When to downsize, Open house tips


Dear David,

We’ve lived in out home over 50 years and have recently had a couple of health scares. We feel like it might be time to consider a retirement home or village. Where do we start our search? Do we just look in the yellow pages? – OVERWHELMED

DEAR OVERWHELMED: There are certainly a lot of options out there. To simplify the search, start by deciding which type of living arrangement feels right to you. When right-sizing from a family home, some people opt for a simplified approach (like a condominium) in which many outdoor aspects of home ownership can be managed for you. The majority of condo complexes are not age-specific and tend hold as much appeal for young executives as they do for those in retirement.

If you’d prefer to be in a community of people who are close in age, you may decide to look for a retirement village specifically. As a Seniors Specialist, I am well versed in the available options and factors that may sway your choice, such as smoking or pet ownership. With your health scares weighing heavily, you may wish to consider something that offers varying degrees of care, from meal preparation to full-on nursing. Often, these services can be accessed from within the complex, but won’t become part of your day-to-day living unless you request them.

As you think about what your next home might look like, there are definite steps you can take to simplify the transition. Make the most of your resources as a homeowner by taking as much to the curb each week as you can. If you’re storing things you thought you needed 30 years ago, but they haven’t seen the light of day, they can probably be edited out of your collection.  While this may seem like a massive task, it’s like the old saying about eating an elephant: you get the job done one bite at a time. Pro Tip: Start de-cluttering now. It’s easier to make decisions when you’re not in a crisis and can thoughtfully weigh out your choices.

Dear David,

I am selling my home on my own and would like to try hosting an Open House. Any tips? – HOST WITH THE MOST

DEAR HOST: The trick to preparing for an open house is to look at your home through a stranger’s eyes. Any of us who’ve gotten used to our surroundings tend to overlook little “problem areas”, but a buyer won’t. You’ll need to be prepared.

Tackle any obvious de-cluttering that needs to be done. Open the windows and let in some fresh air. If applicable, stop smoking in the house, garage, or on the porch. If smoke from these areas has a chance to come in contact with an open door or window, the smell will be in your home and an increasing number of buyers are sensitive to it.

Put away your jewelry and small valuables. Check your medicine cabinet and hide any medications. Turn your furnace fan to the full “on” position, not just “auto”. This adjustment may cost you a few extra dollars a month, but it will balance the airflow through the house and in most cases, will keep the basement feeling normalized rather than cool and damp. Pro Tip: If you use a dehumidifier to keep the home from feeling damp, get rid of it for open houses and showings. This normal and common appliance has a way of making buyers nervous. #AskDavid