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Downsizing Your Home: 5 Signs It Might Be Time

November 29, 2019

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A Carpinteria, CA condo like this makes the perfect home for those who want to downsize.

Is it time for downsizing your home? I recently posted a guest blog, “Downsizing for Seniors,” explaining how to make it as stress-free as possible. But when I thought about the topic, I realized that downsizing is not reserved for seniors only.

Anyone can consider making a move to simplify their living space at any time of their life. Even so, the decision to move from a larger home to a smaller one can be very hard to make, especially for Montecito homeowners who have watched their family grow in a home they love, have been affected by adversity beyond their control, or who just feel the need for a change.

There comes a time, however, where the practicality of downsizing may outweigh the sentimental value and familiarity of your current, larger home.

READ: 3 Ways to Maximize Your Profit When Selling a Home

Here, then, are 5 signs it might be time for downsizing your home:

  • The maintenance is overwhelming
    Keeping a well-maintained larger home requires a lot of work, even for those who have help. Whether it’s your yard, or replacing lights on your cathedral ceilings, home maintenance, both outside and inside the home, can leave a Montecito homeowner feeling exhausted.

    If you’re living by yourself, the issue can be even more challenging. Single or attached, when caring for your larger home becomes overwhelming, perhaps it’s time to downsize. 
  • It’s difficult to get around
    You don’t have to be a senior to face mobility issues, although the most common risk factors for mobility impairment occur in older folks. Low physical activity, obesity, strength or balance impairment, and chronic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis can restrict your mobility at any age.

    Experts from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported that an estimated 19 million people (10.1%) in the U.S. have some mobility difficulty. The report showed that the mean age of those with minor, moderate, or major difficulty ranged from 59 to 67 years. Of those reporting major difficulties, 32% said their problems began at age 50 or younger.

    Whatever the reason, you may find it harder to get up and down the stairs or even to just move around your large estate the way you used to. When you notice that getting around your home sweet home has become a pain, it’s time to consider downsizing, or at least, moving to a one-level abode.
  • Retirement
    Many retirees feel compelled to downsize their homes as a way to decrease their annual expenses. Simply put, downsizing is a way to ensure retirees have enough saved for the rest of their retirement.

    This is an appropriate premise. Moving into a smaller home won’t only cut down on the cost of a mortgage, but it will also relieve those large taxes and insurance payments necessary for a large home. That alone can mean a bigger financial cushion in your bank accounts.

  • Where did I put it?
    Just because you’re having a hard time finding things around your house, it doesn’t mean you’re experiencing cognitive issues. It might just be a sign that you have too much stuff, which means it might be a good time to consider downsizing. 

    Downsizing your home is a way to get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore. The process of moving is the perfect time to prioritize your possessions. It will force you to go through everything you’ve accumulated and figure out what to let go of and what to keep. 

  • Empty Nest Syndrome
    There are many reasons you might feel lonely in your large house. One typical reason happens frequently when the kids grow up and move out. Becoming an empty nester may feel strange at first, but experts advise parents to try and redirect their focus back to themselves. That makes it the perfect time to downsize if that’s something you want to do.

    Another common cause of loneliness is the loss of a spouse or life partner. This can be especially excruciating if the loss was sudden. And living in the same place you shared with your loved one can make it hard to move on.

You don’t have to experience either of those factors to feel a bit lonely. In fact, loneliness can creep up on anyone, especially those living alone in a large, empty house.

READ: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: It’s All About Choosing Joy

Think you might be feeling lonely? Take this loneliness quiz created by Psych Central, the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health online resource. Perhaps it’s time to lighten your load and responsibilities and downsize.

Senior couple  moving -- sitting with boxes in an empty room

A How-to For Downsizing Your Home

So, once you make the decision to downsize, what’s next? Experts suggest you plan ahead. Give yourself six months to a year to complete the following de-cluttering process.

  • Make three piles: one to keep, one to throw out and a third to donate. Start with one room, even one drawer. Throw out things like old canceled checks, outdated food and dry goods, clothes and other unnecessary things that are simply taking up space.
  • Talk to your accountant or tax expert and find out what records you need to keep. Important documents, such as wills, birth certificates, and passports, would be filed away securely. Consider putting them safely in a safety deposit box.
  • Don’t try to go through years of life in a day. Do a little at a time by planning a monthly de-clutter session. That way, the downsizing process won’t become too overwhelming.
  • Check out alternative places to store the stuff you want to keep with Neighbor, the "Airbnb of storage." 

The bottom line is that downsizing your home can give you much more time to focus on those things that matter. Ask yourself, “What matters most to me?” Whatever that is, is it getting the time and attention it needs from you? If the answer is no, then you might want to start the process. Imagine waking up in the condo I recently sold and pictured above. It’s located at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria.

After reading the above, is it time to downsize? If you currently live in any of the upscale communities in Santa Barbara, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I can help you sell your existing home and find you a new one to love and create new memories.

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“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

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- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

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“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

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“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

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