Thinking of Downsizing? What You Need to Consider

If you’re a senior, there could be many reasons to move from your family home.

The house might be too big or cost too much to maintain, or the neighbourhood may be changing.

Following are some tips to help you make the decision:

Right-Size: Although you need less space, you want to maintain – or even enhance – your lifestyle. Do you want storage, room for guests, a workroom? Think about bungalows, bungalofts, condos and townhouses. Many offer those little extras you enjoy in your present home.

Consider All Options: According to statistics, three-quarters of seniors stay within 31 miles of their former home.

However, with the huge number of choices now available, you can comfortably look well beyond that.

Think About Retirement Communities: They aren’t for “old people” any more. Healthy seniors are flocking to newly developed retirement communities.

Moving in With the Children: Think long and hard before moving in with the children. Do you, or they, want the complex family dynamics that happen when three generations coexist in a small space?

Get Professional Help: A good real estate agent is vital. Consider one who specializes in helping older adults find the right housing fit. He or she may also be able to recommend other local professionals, mortgage specialists, stagers, antique experts and movers.

Spring-Cleaning Can Help Sell Your Home

Spring-cleaning takes on an entirely new level of importance for those who intend to put their homes on the market.
To attract buyers, it’s very important to make a great first impression. Whether you have already listed your home or you just want to keep your options open, it’s easy to make the most of your spring cleaning with these helpful hints:

Light and Bright: In many parts of the country spring can be a great time of year to take photographs of your home even if you don’t intend to put it on the market right away. Not only does the natural lighting and lush green grass remind everyone of warmer days, but it provides a better view of the condition of the property. Be sure to trim the hedges and touch up paint or other outdoor maintenance prior to taking the picture. Simply store the photos in a safe place until it’s time to list the property.

Maintenance Made Easy: Deferred maintenance is a major consideration for new buyers seeking to make the most of every dollar. Unfortunately, long winters can take a toll on even the most well-maintained property. Unsightly carpet stains, barren landscaping and crowded storage can give the impression of a property in need of attention. Make sure your property looks its best by doing routine maintenance, including carpet and tile/grout cleaning and lawn maintenance and completely clearing away all types of clutter.

Pay Attention to Details: Details make a difference when it comes to making your home look, feel and smell fresh and clean. One of the most often overlooked areas of concern for new home shoppers is smell. Research shows smell is a powerful tool that has a tendency to work for or against sellers. Avoid harsh chemical odors or perfume-type fragrances such as room deodorizers. Opt for new enzymatic cleaning products that neutralize odors throughout the house. Pay special attention to carpets, upholstery and air ducts. Not only will it help reduce common irritants, but you can breathe easy knowing prospective buyers won’t be confronted with unpleasant pet odors or musty storage smells.

Tips for Getting That Real Estate Deal Done Right

Obtaining the services of a professional real estate agent is the first step in selling your home. In today’s tough economic times, though, every little bit helps. Following are five ways to reduce the risk of last-minute mishaps:

1. Make It Easy to Move: Small things can add up, especially when making a major move. Differentiate your property by offering to pay for secure storage, rental trucks or even a hotel room. Nearly everyone dreads having to move, so making it as easy as possible is a sure way to please even the most difficult buyer.

2. Pay for a Mini-Makeover: If the property is in need of a few repairs or upgrades, seal the deal by including funds, labor or supplies for a mini-makeover. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. For example, include a few gift cards and a couple of days of labor, help paint a room or put in new landscaping.

3. Offer Monetary Motivation: Provide an additional incentive to both the buyer and agent by offering a cash bonus for closing by a given date. You might be surprised how well this works, especially when trying to sell a home during a difficult time.

4. Entice Them With Incentives: Help prospective buyers control costs by including innovative incentives like a home warranty package or energy-efficient upgrades. A home warranty is a great way to provide additional protection against unanticipated expenses, especially when working with first-time homebuyers or others on a limited budget. Other attractive options include energy-efficient upgrades like new LED lighting, on-demand water heaters or new appliances.

5. Rent or Lease Options: Sometimes the property is perfect, but the timing isn’t. Instead of letting the entire deal turn sour, sweeten things up with the use of a well-executed lease. Allow the buyers to move in early if they need the home sooner than anticipated, or lease the property back from them if they need to delay a few months after closing.

Buying Versus Renovating: What’s the Right Decision?

Deciding whether to buy a new home or renovate your existing one is no easy task. There are pros and cons to both options.

However, it boils down to one simple question: What do you want out of it?

If space is the problem and you love your neighbourhood, an addition might well be the answer.. A floor plan that no longer works for your family, or outdated kitchens and bathrooms, may point to a renovation. On the other hand, if you are looking for a better neighbourhood, want to be closer to family, and are looking for more amenities, then buying could fit the bill.

For the most part, empty-nesters looking to downsize to a senior-friendly home with like-minded neighbours are buyers, not renovators.

The issue of timing is of utmost importance in making your decision.

An addition, rebuild or major renovation will almost always take more time and be more disruptive than a move.

You can move from the nightmare on 42nd Street to your dream house in less than two months, while a major renovation could take up to a year.

Moving is also generally less costly.

The decision is a wrenching one. Don’t expect an easy answer.

Just make sure you’re getting what you want and your decision will have been the right one.