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Downsizing? What to Do with Your Stuff

Whether you call it downsizing or rightsizing, the bottom line is you’re moving
into a smaller space and have no idea what to do with all the stuff you’ve
collected over the years. Many people consider moving from a larger home to a
smaller home at some point in their lives. Often this move is made after the child-rearing years,
when homeowners no longer need the extra bedrooms or living space,
and want less home to worry about (or to clean!). The problem is that they
have accumulated items to fill the space that they aren’t ready to part with, yet all
their stuff won’t fit in a smaller home.

If you’re considering this type of downsizing, begin by sorting your possessions
into three piles: keep, donate, trash. After trashing, donating, and storing what
you can, here are some clever ways to store your stuff in the new, smaller space.

  • Dual-Purpose Furniture – Find furniture that offers hidden storage, such as
    a coffee table or ottoman with storage compartments for extra pillows,
    throw blankets, games, or books.
    Baskets and Cubes – There are a lot of great options for cube storage units
    that incorporate baskets to store extra items for easy access when needed.
    Digitize – This is the perfect time to put your important papers and pictures
    into a digital format. From treasured pictures to tax forms, there are
    companies who specialize in transferring your items for later access.
    Repurpose – Take a careful look at your furniture…and Pinterest. You’ll find
    great ways to use some of your favorite pieces in different and useful ways.
    Closets – Consider a closet consultation to make sure you maximize your
    closet space, not only in the bedrooms but also in your kitchen pantry and
    hall coat closet

Downsizing doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything you love. Take a hard
look at what matters and then use some of these tricks to store the items you
treasure without adding clutter to your new home.

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Consider Upgrading before You List

Most people have wandered through new home developments and wished their own home
looked as modern and chic. Model homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating
trends; for home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to offer
an older floor plan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list, there are
downsides to this plan, and taking the time to update a bit on your own first could mean
thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Here are a few reasons why offering a credit might not be the best strategy:

  •   Buyer Impression – A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.
    Lower Offers – Offering a credit could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting in
    lower offers.
    Value Differences – You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed
    upgrades. For example, you might feel $7,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop
    whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more
    negotiations and lower sales price.
    Home Condition – A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about
    the overall condition.
    Loan Approval – Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade credits are no
    longer possible. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all and
    you could lose the buyer.

Home design trends change quickly. If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your
home in its current condition. Before you just add a credit to the listing, consider some simple
updating so your buyers can see the value of your home.