Advice for Downsizing in a Post-Pandemic World

Guest blog post by Claire Wentz

While it’s usually an emotionally and often physically challenging process, downsizing can be a refreshing change of pace. Not only does it simplify your life, but can help you thrive, live safely and comfortably through every stage of your life.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have upended the lives of millions of Americans and changed how the real estate and moving industries operate, you can still downsize right now. Below, you will find advice on how to navigate the process of downsizing in these challenging times.

Selling Your Home - If you need to sell your home before you make any other moves in your downsizing process, you can. While things have changed due to the pandemic, people are still buying homes. Of course, much of the process looks different right now. In some cases, home tours, inspections, appraisals, and closings are being done virtually/electronically. However, some aspects of the process remain the same. You will still need to take steps toward boosting the appeal of your home and make necessary repairs.

Decluttering Your Belongings - Better Homes & Garden notes decluttering your belongings is a good first step when you downsize. Go through each room in your home and put each item into one of three piles: keep, toss, or store. Allow yourself to reminisce about sentimental items; you can even make an event out of it by inviting family members over to reminisce and help you declutter. As you’re sorting through your belongings, determine what to do with the items you won’t be able to take with you to the new home. Options to consider include selling, donating, recycling, and/or putting items in a storage unit. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic happening, people across the country are still downsizing. Be sure to hire a good real estate agent to help you through the processes of selling and buying a home, and consider working with a professional moving company. Finally, take your time while decluttering, and determine what to do with the items you can’t take with you.

Buying the Right Home - As with selling a home, buying a home looks a bit different since the pandemic. You can view properties via 3D walkthroughs, virtual open houses, and video-chat tours, all of which can prove invaluable when you’re trying to find the perfect home while self-isolating. It’s still important to have a trusted agent working by your side as you look for your new home. Your agent should be able to point you in the right direction in an online home search, and they should know what to look for when it comes to your everyday needs. If you’re an older buyer and this next home is where you want to age in place, you will need to make sure it fits your current and future needs. Seniors Matters suggests looking for a home with an age-appropriate layout, and if there are parts about the home that are not accessible, make sure that modifications can be made.

Before looking at homes, you’ll want to make sure you know how much you can spend, so include the cost of modifications in your home-buying budget. It’s typically best to get preapproved for a mortgage so you can move quickly if you find the ideal home and so sellers know you’re a serious buyer. To learn more about the different types of loans available and what you may qualify for, visit the websites of a few different mortgage lenders to find out which provider works best for you.

If you’re unsure of which neighborhood you want to reside in, consider renting a vacation home for a week or so to see if the area measures up to your needs and the activities you enjoy. This is a good practice to let you figure out if the prospective neighborhood is right for you.

Hiring Professional Movers - Although restrictions are being lifted, many moving companies are still taking strict precautions in how they work, such as limiting the number of team members on each project, wearing gloves and masks, and disinfecting their equipment. Hiring professional movers can make your entire downsizing process go much more smoothly. Your total cost will depend on several factors, such as how far you’re moving, how many belongings you’re taking, and how quickly you need your belongings delivered.

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