DOWNSIZING DON'Ts and DOs
Let's start with the Don'ts:
-Don't over think it: There's lots of work involved in downsizing. Getting rid of years of “stuff” you've accumulated, selling and buying, moving, making new friends in a new neighbourhood, adapting to a smaller house, a townhouse or a condo in the sky ~ all this takes time, but you will get through it all.
-Don't take it personally: This can be a difficult “don't” to deal with. You may have spent decades in a neighbourhood. You know the area like the back of your hand, you have friends and neighbours you've known for years, you'll miss your garden that you've loving seeded and nurtured all those years, or your garage or basement sanctuary. Again, the emotions will pass as you settle into you new lifestyle.
-Don't ask family and friends: This is your decision. Asking a lot of people for their opinion may only confuse you or turn you off the whole idea. If you feel the time is right then it's right for you and that's all that matters. You don't need any one else's permission.
-Don't buy a place to fit your existing furniture: Oddly enough, this is a big one. You'll greatly limit your options if you look for a place to accommodate your beloved furniture.You can always buy new furniture to fit into your new home. This kind of thinking opens up many options you would otherwise have dismissed.
Don't be overly generous with the proceeds from downsizing: Family and friends may want your “help” from your downsizing windfall. This happens more often than it should. Be practical and seek professional advice if need be.
There are other Don'ts but let's move onto the Dos.
-Do get professional advise: Talk to your accountant, investment advisor, your realtor. You'll have options with extra cash in the bank. This could change your life dramatically.
-Do update your will/s: Update your all relevant estate planning documents. You'll need to see your lawyer or notary.
-Do know what kind of lifestyle you want: This is a big decision. Do you want to live downtown, by the ocean, do you want a condo, a townhouse, age restricted housing, etc.
-Do think long term: Would too many stairs possibly be an issue, what kind of maintenance responsibilities do you want (houses always require more of your attention), do you want to accommodate family and friends when they visit, should one spouse pass on would the surviving spouse continue to want to live in the “new” home, etc.
-Do calculate the impact on your pension/s: With all that extra cash to invest take the time to calculate the impact on your pension/s, social security entitlements, your tax exposure, etc.
-Do be patient: It takes time to explore the options. Think about how each option fits into your lifestyle and then finding the perfect property in that option.
These are just a few of the don'ts and dos when considering downsizing. I hope these tips help you as you open a new chapter in your life.