You may be thinking, “Great! Maybe I can sell my house and turn a big profit.” And you may be right. But you also have to consider your position when you go to buy your “downsized” home. The same market dynamics that made you a happy seller could have you paying more than you’d like for a new home.
So, it really is a balancing act. Selling in a hot market means you’re also buying in a hot market. The only way to escape this reality is to move to a less expensive part of the state — or country.
And, with a move like that, you lose things that go beyond dollars and cents – likely your community, friendly neighbors and proximity to family and friends.
Making the decision to downsize is, primarily, a money conversation. But the intangibles associated with making a big move are also important.
Meet “Tessa.” She recently came to me for advice on the topic of downsizing. Her story illustrates the importance of intangibles perfectly.
Tessa is close to retirement and has lived in her home for many years. But, she recently lost her husband and thought that a new home could help her move forward in this new phase of her life. Of course, we can all empathize with her situation; it must be challenging to remain in a home that you shared with your spouse after they pass away.
Still, Tessa was torn. While she wasn’t sure if she was truly emotionally ready to move, she had taken steps to list her home for sale.
During our conversation, I encouraged Tessa to think about the social aspects and other intangibles that figure into the notion of “home” – things that she wouldn’t necessarily have right away if she picked up and moved. For instance, I wanted her to consider whether she had a great relationship with her neighbors, whether her home was close to other friends and family, and whether her community fostered her key core pursuits in life. Like the cycling group she has participated in and loved for years.
These intangibles are important, and when we move, it takes time to reestablish them.
While decluttering her home in preparation to get it “show ready,” something changed in Tessa’s thinking.
After sorting through all the things she had accumulated over decades of living in the same space, Tessa’s feelings about the house shifted. Tidy-Up Tessa came back and told me that, after downsizing her belongings, the place just felt different.
Tessa came to the realization that, after almost three decades in the same home, there were some things that she could let go of to give her home new life. The “stuff” had made her feel overwhelmed, and without it, she breathed easier.
In the end, Tessa decided to postpone selling for now. Today, she’s living happily in her “new” home with all its intangible benefits. While Tessa doesn’t know what the future will bring, she’s going to stay for a while.
The lesson we can learn from Tidy-Up Tessa, especially if we are considering downsizing, is this: With just a little polish, what’s old might just be new, and right under your nose.
Wes Moss has been the host of “Money Matters” on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB in Atlanta for more than seven years now, and he does a live show from 9-11 a.m. Sundays. He is the chief investment strategist for Atlanta-based Capital Investment Advisors. For more information, go to wesmoss.com.
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