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Guest article by Jim Vogel, Elder Action
Downsizing is a wonderful option for seniors focused on their health and safety needs, and it can even save money in the long run. However, it’s a big task that involves a lot of physical work and some emotional investment, so it’s important to think about how you will be affected and what your options are when it comes to your current home. Selling can take time, and if the home is older, it may require some updates or repairs, which can be costly.
The good news is you have other options available to you. Turning your home into a rental is one way to go, and it will give you the opportunity to make extra income throughout the year. You’ll need someone to help you maintain it, however, and you’ll need to make sure you can recoup your investment if you have to make some changes for renters. Thinking about these options well before you move will ensure that you can get through the process smoothly.
Here are a few tips on how to downsize when you’re a homeowner.
Know what to look for
Many seniors who decide to downsize are looking for a special community or an assisted living facility that will help them stay healthy and safe while maintaining a level of independence. There are many different levels of care, including apartment living and assistance with daily tasks like taking medications and prepping meals. Since amenities and cost levels vary, it’s important to take a tour of several different facilities to find the right one for your needs. As you tour, keep in mind that the median cost of assisted living facilities in Colorado is $49,140 a year.
Make a sale
Selling a house is often something seniors put off; not only is it a big job, it can be emotionally daunting to go through all your belongings and face the prospect of giving up the place you’ve called home for years. However, selling can allow you to build up quite a nice nest egg if your home has equity, or it can help you cover the cost of assisted living. Do some research online to find out what your home is worth and whether it’s a good time to sell.
Think about renting
Many Americans have chosen to rent out their homes to vacationers and tenants as a way to earn extra income, and this can help you cover the cost of your new living situation. You’ll want to think about how to boost your home’s appeal in order to attract renters, such as by making repairs or adding curb appeal. Renting may require special insurance on the home, however, so it’s crucial to do some research on what your responsibilities will be according to the laws in your state. Plus, you may require the assistance of a property manager, so factor in the convenience versus cost here.
Keep it in the family
Keeping your home in the family is a great way to give yourself peace of mind and to make sure your property is well taken care of. Consider selling it to a loved one, or make arrangements to leave the home to them in a trust. Also, make sure you have a lawyer look over the documents to ensure everything is in order.
Downsize your belongings
Moving to a smaller home means you’ll need less space for your belongings. It’s important to go through each room and declutter, clean, and decide which items you want to take with you. If possible, take some measurements in the new space to make sure your furniture will fit.
You have many options available to you when you’re ready to consider a downsize for assisted living, but it’s essential to have a good plan in place before you make a move. Create a budget and research the financial aspects of your decision ahead of time in order to prevent any issues, Also, don’t be afraid to rely on family and friends for support during the process.