Dear David: We would like to downsize in the next six months. We haven’t sold a house in 40 years, how do we prepare for a move? – READY TO ROLL
DEAR READY: Regardless of whether your last move was four years or four decades ago, having a plan in place will help you manage the important details. I suggest you start by thinking about what the next chapter of your life will look like. Would you prefer to stay in town or relocate? Do you want to be closer to your kids or grandkids? Are you in good health, or in need of care? These factors will influence your decision and may help you envision what type of space will work best for you. You wouldn’t leave on vacation without choosing a destination. Likewise, decisions about your move will be easier to make when you know where you’re headed.
Reflect on your current home early in the process. It may help to have an experienced Realtor look at what could be done to make your house more saleable. I rarely recommend taking on major renovations at this stage, but often suggest that homeowners manage deferred maintenance items (like a broken window or a worn roof) as these can make a property appear as if it has not been cared for properly.
If you are like most of us, you’ve probably accumulated a fair bit of “stuff” over the years and will need to figure out how much of it is coming with you. When getting ready to downsize, most people start by selecting their favourite pieces of furniture to furnish their new home, which makes it easier to leave behind what you no longer need or what should be replaced. Ask your family if they want to inherit any of your surplus furnishings. If there is interest, have them pick these items up immediately, as waiting on someone to drop by at their convenience can sometimes hold up your entire moving process.
Depending on the volume and the value of what you have left, you may want to hire an online auction company to oversee a bulk sale, or consider donating to a local charity that can help another family get a strong start.
For things that are outdated, damaged, or not in a condition to donate, your easiest and most affordable option may be renting a dumpster for the driveway. Depending on how much you’ve stowed away over the years, this can be the simplest way to cleanse your home of broken planters, small appliance packaging, and that rack of shoes from the early 2000’s that you’ll probably never wear again. With a bin on site, you can check every corner of your home (from the attic, to the shed, to the back of the bathroom cupboards) and hopefully eliminate the need for a truck and multiple trips to the dump.
PRO TIP: If your home is feeling cramped, ridding your house of extra stuff can be a cathartic process, whether or not you plan to prepare for a move. Our family does this type of purge every five to ten years and find it helps us make the most of our available space. #AskDavid #Advice