Finding the right home can be the key to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life as you grow older, and for most seniors, that includes downsizing to a more manageable property. It’s also a chance to rethink your lifestyle. Here is essential advice for making the transition in a way that encourages a great quality of life throughout your golden years.  


The Wisdom of Downsizing


Downsizing is a popular movement for many important reasons, and for seniors, it can make especially good sense. Having a home that is more than you need, or more than you want to tend, can be a drain on your money and energy. As HomeAdvisor explains, “Having fewer financial- and maintenance-related responsibilities will allow you to focus more on your happiness and less on your home,” making downsizing ideal for your golden years. Weigh what your priorities are for your future. Are you ready to spend more time with your grandchildren? Do the golf links call your name? Would you like to be within walking distance of parks, groceries, public transportation, or the farmers market? Now is your chance to reframe your life in a manner that will be satisfying, safe, and fun.


Cutting Clutter


Moving into a smaller home means you will have less space for belongings. Paring down tends to be a time-consuming task, so the sooner you start, the better. Go through your home, area by area, and declutter. Try starting with items you have duplicates of, and keep your favorites or the newest of those particular items. Sort everything into piles of things that you intend to keep, those you will sell or rehome, and items better off recycled or discarded. You can even take the opportunity to start packing the keepers.


Do Some Pruning


Editing furniture can be especially challenging, particularly if you have large, overstuffed selections to contend with, or you aren’t sure what will fit in the new place. Once you decide on a property, one idea is to take measurements of the rooms and make some sketches of how you can lay out the pieces. Move things around so you can find solutions, and bear in mind that you can always sell things that won’t work and use the funds toward new furniture.   


Future-Focused


Selecting the right property for your golden years can be a challenge, and most seniors want to remain in their homes as they grow older. With that in mind, it’s smart to search for an abode that is conducive to aging in place. A one-story home is ideal. If you don’t want to mess with a lot of modifications, you should search for a house that offers at least one stairless entryway. Ample windows provide good light, an open floor plan eases navigation, and wide hallways and doorways are also ideal in the event you need an assistive device. Some desirable features are simple modifications, such as lever-style handles on doors and faucets, as well as grab bars in bathrooms. As you evaluate properties, you can use a printable aging-in-place design checklist to help you determine how well a home will suit your needs.  


Packing and Moving


Boxing up all your belongings and getting them loaded, unloaded, and unpacked is a major undertaking. To streamline your efforts, the Frugal Girls suggests assembling boxes in uniform sizes so they are easier to stack and maneuver. However, be sure not to pack heavy items in large boxes, and save those for bulky but lightweight items, such as bed linens. Think creatively and make use of empty spaces, such as packing your herbs and spices inside of cookery. One recommendation is to hire some help. This could be a professional moving company, though many seniors opt to employ a senior move manager. It alleviates a lot of headaches since they can organize as much or as little of the move as you want.  


Finding the perfect place for your golden years is a challenge, but the transition is a healthy choice. Look for a property that will be enjoyable and supportive as you grow older. With smart decision-making, you can find a place that helps you thrive in your golden years.  

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The kids have been back in school for awhile, the leaves are turning and a chill is in the air. If you’re like most homeowners, fall also means an opportunity to spruce up your yard and cut down on the work you’ll need to do when the weather turns warm again. A little bit of work in the fall will really pay off with spring rounds around. 

  • RAKE THOSE LEAVES - Once the snow flies, an unraked layer of leaves can get matted down over the turf and smother it all winter long. Raking or using a mulching mover in the fall helps avoid dead patches in the spring. But in the garden, don’t worry about getting every last leaf as they help insulate plants, and as they decompose, they provide valuable nutrients. 
  • MOW A FINAL TIME - Trim turf down to 11/4” for the last cut of the season. Disease has a harder time with shorter grass, and fallen leaves blow across the lawn because they have nothing to latch on to. Don’t go too low though. 
  • FEED THE GRASS - Fertilizing in the fall is like a day at the spa for your lawn. Using a slow-release fertilizer allow the grass to soak up nutrients and, just as important, spend the cool days and nights of autumn recovering from summer heat and stress. And building a healthy rejuvenated lawn is one of the best ways to protect against heat, cold, drought, insects and other stresses. 
  • AERATE THE LAWN - If rainfall pools on the grass, it’s time to aerate compressed soil so water and nutrients can reach the roots. A garden fork can do the job on a small yard, or a power aerator for larger areas.
  • WEED ALL ABOUT IT - Weeding in the fall is probably the most valuable thing you can do to prepare for spring, and it’s one many people overlook. 
  • CLEAN OUT YOUR GARDEN - Fruits and vegetables left in the garden can rot all winter long, and provide a comfy home for insect eggs so be sure to clear them out. Now is the time to get rid of diseased plants too, but keep them out of the compost pile so the problems do not spread. 
  • TRIM DEAD LIMBS - Lifeless branches can succumb to winter snow and winds, endangering you and your home. You can take care of the small trees by cutting cracked, loose and diseased limbs close to (but not flush) the trunk. Leave the wounds exposed to heal. Call in the pros for bigger jobs. 
  • GIVE YOUR TOOLS A TUNE-UP - Wipe down your tools and remove any dirt and debris on your tools before putting them away for the winter. You can even apply a light layer of oil to keep them all from rusting. 

 

 

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Before you commit your hard earned dollars to monthly mortgage payments, consider these 6 issues. Effective consideration of these important areas can make your payments work much harder for you. 

 

  1. You can, and should, get preapproved for a mortgage before you go looking for a home.
    Preapproval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Your local lending institution can provide you with written preapproval for you at no cost and no obligation, and it can all be done quite easily over-the-phone, or even on the internet.
  2. Know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to.
    When you discuss mortgage preapproval with your lending institution, find out what level you qualify for, but also pre-assess for yourself what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Your situation may give you a preapproval amount that is higher (or lower) than the amount of money you would want to pay out each month. By working back and forth with your lending institution to determine what this monthly amount is, and what value of home this translates into at today’s rates, you won’t waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range. 
  3. You should be thinking about your long term goals, and expected situation, to determine the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs.
    There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to a certain type of mortgage. How long do you think you will own this home? What direction are interest rates going in and how quickly? Is your income expected to change (up or down) in the near term, impacting how much money you can afford to pay into your mortgage? The answers to these and other questions will help you determine the most appropriate mortgage you should be seeking. 
  4. Make sure you understand what prepayment privileges and payment frequency options are available to you.
    More frequent payments (for example weekly or biweekly) can literally shave years off your mortgage. Simply by structuring your payments so they come out more frequently, will significantly lessen the amount of interest that you will be charged over the term.
    For the same reason, authorized prepayment of a certain percentage of your mortgage, or an increase in the amount you pay monthly, will have a major impact on the number of years you will have to pay and could shorten your payment term considerably.
    These two payment options can cut years off your mortgage, and save you thousands of dollars in interest. However, not every mortgage has these prepayment privileges built in, so make sure you as the proper questions. 
  5. Ask if your mortgage is both portable or/and assumable.
    A portable mortgage, where available, is one that you can carry with you when you buy your next home and avoid paying any discharge penalties. This means you will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again unless you are making a move up to a much more expensive home.
    An assumable mortgage is one that the buyer for your home can take over when you move to your next home. This can be a very powerful tool at the negotiating table making it much easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your home, and again saves you any discharge penalties. 
  6. You should seriously consider dealing with a Mortgage Expert.
    Consider dealing with only a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain. For example they can make the process faster thereby avoiding costly delays. Typically there is no cost or obligation to enquire. Bruce Fournier and Associates can even recommend a good mortgage expert for you!
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Bruce Fournier: Chilliwack Realtor
Office: (604) 819-0120
Toll Free: (800) 830-7175
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Bruce Fournier & Associates are RE/MAX realtors located in beautiful Chilliwack, BC. We serve all parts of Chilliwack and the surrounding areas including Agassiz, Promontory, Sardis, Greendale, Cultus Lake, Harrison Hot Springs, Rosedale, Yarrow and Ryder Lake.