Your big house in the suburbs was great while raising a family, but now that you’re older and the kids have flown the coop, you’re ready for something better suited to this new stage of life. Instead of sprawling square footage and spare bedrooms, you’re in search of a compact home with modern amenities and a great location where you can enjoy your retirement years.
Miami has no shortage of options for downsizing seniors, from beachfront condos to quaint cottages. But before you start the move to a downsized home, you have some big decisions to make. This guide will help you plan a downsize that delivers the retirement you’ve always imagined.
Where should you move?
The biggest question facing any downsizing homeowner is: Where should we go? Downsizing is about your retirement lifestyle as much as money. While you could slash living expenses by moving to the country, it’s rarely worth the trade-offs. As a senior, you want access to great entertainment, dining, and shopping, as well as a quality healthcare system and public transportation — and that means staying in the city.
Even within Miami, seniors have a lot of options, such as:
- Small homes: Seniors who want to scale down but don’t want to relinquish control of their home will enjoy the small single-family homes in neighborhoods like Miami’s Upper East Side, El Portal, or the more affordable Tamarac and Hollywood neighborhoods.
- Condos: Opting for a condo gives Miami retirees more options, including the popular Hialeah Gardens and Coral Way neighborhoods. Even coveted South Beach can be affordable for retirees prepared for a dramatic downsize — many condos in this walkable area are under 1,000 square feet. In exchange for monthly dues, condo associations offer perks like common areas, fitness centers, and maintenance.
- Retirement communities: If one of your downsizing goals is to expand your social life, consider buying into a retirement community. Retirement communities are designed for independent living but offer amenities like landscaping and light housekeeping to make life easier.
- Assisted living: If you’d prefer more help than independent living provides, assisted living is the choice for you. Luckily, assisted living in Miami doesn’t require giving up your lifestyle. While you’ll still find must-have services like residential care and meals, you’ll also enjoy amenities like waterfront locations, private terraces, and pools and spas. You can also choose an assisted living facility near one of Miami’s best hospitals like Kendall Regional Medical Center. Of course, both amenities and prices vary, so you’ll want to spend some time researching your options, and A Place for Mom notes there are plenty of facilities to choose from.
What should you spend?
What you spend on downsizing depends on your goals. If your downsize is motivated by lifestyle, it may be worth upsizing your expenses to afford your ideal neighborhood. However, many seniors have finances on the mind as well. If you’re downsizing to save money, aim for a home that’s at least 25% cheaper than your current home. Due to moving, closing costs, and other downsizing expenses, a smaller price difference is unlikely to be worth the effort.
What should you do with your stuff?
Buying and selling homes is complicated, but it’s not the part of downsizing most seniors dread. Rather, what scares retirees away from selling their homes is the prospect of emptying them out. With decades of belongings ranging from the sentimental to the long-forgotten, sorting through the house is a daunting task.
As tempting as it is to sell items piecemeal for the best price, listing individual items and coordinating with buyers is rarely worth the hassle. For high-value items like antiques, artwork, and designer clothing, look to consignment shops. For general household items, consider hosting an estate sale or donating and taking the tax deduction instead. You may want to hold onto a few items for your kids, but avoid putting the whole house in storage — while it’s hard to part with items now, it will be even harder later.
Downsizing doesn’t have to mean downgrading. Even if you’re looking to cut expenses, you can downsize your Miami home while maintaining the vibrant, active lifestyle you love. When you’re ready to downsize your home, reach out to South Florida real estate professionals who will help you sell your home fast so you can start living your retirement dream. Image via Unsplash