The Nest

NestApple's Real Estate Blog

Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

Smaller Home, Less Worry, But Lots of Work to Get There

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A smaller home might equal less worry. Whether you are moving to a small single-family home or getting ready to enter an assisted living center, there are many things to consider before you start the downsizing process. From deciding which of your personal belongings to get rid of to finding the right home for your budget and lifestyle, you have your work cut out for you. Below are a few tips on how to get through the process so you can get back to enjoying your retirement.

The Space Race

If you’re planning to say goodbye to floor space for a smaller home that’s easier to take care of, one of the first things you’ll need to tackle is deciding what to keep. Nationwide Insurance recommends measuring each room in your new home to see which of your current pieces of furniture will actually fit. Don’t simply look at the square footage, you will also need to pay attention to the flow of the room and make sure you are not blocking doors or windows.

The Big Stuff Isn’t All

Deciding which furniture will and will not fit is the easy part. However, your home is full of personal belongings and keepsakes, many of which you might have had for an entire lifetime. Your next task is to get to work purging the closets, storage chests, and extra bedrooms. Unfortunately, you probably will not be able to accommodate everything in your new home, but you don’t necessarily have to let it go.

Consider your options carefully, whether that is passing cherished heirlooms on to your children or grandchildren or renting a storage unit so that you can always access the things you love. Keep in mind, however, that storage facilities in NYC aren’t always cheap, but if you take your time and do some research, you can find a great deal. One example is Manhattan Mini Storage on South Street in the Lower East Side, which currently offers 30 percent off with a six-month agreement. As a bonus, if you reserve online, you can also take advantage of current specials, including free use of the company’s movers. If nothing else, clearing your home of clutter can make it easier when it’s time to pack for the move.

Home Design Elements

When planning for the future, you should think about how your new home, apartment, or condominium is designed. While it’s not a dealbreaker, a structure with elements of universal design already incorporated can make things much easier if mobility issues are a problem. The National Institute on Aging also points out that non-skid floors, a ramp at the entry, and handles on faucets and doors in place of knobs are all senior-friendly features.

Perhaps most importantly for seniors is finding a home for single-story living. If you’ve never lived in a single-story dwelling before, you can browse floor plans online to get an idea of the different types of layout that are available.

Other helpful tips

  • Hire a licensed and insured moving service. Few things are worse than suffering a major injury or strained back when you’re trying to settle into a new home.
  • Check for access to public transportation. If you don’t drive, this may be your only option for getting around.
  • Make sure there are Medicare-approved doctors nearby. Not all physicians accept Medicare, and even among who that do, some might not offer services for Original Medicare plan members.

Moving to a smaller home is a big deal. A smaller home might equal less worry. It requires planning and an understanding that you can’t take everything with you. Even with the hassles and headaches, downsizing can open up a new world of possibilities. A smaller home means less maintenance and more cash in your pocket. This frees up time and money to enjoy life now that your nine-to-five hours are your own.

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Georges Benoliel

Georges has been working in Wall Street for the last 16 years trading derivatives with hedge funds. He has been an active real estate investor for over a decade. Georges graduated from HEC Business School in Paris and holds a master in Finance from ESADE Barcelona.