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The Upside of Downsizing
By Don Fritsch

Maybe it's because "downsizing" has the word "down" in it, but most people who start to think about downsizing see it as a "downer". The most common reaction I hear from folks beginning to contemplate this move is that it is just overwhelming. What am I going to do with all my stuff? Where am I going to live? Where will I end up financially? And, OMG!, how can I coordinate buying a smaller house and selling the big house I still own? Besides, I like it here, I raised my kids here, I have so many memories in this house.

There truly is a lot to it, and so most aging homeowners just put it off. It's not like there is some deadline to meet like many first time homebuyers have—getting married, having another baby, just got transferred. So it is very easy to just kick the can down the road until there is a deadline. Unfortunately, once there is a real deadline, it is usually too late. The best options are no longer options. And you may not be the one making the decisions at that point.

So my mission, as a real estate agent who works with a lot of downsizers and as a baby boomer myself, is to turn this downer around to a positive, to find the upside of downsizing. I have spoken with homeowners who have downsized and have described the effect as liberating. After all, there are very positive reasons for downsizing—less time working in the yard and more time with the grandkids or travelling, a home and community that fits your current lifestyle, less money tied up in a big house that is underused, perhaps gaining some ground on that underfunded retirement account. It is good to keep focused on benefits you are looking forward to enjoying once you've made the move.

But, you still have the challenge of getting from here to there. The key is to get out ahead of the process by planning ahead and giving yourself adequate time to work the plan without getting overwelmed. Even if life takes a sharp turn, guaranteed, you will be further ahead for having a plan. There are now tons of resources available to folks who are in or near retirement to help with everything from how to get rid of all your stuff to how to coordinate buying and selling a home at the same time to the latest housing options to how to stay in your current home as long as you can. There are also many services now available to assist you at every step of the downsizing process. For every obstacle you come across there are resources and help available, make it your business to seek them out.

If you find yourself wondering about downsizing, formulate a plan based on your goals, find the resources to support your plan and see how it feels over time. You will either become more comfortable with your strategy or you will discover that you need to change it. At least, if you get started early you will have time to revise your plan and keep moving forward. You'll see, there is an upside to downsizing!

If interested in downsizing, you can reach Don Fritsch at Northwood Realty Services at (724) 741-2111 or email dfritsch@consolidated.net.

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