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Earlier, we wrote a blog about the most common downsizing mistakes we see. Today, we’re sharing 9 more mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not putting in the time and effort to prepare your home before listing it for sale:

Maximizing the sale price of your current home buys you freedom in your new downsized life – whether that’s freedom to travel, freedom to financially help your kids and grandkids or freedom to take on new hobbies. If you want top dollar for your home, you’ll want to make sure you make any necessary repairs and get it professionally staged. We wrote a blog about how to prepare your home for sale here.  

Mistake #2: Not measuring your furniture:

When you’re moving into a smaller space, it’s important to measure your furniture before you move in to avoid the frustration of realizing that your couch or bed won’t fit in your new home. To measure your furniture, use a tape measure to determine the length, width, and height of each piece. Write down these measurements and compare them to the dimensions of your new space. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to consider the size of doorways, hallways, and stairwells when moving your furniture. If you find that some of your furniture won’t fit, consider selling or donating it and buying new pieces that are better suited to your new space. 

Mistake #3: Timing it wrong:

While there is no one answer to the question of whether you should buy before selling or sell before buying, it’s important to consider all the implications of whichever path you choose. Most downsizers we work with tend to prioritize where they are moving to, over the sale of their current home, but every situation is different. Make sure to talk to your real estate agent about the current health of the real estate market and how that might impact the timing of your downsize – it’s never too early to involve them in the process. 

Mistake #4: Holding onto too many sentimental items:

Sentimental items can be difficult to let go of, but it’s important to remember that memories are not tied to physical objects. Consider taking photos or creating a memory box instead of holding onto large items that take up valuable space.

Mistake #5: Not considering storage options:

When downsizing, it’s important to consider your storage options. While you should aim to get rid of as much as possible, there may be some items that you want to keep but that won’t fit in your new space. Consider renting a storage unit or using a friend or family member’s garage for these items. If you decide to rent a storatge unit, consider factors such as location, size, insurance options and cost. Make sure that the storage unit is climate-controlled to protect your belongings from temperature and humidity changes. Consider investing in shelving units to maximize the space in your storage unit and keep your belongings organized.

Mistake #6: Hiring the wrong real estate agent:

When you hire the right REALTOR, you’ll get the support and services you need to make downsizing a smoother process. Hire someone who has specific experience in helping downsizers and who offers wraparound services to support you in both the selling and buying or renting process. Before hiring an agent to accompany you on this journey, make sure to read online reviews and talk to friends and family who’ve had positive downsizing experiences. 

Mistake #7: Having unrealistic expectations about the value of your home:

If you’re planning to downsize, make sure you understand how much your home is really worth. If you’ve lived in your home for 25 years and haven’t updated it much, it won’t be worth as much as the house across the street that was fully renovated and sold for a record-breaking price. There’s demand in Toronto for all types of houses in all condtons – but they fetch different prices. Talk to your agent about what to expect before you move forward with buying or renting a new home. And when it comes time to list your home for sale, make sure to set a realistic asking price so that you don’t languish on the market and derail your downsizing plans.  

Mistake #8: Not downsizing your paperwork:

When downsizing, it’s easy to overlook paperwork which can take up a lot of space and create clutter. Go through your paperwork and shred or recycle anything that you don’t need. Consider digitizing important documents so that you can access them easily without taking up physical space. To downsize your paperwork, start by sorting it into piles for keeping, shredding, and recycling. Keep important documents such as birth certificates, passports, and insurance policies in a safe and secure place. Use a smartphone app to digitize your important documents so you can easily access them when you need them. 

Mistake #9: Forgetting to take care of yourself during the downsizing process.

Downsizing can be physically and emotionally draining, so make sure to take breaks and get enough rest. Start early, build a plan and don’t be afraid to seek support from friends and family. 

Downsizing to a smaller isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Avoid these common downsizing mistakes and seek support when you need it – and you’ll be well on your way to starting a new chapter in your life.

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