At Gordon’s Downsizing and Estate Services we are passionate about educating on downsizing related topics. Our team members speak at engagements all over Ontario to those interested in: downsize planning, move management, supporting loved ones through a downsize, retirement living, estate management, real estate considerations when downsizing and contents appraisals.
One of the popular themes of these speaking engagements is downsize planning because it is the key for remaining in control when it comes time to downsize. As French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Our advice is always to plan early, even well before you want to make the transition. The reason for this is based on our experience of having helped thousands of clients transition over the years. What we have learned is that the need to downsize often arises due to a sudden change in health or circumstances i.e. the death of a spouse, changes in finances or mobility. The common reasons for the downsize often have heavy emotional components, which is no time to pile on the task of figuring out how you are going to smoothly transition to the next phase of your life. In addition, if a retirement residence or a specific seniors apartment is your desired next home it’s important to do your homework ahead of time as waiting lists can be long and it could take time for the type of suite you want to become available.
By planning early, you can keep your options open, create a downsize transition playbook that suits your needs that you can pull out and execute on when the need arises, alleviating stress that you might otherwise feel if you didn’t know what you were going to do.
This advice begs the question, how do I begin to plan?
1) The first step is understanding the elements of the downsize project that must be addressed:
i) Move Management - How am I going to figure out where I am going? How am I going to decide what to keep and what to take with me? How am I going to pack, move and unpack in a stress reduced way?
ii) Contents Management or Sale of Goods - What am I going to do with all my extra personal items that I either won’t have room for, don’t need or want anymore? What are my donation and disposal options? Do my friends and family want any of these items and will they in fact take them in the end? Although Kijiji, Craigslist and eBay online alternatives are available for a couple of items, they aren’t adequate solutions for the sale of a home full of excess goods.
iii) Real Estate - What do I need to do to prepare my home for sale? How do I determine an appropriate listing price? When should I list my home?
It's important to note that the three elements are interrelated in terms of execution and timelines. Decisions you make about how to manage one element impact the other elements of the transition.
2) Next, you should research your options for managing each element and decide what makes the most sense for you.
In the move management space, there are several companies that provide the service throughout Ontario. In terms of contents management, there are traditional auction houses, consignment stores, Kijiji, Craigslist, eBay, online auction (here is a sample of the auctions we are running for clients right now) and donation options available. The real estate element can be handled via traditional real estate companies, for sale by owner options, or an integrated real estate and transition services company like Gordon’s.
3) Once you’ve built your plan, remember to revisit it once or twice a year and make adjustments accordingly.
In response to the variety of needs outlined above, Gordon’s has developed a Complete Move Management service package that addresses all of them in an integrated fashion. Our approach to how we help customers is summarized here. Partnering with Gordon’s allows our clients to benefit from our years of experience in the downsizing space, remain in control, and enables them to make educated choices while leaving all of the “heavy lifting” to us.
Are you considering downsizing anywhere in Ontario, in particular in the Greater Toronto Area, Kingston and Ottawa regions and interested in learning more about how we can help? If so, contact us today for a free no obligation consultation. We are here to help.