Whether your children have flown the nest or you are ready to lower your bills and headaches, you have decided that downsizing is the best move for you. I find that unless you have clear steps to achieve your goals, you may find the process stressful and hectic. If you follow these three steps to help downsize, you will find yourself achieving your financial goals and lifestyle changes in no time and with some peace of mind left to spare.
Step 1: Create a Timeline that Gives You Realistic Goals to Stick To.
You will need to sort and organize all of your current belongings and decide whether they will be part of your life in your new space. The time frame it takes to go through everything is unique to each person. In my experience, I have seen most of my clients find the process of downsizing their belongings either completely liberating or very stressful! I suggest you give yourself one full day for each room in your home.
The end goal is to be in a new home that fits you and your belongings comfortably, within the timeframe you set for yourself at the beginning of the process. Do not rush through this process, and be honest with yourself about the items that you can and cannot live without. Just remember the original goal – minimizing your dependency on material belongings and freeing up your time and money to use towards other goals.
Step 2: Let’s Talk Money.
Now that you have a good sense of how much space you will need in your next home, you will need to refocus your attention on your current house. This is when you start to figure out important numbers, such as how much equity you have in your home.
At this point, it’s time for you to call in the experts. I suggest for you to contact at least 3 REALTORS® and ask them to come to your home and give you their professional opinion of what your home’s current market value would be. Another option is to hire an appraiser, which can cost you around $400 to $500. Either way, just remember that these people do not have an emotional attachment to your house and will be giving you an expert opinion.
You should also ask how much it will cost you to sell your home. Ask each REALTOR® how much they will charge, as well as what services they will offer, if they will hire a professional photographer, and if they offer free staging of your home.
Word of Caution – do not give any sensitive information to a REALTOR®, such as the amount you would sell your home for or the time frame you ware working in, until you have a signed listing agreement, because any of them could be representing buyers that you could be negotiating with in the future.
Step 3: Start Looking.
It’s time for you to go online and start searching for your next home. At this point, you will know approximately how much equity you have and you should know much your down payments will be. The question is, how much will your next home cost you? Work out the cost, and don’t forget to include items, such as yearly taxes, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance (if your down payment is less than 20% of home value), and the utilities on top of a mortgage payment. At this point, you should also sit down with a loan officer and find out how much a new mortgage will cost you. After you have taken all of these steps, you will need to list your home and hire a REALTOR® to help you view home’s that fit your criteria.
My hope is that you have found this three step guide to downsizing helpful, and I wish you the best with your next move!
About Ivett Pruner.
Ivett Pruner is a full-time sales associate of the Fonville Morisey Realty Wake Forest Office.
With a degree in Finance and Economics from Penn State University, Ivett spent nine years in the finance field, assisting people with personal and business transactions. When she moved to the Triangle in 2007, she made the transition to real estate. She believes homeownership is the largest financial decision that people can make, and enjoys working with people achieve their goal of buying.
Ivett was born in Romania, speak fluent Hungarian, and has visited 13 countries around the world. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Ivett is a member of the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®.
Fonville Morisey Realty has 11 sales offices, with over 850 associates and employees throughout the Greater Triangle region. FM offers mortgage, insurance, property management, title services, real estate education courses and relocation services through its divisions and partners. For more information about Fonville Morisey Realty, visit www.fmrealty.com.