Is it time to downsize my home

Just the thought of a move can be overwhelming for many seniors and their families. If you’re thinking of downsizing, click here for my free guide to downsizing.

Downsizing a home is one of the tougher challenges baby boomers and seniors deal with

Start by asking yourself these questions.

1. Is maintaining your house starting to wear you down?
2. Are you comfortable managing your daily routines?
3. Can you get around to stores, restaurants, and social activities?
4. How much support would you have in an emergency?
5. Will loved ones worry about you and do your children need peace of mind that you’re safe?

A report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices,” conducted by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave, explores the housing options for active adults, retirement hotspots, and advantages of downsizing or remodeling for aging in place.

Upsizing, not downsizing is common

Here’s a surprise. You probably assume most retirees move to downsize. In fact, 49% actually upsize. Some do it to accommodate visiting grandchildren. Other retirees are in a boomerang situation. 16% have adult children return to live with them.

Between 1980 and 2010 the number of multigenerational households doubled from 11% to 22%. Even now, after the pandemic, I don’t see this trend changing.  In fact, it appears stronger than ever!

Emotional connections to home

Think a move to a sunshine state is the norm? Only one-third of respondents expect that warm climate to be a permanent stay. That’s because of emotional connections with their home and town.  

I’m finding that since the pandemic, I’m working with past clients who had made the move to Florida, but are coming back to be closer to family, especially the grandkids.  Many are buying a condo in Maryland for the summer months, and keeping their current Florida condo.  

Technology has a role

Remodeling often includes technology upgrades to make homes more connected and secure. Tech upgrades upgrades include apps that control appliances and smart thermostats to reduce utility bills.

Three-quarters of active adults look to technology to monitor their health through sensors, alerts, and medication reminders. 64% are interested in technology that lets them better connect with family and friends through video chat, for example.

Preparing for the future

The report also offers topics to consider when you’re thinking about the future and making housing decisions:

1. Think of future life stages and priorities regarding things like affordability, climate, proximity to family and friends. Recreational or cultural activities are important. Maybe you’d like opportunities for continued work. Test-drive potential relocation areas by making long visits or doing short-term rentals.

2. Weigh the expenses of your options. These include mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, relocation expenses, and any renovations you’d like to make for lifestyle or for aging-in-place.

3. Decide if paying off your mortgage before retirement would be beneficial to your long-term plan.

4. Have a strategy for long-term care. Look at options to receive care where you most prefer, whether that’s is at home or in assisted living.

5. Consider home modifications – both physical ones, like installing ramp, and technological ones for remote health monitoring. Think about the services you’ll need to remain in your own house if you face health issues.

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