For most couples, looking ahead to the retirement years offers a promise of time to reconnect and focus on each other. Most expect to have their children successfully reared and their finances arranged to ensure a successful transition during the last decades of life. All too often, however, one spouse is forced to go on alone, due to death or divorce.
When this happens, the one left alone must often cope with the need or desire to downsize without the support of their longtime companion. If you have found yourself in this situation recently and must now move forward to sell your current home and downsize into a smaller one by yourself, the following tips can help remove some of the stress from this potentially painful life transition.
Work out a plan for dispersing household items
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for sellers who have unexpectedly become divorced or widowed is figuring out how to divest themselves of years of sentimental household items, family heirlooms, and favorite furnishings or decor items. Since many of these things will be far too large to move to a small home, condo, or apartment after the family home is sold, placing them in long-term storage is one possibility but not always the best one.
A better plan for this dilemma, however, may be to consider bequeathing the items to grown children, grandchildren, and other relatives or friends while you are still alive. This can be a beneficial activity for several reasons including:
- it eliminates the monthly fees required for long-term storage
- it allows the bequeathing homeowner to connect with each recipient and pass on knowledge about the item's history
- it helps the homeowner break the emotional connection with their home and makes it easier for them to list it for sale
In addition to passing down treasured or valuable items, homeowners who must downsize can also consider donating extra household items and furnishings to a local shelter or church where the things they can no longer use can become helpful to others.
Seek the assistance of a dedicated real estate professional
Another important tip for homeowners who find themselves dealing with the problems of downsizing without the aid and comfort of their spouse is to seek out the assistance of an experienced, caring real estate professional. An agent who has undergone special training for the senior real estate market will be able to help with all aspects of selling and downsizing, including helping to prepare the home for market and helping the seller choose the right living option for after their home has sold. Talk with a realtor like Pablo Saban "The Gold Coast Realtor" for more help downsizing.