I’ve always been someone who has taken pride in doing my own lawn. I go out every Saturday to mow, edge, weed, prune, trim, etc. I feel that my lawn looks better than most who hire a landscaping crew, and I often win “Yard of the Month.” However, the last few summers have almost been too much. It’s not just the heat and humidity or just the yard work. The time and energy it takes to maintain the home is more than I’m willing to give at this point.
We built our home in 1983, when we had three kids in public school. Thirty years later, each has their own family. Two live in Texas, and one is out of state. Our master bedroom is upstairs, and we only use two of our four bedrooms. We’re both still healthy, and I’m still working, at least for the next few years. I’d rather spend my free time visiting my grandchildren and enjoying myself instead of spending every weekend working on the house. Is it time to think of downsizing? What are our options?
Thank you for your e-mail. I’m happy to hear that you are thinking about the future, while both you and your wife are healthy. Waiting until someone has a fall on the stairs or declining health is not the best way to approach downsizing or retirement living. Making this kind of decision now — with no pressure — is a benefit for you and your family.
Is it time? Ask these questions.
Do you worry about home and lawn maintenance?
If so, it may be time to consider downsizing to a smaller home. Patio homes and zero-lot-line homes often offer the same quality construction that you see in larger homes — just on a smaller scale with a smaller lawn.
Would you like to explore new interests and meet new friends?
Active and independent adult communities focus on independent adult living. These communities often have a large number of retired residents and a few who still work full or part time. These communities are designed for the active senior and offer many activities. You will find full kitchens in each unit of these properties, although some offer dining options on site.
Do you have health concerns? Are you concerned about safety and security?
Assisted living communities provide a level of service that assists just enough to restore confidence and increase a feeling of independence. Daily living assistance can include help with bathing, grooming, dressing, dining, and medication. Services and amenities are designed to add convenience and comfort, while also adding to the quality of each day with worship, housekeeping and laundry, transportation, and a variety of social and educational events. Skilled nursing facilities offer residents professional nursing care. Some facilities offer options for therapy and rehabilitation services, as well.
Have an honest conversation and think about where you will be five, 10 or 20 years down the road.
If you move — and where you may go — depends on where you realistically see yourself. As our population ages, there are more options for older Americans who still want to live independently. Senior community development is a growing industry and offers options rarely seen decades ago. Many facilities offer options from independent living to skilled nursing within the same community.
Your Current Home
Once you’ve made the decision to leave your current home, there are several things to consider.
Prepare early. As humans, we tend to collect “things.” Many of us have accumulated closets, attics, and garages full of “things.” Consider family and friends who may enjoy these items and give them away. Other items may be donated to non-profit resale stores or listed on sites such as Freecycle to be given away. Choose the cooler months to work on the attic and garage. Remember, the more that you give away or throw away, the less you have to move.
Sell or rent your current home. This depends on many factors including the equity that you have in your home, your overall goals (simplify your life?), and the current real estate market. I suggest consulting a licensed Realtor months or even years before you plan a move.
Using a Realtor, professional movers and home-repair companies can eliminate some of the stress and worry from the moving process.
Take the time to plan, but don’t over-think the move. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, and professionals. Focus on the positive. This move is what you make if it. Cherish the memories that you created in the home that you are allowing to be enjoyed by the next owner. However, with any move, I always recommend staying focused on that you are moving toward, not what you are leaving behind.
Carl, I wish you the best of luck with your transition, whether it is this year or five years from now. Although it may be difficult to give up your “Yard of the Month” status, I feel certain that all of your extra time with your grandchildren will earn you “Grandfather of the Year!”
Do you have a real estate question? Please feel free to contact Jen at 979.450.0455 or visit Zweiacker & Associates at zarealestate.com for more information.