obviously the laws of New York State allow it. However, I know this scrutiny takes place in cooperatives.

Regardless, condo buyers should do their own due diligence on the condo board, bylaws, and reserve fund, as well as becoming familiar with applicable legislation.
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:19 AM   #15
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We want to downsize from our current 2300 sqft, but I've found 1300 sqft homes I like whereas DW seems to want 1600-1800. We're both also on the fence re: relocating to another state - so we haven't pulled the trigger.

We have done a lot of the decluttering though, and unexpectedly found it liberating. Sold a bunch of stuff on eBay (about 70 transactions), made $2,500 on stuff that all would have been trashed in another era. So I'd look forward to that part at least.

Being between homes and the physical moves can be stressful, but you can do it, and you'll be happy when it's done.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:40 AM   #16
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We downsized from a 2,450 sf main home and 1,000 sf summer home to a 2,000 sf main home on the site of our former summer home a few years ago. It is painful, particularly for packrat DW.

We recently added another 400 sf bonus room above our garage so we are back to 2,400 sf in our main home.

We are considering a winter home that will be 1,000 - 1,600 sf. We are currently renting a 1,000 sf 2/2 condo and that woudl be sufficient for us for a winter home but a bit more space would be nice.

OP, you don't have to sell before you buy. You can make an offer on the new place contingent on your selling your existing home. While it might make your offer on a condo less attractive than an offer without such a contingency, it is possible. The owner may propose that they be allowed to continue to market the condo and if they receive and acceptable offer without a sale contingency then you would have 24 or 48 hours to decide to waive the sale contingency and take you chances or declare the contract null and void and get your deposit back. That is quite common in our area.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:38 AM   #17
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One of our retirement goals was to relocate from our 2800 sf home in a high cost Chicago suburb to a smaller home in a lower cost area. We retired end of February 2014 then listed our house for sale in July, sold it in August, then moved to a different state in September. I was 61 at the time and DW was 59. Our new home is only 1488 sf but has a full basement. Tough part was downsizing from a 4 car garage to a 2 car garage.

We also didn't want to purchase another house until we sold our existing house. I would not consider moving twice unless I basically got rid of most everything. Unfortunately, we could not find a house we liked well enough to pay the asking prices. Fortunately, we owned half of a house with DS left in an inheritance. Our house sold very fast and we did not want to move twice so we bought out DS half of inherited house.

We had so much stuff that even with de-cluttering we still had a huge semi trailer full to move. We did not have time or ambition to pack it all up ourselves so we hired all the work done. I am glad we did. We did do a lot of downsizing, we had been working on that project for 2 years knowing that we intended to move after retirement.

If our furniture would have been worn out we likely would have just had an estate type sale, then move only our personal possessions in a large UHaul van. As it worked out we were able to use all the furniture in our new home, and in fact had to buy only a desk and TV table. Our desks were built-ins in our old home. All the rest of our existing furniture works in our new house.

Even thou our new house is smaller we utilize all of it where in our old house there were a couple of rooms that went unused. Bad part with the new house is that it needed quite a bit of updating. We are in that process now and hope to be done with interior projects by this summer.

Maybe in a few years we will move to warmer climates but for right now this move was the right decision for us. We have adapted quite nicely to the smaller space.

To the OP, try not to get too stressed about the move, make sure you know where you want to live before committing to a purchase. If you have to move temporarily until your house sells you might want to consider auctioning your big items such as furniture and buying new once you find your dream home. The cost to move twice is very expensive especially if one is a long distance move. Sometimes your old furniture works OK as it did for us, but sometimes it won't work so you might be better off buying new.

Good luck with your move, be patient and go with the flow. it will all work out in the end.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:55 AM   #18
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DD #2 has 5 more months in high school and DS #2 has 2 years and 5 months to go. I am counting the days. Have been looking at real estate in my chosen retirement haven for the past 10 years...
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:58 AM   #19
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After some recent family events, we have set our target to move to our smaller retirement home next year. We actually bought it a couple of years ago, and have some good tenants paying the mortgage and expenses for us until then, so there has been minimal financial impact. Already having a place to go has also been peace of mind for us.

Since our two houses are on opposite sides of the country, there are some additional challenges. To make things easier on ourselves, we are tentatively planning on moving into the retirement house before selling the current one. (We hate dealing with showings while living in the house, and it will look better too without some of our less attractive furniture.)

Since DW plans to work until we get close to moving time, I will be doing much of the de-bulking and other prep, except for her personal stuff of course. That will be a big task for me this year. In our case, the reduction in square feet of living space will be less of an impact than giving up a basement. (Lots of workout and sports equipment.)
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:59 AM   #20
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We are starting to clear out our primary home now to put on the market next spring. We will be relocating to our retirement home where we currently spend weekends.
Will be SO happy to be down to one (smaller) residence.
DH is trying to jumpstart his parents in clearing out their home that is filled to the brim with 60 years of "stuff". They are totally overwhelmed.

Good luck and just do it one day at a time.

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