For many seniors, a move to an independent living community requires selling a home and downsizing to a home with a smaller footprint. It can be a big task and often an emotional one because leaving a family home is just difficult, even when the next chapter of life is bright. But there are ways to make it all easier and less fraught with sadness. Try these tips for downsizing to independent living and get ready for a great move!
Downsize to the right size – Once the decision to move to independent living is made, the first step in the process is to begin downsizing or even better, “right sizing.” Everything from furniture to appliances to knick-knacks should be reviewed for whether it will stay with you or not. Start from the bottom and move up, sorting through each space, room, closet, and shelf and ask yourself, “Do I need this for the next stage of my life?” Be honest and box up smaller items you do not want or need to give to family, friends, or charitable organizations.
When it comes to large items like unneeded furniture, first check the floor plan of your new independent living home to see what will fit. Then ask around to see if anyone you know can use what won’t and ask them to pick up anything they would like to have.
This is also the perfect time to gift special items like family heirlooms to loved ones for future generations to enjoy. In so doing you will not only know they are well cared for but that you have shared something wonderful with someone who will appreciate it. More tips for right sizing for your move to independent living can be found in the silversneakers.org blog, “7 Ways to Make Downsizing as Easy as Possible.”
Find a real estate agent – As the right sizing moves along, and the prospect of the move to independent living is closer, it’s time to find the right real estate agent. A great first step is to drive around the neighborhood and see what company signs and agents are active in your area. Next speak with friends, family and neighbors and ask for recommendations based on their own recent experiences. When you have a list of names, look them up on realtor.com or on their real estate company’s website. Whittle down your list to the top three and give them a call to find out how much experience they have in your area, how much they would recommend asking for your home and why, and the type of representation you can expect from them. Often seniors find they just hit it off with an agent making it easy to choose the one they are most confident in. For more about choosing the right real estate agent, the realtor.com blog, “How to Find a Real Estate Agent: Where to Look, What to Ask” offers a wealth of information.
Stage the home to sell – The best way to prepare a home for visits from the buying public is to remove everything but the essentials and essentially depersonalize every room to look more like a furniture store than a lived-in home. Think about it as if you were looking to buy and trying to place yourself in the home. The fewer personal touches the better and you will likely be taking a portion of those items with you to the independent living community.
Just as you would expect when you move into the new independent living community, the house should be spotless from cleaning floors under furniture to ceiling cobwebs. Next, consider painting walls with unusual colors to more neutral shades and look for ways to make each room as bright as possible, from opening shades and drapes to replacing light bulbs with higher wattage ones. To bring the living room or den together, experts recommend rearranging furniture to settings that appeal to a conversational theme, generally facing each other, and limiting the number of throw pillows. Another nice touch is to set the dining room table with nice linens and China to give the room an upscale look.
Also don’t forget about curb appeal. First impressions remain important so it may be worthwhile to hire a landscaper or other professional to give the home curbside appeal since many potential buyers will drive by before they call the agent. More tricks and tips for staging your home for sale are available in the Zillow.com blog, “How to Stage a House to Sell.”
At Sonrisa we understand what a big job it is to sell a home and prepare to move to an independent living community. But rest assured, when it’s time to move in, we will be there ready and waiting to assist! Find out more about independent living at Sonrisa on our website or contact us for more information.