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    By Shirley Martin | Nov 1, 2020

    Downsizing Done Right, and Mistakes to Avoid Along the Way

    When we are moving up in our careers and raising our families, we tend to think that more is the best motto as far as our housing is concerned. While this might be true in some instances, there are certain times in our lives when that extra space doesn’t make any sense. If you are thinking about downsizing during your retirement, keep reading for tips on how to do it.

    First, Evaluate Your Current Space

    One of the most important steps you can take toward enjoying your full retirement is to look for reasons that a move might make the most sense. If you’re living in a large home with stairs, for example, you are at a greater risk of falling than those living in ranch-style dwellings.

    Ultimately, if you decide your home is too large, you’ll want to begin looking at new neighborhoods. Downtown areas are generally walk-friendly while the suburbs — midtown locales — have a more neighborhood feel. You also have the option of looking into assisted or independent living (more on that in a moment). Whichever environment you choose, spend some time looking at the crime maps. You can also drive through the neighborhood to evaluate the condition of the homes to give you a better idea of the area’s safety.

    Once you’ve chosen an area, it’s time to connect with a knowledgeable and experienced realtor. Schedule a call with a real estate professional at Bergen County Properties to find your Northern New Jersey dream home!

    Next, Decide If Living Alone Is Really Right for You

    We previously mentioned independent and assisted living, and these are great options if you find that doing things like cleaning the house and remembering to pay your bills on time become a recurrent challenge. Independent living will allow you to remain active with very few boundaries. In most cases, you can keep your vehicle and will have a private, often free-standing house. Assisted living is similar but activities may be structured, and the setup is more akin to a medically staffed apartment building.

    Be cautious when making your choice and, if you think your needs may change, confirm that your preferred community offers transitional services. You also need to consider the cost. Neither assisted nor independent living is routinely covered by Medicare, and you may have to use your life insurance or pension to pay your way.

    And Now, Get Ready to Call a Moving Company

    Perhaps the worst mistake you can make once you decide to move is trying to tackle the process on your own. Our short and sweet tip here is to look for a moving company that’s licensed, insured, and up front with their rates. After all, the last thing you want is to throw out your back before you get settled into your new home.

    Finally, Know How to Let Go

    Your moving company will ask you how much stuff, exactly, you plan to take with you. Your initial instinct might be “all of it.” But, in reality, it’s time to purge. You likely won’t comfortably fit a four-bedroom-house-worth of stuff into your downsized dwelling. Joanna Gaines suggests setting physical limits and giving yourself a timeline to clear things out.

    If you have adult children and grandchildren, they may be willing to take some large family heirlooms, such as cars and furniture. However, don’t be at all surprised if most may be hesitant to keep your great-grandmother’s China. If you want your stuff to do the most good, donate it to a charity or sell it to finance your future.

    You’ll also need to make sure your home is clean for the new owners. You’re best off hiring a maid service for this job, and if you need specialized work like carpet cleaning, you should bring in professionals for that as well. Experts recommend steam cleaning instead of shampooing because it won’t lead to carpet damage.

    When it is all said and done, you’ll be ready to move onto the next adventure. And you’ll go free of clutter and baggage that might have kept you in a potentially dangerous setup. If you are still on the fence, spend some more time looking at your space. You can also schedule tours at a few independent or assisted living centers where you may just find a new place to call home.

    Call 201-345-5405 today to schedule an appointment with a realtor from Bergen County Properties, Northern New Jersey’s most innovative real estate team!