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Is downsizing the right move?

February 23, 2012
Times Leader
By TYLER REYNARD, For The Times Leader

Many seniors may be looking to downsize from their current homes to smaller, more manageable condominiums or similar facilities. Just how complicated does the process have to be? Broker Lee Paull IV of Paull Associates in Wheeling said there is a lot involved when it comes to downsizing your living situation, so one of the most important things seniors can do is plan ahead. Paull recommends having your home appraised to determine its value before putting it on the market. An analysis of recent home sales in the area will make the appraisal process relatively simple, he added. Seniors also should consider their home’s condition when determining a selling price. The idea of “Mr. and Mrs. Fixer-Upper” no longer exists, Paull said; often each member of a couple works full-time, leaving little time for home repairs. Spring is an excellent time to put a home on the market, because the natural surroundings will make it more appealing to a prospective home buyer. Because homes in the local area sit on the market for an average of 120 days — up from 90 — putting it up for sale between late February and early March ensures the sale period coincides with summer weather. Because of the downsize in square footage, seniors must decide what to do with much of their furniture and other belongings — whether they are going to sell, donate or pass them along to family.One option is to hire an auctioneer to auction off those possessions you wish to sell, which will also provide the seller with extra income. A seller may also need to hire a moving company to transport those items they plan on bringing into their new home. When looking for their new condo or apartment, there is more for seniors to consider than price, Paull said. Seniors should consider the unit’s proximity to the places where they spend time outside of the home. Limited mobility can also be a factor in deciding on a new living situation. When looking for a new residence, seniors should consider parking availability and elevator or chair lift access. The worry-free outdoor maintenance of condos often appeals to seniors, Paull said, with snow removal and landscaping maintenance included in the fees.

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As managing a home becomes more of a task, many seniors put their house on the market and look to downsize to an apartment or condominium.



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