In less than ten years, a whopping 73 million Americans will be 65 or older. History has shown that as we age, many of us choose to downsize into more manageable homes, to be closer to family, or to save money. But going from a larger home to a smaller home requires careful planning. This is especially true as the market for smaller homes is likely to become increasingly competitive as baby boomers enter retirement. Here’s our definitive guide explaining how seniors can downsize, and what to consider when moving into a smaller home.
How to Downsize: 5 Tips for Planning Your Move
Once you’ve decided to simplify your life with a smaller home, there are five main factors you’ll want to consider before diving into the housing market.
1. Pick a Location to Suit Your Current and Future Needs
You will want to find a home in a location that makes your life easier. Perhaps that means that you need to move closer to your adult children or other family members. It may also mean that you need to find a home close to supermarkets, pharmacies, or your doctor’s office. If your goal in downsizing is to simplify your life after retirement, choose your location carefully.
2. Analyze Your Budget
If your primary reason for downsizing is to save money after retirement, look carefully at your budget. How much are you comfortable spending on a mortgage payment? Alternately, should you consider using the equity you have in your current home to purchase your new house with a reverse mortgage? By analyzing your budget and working with an experienced Oregon loan officer, you’ll know how much you can afford. That way you can focus your house-hunting on homes in your price range.
3. Make a List of Features You Want in Your New Home
For many seniors, a one-story home is ideal, but this isn’t the case for everyone. So make a list of what you want in a home. Include the number of bedrooms, the number of floors, the size of the garage, and whether you want to maintain the exterior of the home. Many retired individuals find condominiums or townhomes attractive options for downsizing, as the property management team or HOA manages all mowing, weeding, snowplowing, raking, etc. By making a list of your “must-haves,” you won’t waste time looking at homes that don’t meet your needs.
4. Consider the Size of Your Furniture
When moving into a smaller home, it’s important to make sure your furniture will fit, or budget for new furniture. After all, smaller homes typically have smaller rooms. The big sectional sofa you have right now may not fit if you move to a home with a smaller family room. By planning not only when you’re going to downsize, but how to downsize, you’ll have plenty of time to buy, sell, or put some items in storage.
5. Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage
In very competitive housing markets, you need to be prepared to act when you find the home you want. It’s smart to meet with an experienced lending agent, who can provide you with a mortgage pre-approval. That way, if you find the perfect home, you’ll be ready to make an offer with your financing in place. By including your pre-approval with your offer letter, you show the seller’s agent that you’re serious and that you have the financing in place to buy the home.
Top Rated Mortgage Company Serving all of Oregon
As a top-rated Oregon mortgage lender, Strategic Mortgage Solutions has the mortgage loan products to meet your needs. Whether you need an FHA loan, VA loan, jumbo loan, reverse mortgage, or refinance loan, our experienced team is here to help. Send us a message, or call 541-275-1148 today for help with all your home loan needs.