Today’s aging boomers have been considering the downsize move for quite some time now. Some take a month or so, some take years. Timing largely depends on all the variables in the current living situation. Are your kids still living at home? Does the current home suit you? Are you emotionally attached to your home, and, or your belongings? It is normal, so, normal to have concerns. Trust me, we hear everything. ‘Yikes, the realtor is coming’. This means kids, grandkids, caregivers on site when we show up to ensure their loved one is not being taken advantage of.
R-E-L-A-X! Seriously… most of us have handled the downsizer and have gotten pretty good at cooling out the entourage that becomes part of the package deal of those we have to keep in the loop for fear we are about to take advantage of your loved one. We have parents of our own. We have aging Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents. We get it. But, we also are a huge wealth of information. Everything from moving companies to organizers to people who will help with receiving donations. This is what we do for a living. We are here to help you feel as comfortable as possible as your journey through the inevitable process called downsizing.
Oftentimes, it is a lot easier to let us do what we do, rather than direct how we do it. We are used to the angry, tearful and frightened responses. We welcome your entourage’s attendance and, often, insist on it, particularly when you neglect to tell us you have been diagnosed with early onset dementia. That, we cannot know on first meeting. We are not trained in nursing, but, most of us who deal with the elderly, will pick up on the behaviours familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s after we visit with you 2-3 times. When we are aware, we will take steps to ensure your family is present for all signing so that the decisions you are making are sound. The process can take a long time. In fact, sometimes, we have worked with downsizers for a year as it takes time to rid the home of a lifetime of collectibles. Your process is just that…yours.
Most often, we hear….’I don’t want to waste your time. It’s best not to look at anything as I am not planning to move for another 5 years.’ Ok, you may not be planning, but, what if something unforeseen is to happen in the next six months that moves this timeline forward? Then, you are not ready, you are not prepared. We are planners by nature. Most of us save and plan for the purchase of our first home. Right? We plan where our children are going to go to school and what parks they will play in. So, we plan our purchases around the neighbourhoods that will tend to offer the amenities a family needs close at hand.
One thing for absolute certain is that the downsize move is likely the most critical move you will ever make. Why? Because you are planning for life’s unfortunate unforeseen events. When will I no longer be able to drive? Think how that will impact your purchase decision. If I am not able to drive, what amenities do I need close at hand? What if I end up in a wheelchair. Is the housing I am considering conducive to accessible living?
Now reflect on this. Resale availability. In resale real estate, if you have to move, you have available to you only what is on the market at the time you are ready to purchase. Would it not be better to educate yourself over time to actually view units inside buildings you might consider? What we find disheartening is starting the search process when a buyer is forced to sell. That is sad as it makes the process stressful and it truly is not necessary as you could have started long before you had to. Akin to will preparation and estate planning, starting your process sooner than you are planning is just smart.