Managing a household can be a full time job! The older we get, the harder it can be to maintain. Maybe your kids are grown and out of the house and you need less space. Maybe you are less mobile than you once were and the move to downsize your home to a one story house would eliminate the need for stairs.
There are plenty of valid reasons to downsize your home…including retirement! There is no shame in adjusting to your needs as they evolve. The next phase of your life can seem daunting, but 23 Legal is here to help facilitate that transition.
In this blog, attorney Ben Weaver will cover the many benefits of downsizing + selling your home, tips on how to downsize effectively, and resources to help you have a smooth experience…
Downsizing has multiple benefits for you and your family. A smaller home generally means there is less of a financial strain, a lower mortgage to pay off, and much less house to clean. Let’s take a look at the upsides…
- Increased Cash flow: Generally, the smaller the living space, the less expensive it is. Instead of putting every penny towards your mortgage, enjoy your hard-earned money in different ways!
- Eliminate Clutter: Downsizing presents the perfect opportunity to declutter. We accumulate numerous pieces of furniture and sentimental belongings over time. Moving to a smaller home presents an opportunity to prioritize what belongings are most important to you.
- More Free Time: After downsizing, tedious household chores become less time-consuming because there are fewer shelves to dust, less carpet to vacuum, and less house to clean.
- Lower Utility Bills: A smaller home incurs less utility cost. There are fewer rooms to heat up or cool down, fewer bathrooms to run the water bill up, and fewer lights on.
- Minimize Stress: This free time lets you take up new hobbies like painting, playing tennis or joining a book club. It can also mean more time for family and friends, helping you strengthen bonds and get more enjoyment out of the simpler things in life – especially in retirement.
To determine the best time to sell your home, it’s important to look at the real estate market’s trends and its forecasts. The best time to sell your home is during a period that experts call a “seller’s market”. Maximize your profits when selling your home so you can enjoy retirement and spoil your grandchildren! Here are a few stats that will encourage you to make a move on downsizing:
- The year-end stats show that Illinois home sales went up 11.8 percent and median prices rose 11.1 percent as homes sold quicker in 2021 compared to 2020.
- The statewide median price in the Illinois housing market was $244,000, up 7.3% from $227,313 in December 2020.
- The average time it took to sell a home was 33 days, down from 42 days a year ago.
- According to Fannie Mae’s latest set of predictions for 2022, home price growth in the United States is forecasted to be slower than in 2021, but still, be strong by historical standards.
- According to the housing forecast published by the Illinois Association of Realtors and presented by Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, Institute of Government and Public Affairs University of Illinois, in 2022, median prices are expected to grow continuously within a narrower and lower range than in 2021. On a year-to-year basis, these gains will range from 2.0% to 7.9% for Illinois and 1.4% to 7.7% for the Chicago.
Clearly, 2022 is an optimal time to make a profit off your beloved home so you can enjoy retirement in style!
How to Downsize Effectively
Once you’ve decided the best option for you is to downsize your home, let’s talk about how to make it happen…
- Make a moving plan: Moving is a big job, so make sure you chart a course and don’t take it all on at once. Take a trip to your new place to get a feel for the room sizes. Think of where your furniture would look best in your new home. Start with large items then move to smaller ones.
- Start as soon as possible, but pace yourself: A general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to start at least 3 months before you plan to move but honestly, the sooner the better. Aside from getting a jump on the downsizing process, you can also keep your home free of clutter and things you no longer need. Let’s walk through four different methods of organizing clutter when it’s time to downsize your home:
- One-a-day method: Let go of one item per day or let go of the number of items that corresponds with the date (i.e. giving away 12 items on the 12th of a given month).
- Closet-hanger method: Face all closet hanger hooks away from you. Once you wear an item, turn the hanger hook toward you. After 6 months, donate any clothes that are still facing away.
- KonMari Method: Take on clutter by category (clothes, paper/books, miscellaneous items and then sentimental items). If an item no longer “sparks joy” then it’s time to get rid of it.
- Four-box method: Restrict your options for what to do with a particular item by only giving yourself four options. Typically, these options are keep, donate, trash/recycle and sell. You should try to avoid putting items in storage.
- Preserve memories: Digitize photos to save space and easily share them with family. Photo albums take up a lot of room, and how often do you actually go through them? Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all of your photos in a rotating slideshow or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer.
- Measure out your new space: In order to properly downsize your home, you have to know the size of the space you’re aiming to fit into. Ideally, you’ll know the square footage and shape of each room. This will help you figure out which large furniture pieces you should get rid of before the move. If you don’t have the exact measurements of your new place or don’t have a new place selected yet, focus on decluttering and getting rid of items you know you won’t need. Once you get more specifics, you can dig into those items that you were on the fence about.
- Partner with Attorney Ben Weaver at 23 Legal: Buying or selling a home can get complicated. And if you are looking to downsize your home, chances are you’re doing a bit of both. There are countless documents that require reviewing and signatures. People can find this part of the process tiresome as well as be confused by the legal jargon. When a lawyer isn’t involved, you may even be tempted to just glance over details and sign away just to speed up the process. That’s a very bad idea! We always recommend that you hire an experienced attorney to review legal documents before you sign anything!
“Ben Weaver, 23 Legal LLC, recently handled the closing of the sale of our home in Arlington Heights. Ben was very helpful at every stage of the process and we would recommend him to anyone looking for a qualified real estate attorney.” – Client Testimonial
The wonderful collection of moments and memories over time is what turns a house into a home. And though it can be hard to move away from the foundation you’ve established, it’s okay to acknowledge you are due for a new exciting chapter in your life!
Whether you are getting older and want a more accessible home, or you are a recent empty nester with more rooms and space than you need, we’re here to help! When you are ready to sell your home, contact attorney Ben Weaver to assist you with the closing process AND with adjusting your estate plan accordingly. Don’t have an estate plan or living will? Let’s fix that! Read our blog to learn why estate planning is a must at any age.
Ready to sell your home and begin the process of downsizing? Enter the next chapter of your life with 23 Legal!
Why Choose 23 Legal
23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.