Help available if you plan on downsizing your home


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Marni Jameson wrote the book “Downsizing the Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go.”

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If you’re a senior citizen and thinking about downsizing your home, now might be the best time in Brevard County.

That’s the message from Sara Forst Griffin, a real estate agent with Re/Max Aerospace Realty and a lifelong Brevard resident.

“Right now, home values are up in Brevard County,” said Griffin, a 20-year real estate agent who works out of the company’s Murrell Road location in Rockledge. “But I don’t see that trend lasting much longer. Home sales are leveling off and there are signs that sales are getting weak.”

Before you decide to downsize your home, Griffin said there are many issues and decisions you have to make before you begin the process.

“I think one of the first things you have to do is explain to them the cost of selling your home,” she said. “Many seniors don’t realize there is a checklist of things you have to do before getting the property ready for selling.”

Another important step is selecting the right real estate agent, especially one who has experience in working with seniors that plan on downsizing their home.

Since 2008, Griffin has been designated as a senior real estate specialist. That means she has taken advanced training courses through the National Association of Realtors to specifically work with seniors and their families that are planning to downsize their home.

“In that training, you are taught how to work with seniors and guide them through all the necessary steps,” she said.

Griffin said many seniors want to downsize but are scared to take the step. “That’s where I come in,” she said. “You have to build that trust with the client and help them with all the steps — where to start and what to do.”

According to the website — balance.com — there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of downsizing your home.

Now that you’re thinking about downsizing, when is the best age to do it?

A recent study by Retirementmove.com revealed the perfect age to downsize is 64. The study says this is the time when people that age are generally mentally agile enough to be able to deal with the buying and selling of property.

The study reports this is the age when downsizing and the ridding of unused space, extreme rooms or difficult to manage gardens and yards pays off best. The study also found that half of over 60s admit they struggle to maintain their property, and a third find it hard to keep on top of their garden or yard.

“The results show that people want to make the most of later life and sometimes they can be restricted in that due to being tied to a property they struggle to fill or maintain,” said Richard Drew, CEO of Retirementmove.

“The prospect of moving a home is daunting whatever your age, but downsizing at the right time can help avoid years of struggling to manage a larger space or feeling overwhelmed with your current property. Moving at the right time means retirees can get the best out of their new homes, ensuring a focus on living a fulfilling and enjoyable time of life, rather than worrying about property maintenance or upkeep for a place that’s no longer suitable.”

The study brings to the fore the idea that life really does begin at 60.

“Part of planning for retirement is not about the ‘end’ but about new beginnings,” Drew added.

Marni Jameson, a syndicated home and lifestyle columnist and the author of the 2016 book, “Downsizing the Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go,” says one of the biggest obstacles facing seniors is getting past the “emotional component” of the process.

“Find your purpose as to why you’re doing it,” she said. “And remember, keep your eye on the prize. Try to overcome the resistance not to act. Confront the reality.”

Jameson also said that dealing with your children and the disbursement of furniture and other family possessions, can be very stressful and emotional.

“Believe your kids when they tell you they don’t want your dining room set,” she continued. “In most cases, the kids want you to sell the furniture and keep the money for yourself.”  

Next month, Senior Life will examine the process of upsizing to a larger home.

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