We have been living in Grand Junction for nearly 12 years and when we moved here we had our 3 children living at home and our lifestyle required much more space, inside and out, then it does now that they have moved out. We are in our late 50s and have a large home on several acres and we need to downsize our home and land, as it has become way too much for us to keep up with. First, is this a good market to down size in? Second, we are struggling with where to begin. We have so much stuff that has accumulated over the years that the process is very daunting. Any words of wisdom you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
William and Barb, Grand Junction
William and Barb,
Downsizing can be a very daunting task that can seem overwhelming as you sit and look at everything that has to be done. I would suggest to create a game plan and timeline for making your move. Break it down and put a realistic timeline on the items that need to be completed and then mark them off as you get them done. This timeline will help make the process not appear so daunting and will give you steps to complete and when you complete them. This will also allow you to see your progress as you mark off the tasks and this will serve as mini rewards as you mark of each step. That being said, it still can be quite overwhelming. Hang in there!
My view on timing, when you buy and sell in the same market, then all things are relative. When your home goes down 10%, so does you neighbor and visa versa. There is no doubt that 10% of $400,000 is more than 10% of $200,000 and this is probably where you have heard the side of the story that it is a great time to move up, but not necessarily a great time to move down. The question you must ask yourself, how long will it take for the market to come back up? And am I willing to keep slaving away on the large house and land or am I willing to cut ties and make a serious lifestyle change? A quality of lifestyle change is typically worth the trade off of waiting for your property to come up in value, but only you can make that decision. After you have decided if the time is right, the next steps are the one’s that can take the wind out of your sails.
First, assess your current and future space needs. Walk through your home and ask yourself questions about all your belongings. Do you use your exercise equipment? How often do we eat at the dining room table? How many times have we used the sitting room in the past year? If you have a collection of 300 books, do you really need to collect them? Or better yet, are you going to read them again anytime soon? Same can be said for movies, etc... Many times, much of what we have accumulated is kept for those “just in case” moments. "Just in case” moments can lead to a never ending amount of clutter that needs to be thinned out, because “just in case” moments do not come around very often. We keep things around "just in case", or hoping that their presence will eventually encourage us to use them. For the items you really have a hard time getting rid of, make an agreement with yourself and put the items in storage. If you don't need or use them within 6 months, give, sell or throw them away. I bet you find that most of your stuff you do not need. That is when you will realize your space requirements may be much smaller than you originally thought.
After you have downsized the amount of stuff you have or have a good grasp on what stays and what will go, you need to start looking at replacement homes. Go out on a home viewing tour and establish if there are homes currently on the market that will meet your new “downsized” needs and living requirements. A good rule of thumb, we use, is to go out and view homes and if you can find two or more homes that you would be happy with, then it is reasonable to anticipate you can find a home you will love, once your home goes under contract.
Remember, control the things you can control and try not to eat the cow in one bite! You need to pace yourself and making a game plan with realistic goals will help set you up to succeed and make the process as enjoyable as it can be. I will also warn you, once you start getting rid of your unused stuff, it can be addictive and fun. Have fun with it so you can look back on it as a rewarding experience and setting up goals and crossing them off leads to a positive outcome! Hope this helps.
The Kimbrough Team