More & more, we are finding folks looking to downsize and find a smaller home. The family home often becomes too large in many ways and as tough as it can be, a smaller place is the next step in their lives. The tough decisions often lie in how to downsize: how do you decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind? How and where can you sell all of your excess stuff? And how can you find a smaller place that still meets your needs? Here are a few areas to focus on to make the transition easier.
Get Ready to Downsize
Change your mind-set. Don't feel limited. If you are downsizing by necessity, it can be easy to get down about the whole process. But there can be a lot to love about going smaller; easier upkeep, lower maintenance costs, and less pressure to host large groups of people can be a relief after years of living in a big house. Or perhaps you will be relocating closer to an urban center, where you can reduce reliance on your car and have easier access to shopping, restaurants and cultural events. Try thinking of three benefits of downsizing and keep those things in mind as you sort through your belongings and prepare to move into a smaller space.
Set your top three priorities. What do you most crave, need or want in your living space? Really think about this and be honest. It's not often you will get everything you want in a new place, but if you stick with your top three priorities, you can get what is most important to you. For instance, is it really important to you to have a private outdoor space? Lots of light or an open floor plan? These will point you quickly toward the spaces that may be a good fit and allow you to move past others that would not suit your needs.
Decide What to Get Rid Of
List your must-haves. Imagine you lost your possessions in your home in a fire. What would you immediately feel heartbroken to have lost? What would you need to replace right away to move on with your life?
Your answers to these questions should make up the beginnings of a list of things to definitely bring to your new home. I encourage you to start with your "yes, definitely" list rather than the other way around. You can always talk yourself into keeping something you don't really need or want, but it is infinitely harder to let things go. Identifying your most important things right from the start should make the rest of the process easier.
Get rid of the obvious stuff first. You can probably think of a dozen things off the top of your head that fit this category — the broken toaster in the basement you never got around to tossing, outdated clothes, books you've been meaning to donate. Take your time if you must, but doing a marathon day of clutter clearing can really get you motivated to continue. Dealing with stuff like this can feel like a huge accomplishment and it helps make you feel like you are getting a fresh start!
Cut back on duplicates and "just in case" items. When you live in a big house with plenty of storage, it's easy to stash things just in case you might someday need them — but in a small space, it's "use it or lose it." If you need something, you can go out and get it, right? Also cut out as many duplicate items as you can, from the big (multiple sets of glassware and china) to the small (five pairs of scissors). What's convenient or even necessary in a large home will simply not work in a small space.
How to Get Rid of Your Stuff
Give relatives a chance to take stuff. It can be quite upsetting for relatives to find out after the fact that you got rid of family heirlooms without consulting them first. Offering to pass along family treasures is a good idea — but you don't have to put up with endless waffling or wait forever for relatives to get their act together to take what they want. Set a clear but reasonable time limit, and let your family know what you intend to do with the items they don't want at the end of that time.
If you have younger family members who want something but have nowhere to store it, it's your call how you handle it. If you are planning to rent a storage unit anyway and money is not an issue, you could offer to store the pieces for them for a certain amount of time. But it is not your responsibility to act as a warehouse for other people's stuff — if you want everything off your hands now, make your intensions clear to those involved.
Consider selling your things. If you have the time and patience, you may be able to make some money for your unwanted stuff by selling it over the internet or by having a garage sale. Often items that we feel are "priceless" really do have a price to them or sometimes not. Often many items are best left donated to a charity instead of trying to organize a large selling event while also trying to move.
Rent a storage space as a last (temporary) resort. There are times when renting storage space makes sense: if you think you might move again into a larger space within the next year or so, or if you simply need to buy yourself more time before letting go of everything. Just remember, you are literally buying yourself time, and that time can get expensive. Choose the smallest space possible and give yourself a deadline to decide what to do with the stuff.
Finding and Moving Into the New Place
Try to have it meet your top three criteria. There is no doubt you will have to compromise on something — price, location, size, style — but if you get your top three needs met, consider that a major win. For some, they wouldn't mind a smaller, darker bedroom if the main space is bright and sunny. Know yourself and stick with what's important to you. If you'll be living with a partner, each of you should come up with your own top three priorities and then combine them to create the top three things you both agree you want.
Expect to shed even more stuff. Even the best-laid plans are sure to have a crack or two, so don't beat yourself up if your already downsized collection of dishes doesn't fit in the cupboards. You can avoid some of this last-minute shuffling by making adjustments as soon as you know exactly where you'll be moving to. Those final weeks offer you a chance to replace a few pieces of furniture with smaller versions that will fit the new space better, and to do one last downsize.
Set up your new home with storage before moving in. Another great thing to do before or soon after you move into your new space, is to install lots of storage. Floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinets, underbed storage and closet shelving will make the most of the room you have. It's worth investing a little money in this, because proper storage can enhance the quality of your daily life.
Realize you'll need to alter your habits. A small home, condo or apartment does not offer the vast storage possibilities of a larger house, which can actually be a benefit. No more digging through the attic or basement to find the Christmas lights when everything you need is at hand. Of course, that also means you must be vigilant about not bringing home new stuff without considering where it will go. You may want to adopt a one-in, one-out policy, letting go of a similar item for each new one you buy.
This new change of direction in you life should be celebrated so enjoy the journey and the new chapter of life you are entering. After you are settled in, you may wonder why you stayed in such a large home for so long.
I have listed a new property at 1169 CHIMNEY VALLEY RD in Williams Lake.
Wow! 11 .97 acres in Chimney Valley ready for the borse lover. The property is fenced and cross fenced with a separate fenced and landscaped yard with huge deck and gardens. Extra buildings include car carport and wood shed, a heated insulated and wired shop with storage wings, small barn with frost free water hydrant and hay shed. The house has a newer hot water tank and CSA wood heater and updated flooring. Large family kitchen and separate family room for entertaining. Enjoy the relaxing decks after a hard day at work and admire the scenery of this beautiful valley from your hillside perch. Rare sale in this sought after location. Don't wait another day..
I have listed a new property at 802 WEINERT DR in Williams Lake.
A 2 acre horse lovers property on the edge of town yet so private and backing onto crown land. The property is fenced and cross fenced and a creek runs through it. The home has a wide open feel with the large open living room and kitchen. The gorgeous view from the deck looking straight down the lake is simply amazing. This extra large 4 bedroom 14 ft wide mobile has 6" walls and a metal roof and a large addition with certified wood stove. Storage sheds and horse shelter with numerous riding trails in the area. Chilcotin school is close by. It's really one of a kind so don't miss the opportunity.
I have sold a property at 3122 NIQUIDET ST in Williams Lake.
Beautiful European handcrafted post & beam home on 5 acres in Horsefly. Open floor plan with incredible customized kitchen & featuring a Tulikivi soapstone stove in the family room. This amazing home includes European windows & doors, hardwood & tile floors & 5 bedrooms plus a one bedroom suite. The landscaping includes beautiful rock gardens, large enclosed garden area, fruit trees, and surrounded by mature trees for privacy. The massive shop is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. There is also an amazing motocross track for the kids. The ultimate rural property with trails, amenities & some of the best fishing in BC just minutes away. The feeling of peace & tranquillity at your door & the home you've always dreamt of. Come home!
It’s official: you’ve signed the papers, dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s. You own a new home! It feels like all the hard work is over. However, now, faced with the daunting task of moving, it may seem as though the journey has just begun. Moving can be a time-consuming and stressful experience if you let yourself be overwhelmed by the job. Remember, though, having a successful move means taking care of the details, one by one. If you break the process down into steps and arrange your time accordingly, you can make it manageable. Use the following checklist to ensure you’re covering all the bases, and you will be well on your way to a successful move!
- Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
- Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
- Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
- Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
- Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
- Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.
- Plan your packing. Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers. Most moving companies have specialized containers you can buy. Also, speak with others who have recently moved—they may be looking to get rid of boxes. You’ll need the following: small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).
- Begin to collect other packing materials. Decide which items you’ll need from the following checklist:
- White paper
- Tissue paper
- Paper towels
- Non-printed paper
- Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers
- Labels and stickers (available from your moving company if you choose to hire one)
- Felt marker to label boxes
- Notebook and pen for listing contents
- Set goals and deadlines for yourself. Aim, for example, to pack one room per week.
- Attach a list of contents to each box. Separate and label boxes to be placed in storage.
- Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings.
- Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer. Let the food you already have dictate your menus.
- Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.
- Make special arrangements for the moving of plants or pets.
- Collect all personal items from local services (dry cleaning, storage, photos).
- Take inventory of all the boxes, and contents of the boxes, you have packed.
- Return library books.
- Clean out your locker at any club you are leaving.
- Determine how to transfer your children to a new school.
- Return items you’ve borrowed to friends, and collect any you’ve lent.
- Mail or e-mail change of address notices to family members, friends, and office contacts.
- If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
- Change the address on your driver’s license.
- Change the billing address for credit cards.
- Change the address for banking statements.
- Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.
Insurance and Legal Matters
- Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
- Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to review your policy.
- Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
- Review your moving company’s insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover as much as you’d like it to, obtain your own.
- If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the landlord.
- Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or realtor.
And of course, don't forget to call your realtor and reserve the Best moving trailer available to help with this exciting time. If you are ready to buy or sell, give me a call and together we can make it happen.
After putting in a huge amount of time and effort to get your home looking good and ready to sell, your hard work is finally going to pay off: your home is on the market. You’re ready to begin showing. Your house should always be ready for a tour, as agents may bring clients by with very little notice. Often buyers will come in from out of town and only have limited time to see as many properties as possible. If they catch you unprepared and you aren’t able to show the house on the spot, you could be losing out on a sale. Concentrate on the following areas to ensure your home is ready to show:
- Go for a Walk
Homebuyers may feel like intruders if you are present while they view your house, and this will affect their overall impression. It can make them uncomfortable which is not the feeling you want them to have when they are in the home. Consider taking the opportunity to visit the local coffee shop, go shopping or for a walk, or take the kids to the park. If you can’t leave while the house is being shown, try to be as unassuming as possible. Do not move from room to room. Don’t offer information, but make yourself available to answer any questions the agent or buyers might have.
When you know an agent is bringing someone by, make sure all of the drapes and window shades are open to let in as much daylight as possible, or—if the showing is taking place at night—to create a look of comfort and warmth when viewed from the outside. Open all the doors between rooms to create an open, inviting feel. Turn on all lamps and overhead lights, even during the day. Keeping lights on during the day softens the harsh shadows sunlight can create in a room, and illuminates dim corners. During nighttime showings, make sure all outdoor lights are on especially if you have lights that highlight key areas and give a great first impression.
Scan the home for clutter such as newspapers and magazines which tend to accumulate without our noticing. Make sure all the counters are clutter-free. Empty the kitchen garbage before every showing, particularly if the garbage can doesn’t have a lid. Keep everything freshly dusted and vacuumed. Beds should be made and bathrooms cleaned (toilet lid down). Every room should sparkle.
- Scents and Sounds
Avoid using scented sprays before showing your home. Some people simply won’t enjoy the smell, and others may be allergic. If you want to make a room smell pleasant, consider a potpourri pot or a naturally-sourced aroma.
If you or your family is home while the agent is giving a tour, try to stay as quiet as possible. Turn off the television and the blaring radio. Put on some soothing background music at a low volume.
If you have pets, make sure your listing agent includes this in your listing information on the MLS for other agents to see. This way, no one will be surprised by a furry welcome if the agent shows the house while you’re not there. If you know someone is coming to tour the house, ideally you should take the pets with you, or arrange to have a friend or family member take them. If this isn’t possible, keep dogs in the backyard, preferably in a penned area. Try to keep indoor cats in one room while people are touring the house. Remember that a barking dog can be a huge turnoff for a property so don't let your furry family member ruin your chances of a sale.
If you have any questions on what changes you can make in your home to improve the showings, do not hesitate to give me a call and we can look at what changes will be needed to change your home from "For Sale" to "Sold".
I have listed a new property at 25 803 HODGSON RD in Williams Lake.
This is mobile living at it's finest. Enjoy breaky & dinner in the large enclosed and screened deck overlooking the terraced gardens and greens pace. There is an extra large bedroom and huge foyer in the addition and a large master bedroomspare room in this wide mobile home. Newly renovated and freshly painted with tons of cupboards and storage space with great living room lighting. Water softener and newer hot water tank, nice laminate and new carpet are just a few of the updates. Large eat?in Kitchen with patio doors and pantry. The property is fenced and there is a large storage shed for the toys. Great location on top level in this well cared Park. "Home to Stay"
I have sold a property at 4278 PACIFIC RD in Williams Lake.
This level lot backs onto Crown Land. To open floor plan and level access makes this home comfy & accessible. Bedrooms are located quietly along a wing of the home. Cellar style partial basement is un-finished. Some outbuildings of modest value, fencing along back and sides. Garden areas are overgrown but visible. The shop, with large wood shed attached, offers 30 amp services.
With the snow starting to fly, it is a great time to look back on how the fall real estate sales finished up. The overall picture of the entire market from agricultural to businesses to residential houses, saw the number of year to date listings drop from 2012 by approximately 13%. This is not meant to cause alarm to the market but just to draw attention to the fact that certain sectors can affect the overall picture. For example, if you look at the number of businesses that were for sale this year, we only saw 17 listed as opposed to 24 last year. So many can look at this in a positive light that businesses in the area were doing well and owners were hanging on to them as opposed to looking to sell out. But if we take a peek at the overall picture of the number of sales, we were up 7% at this point of 2013.
This month, I'll take a look at 3 different areas of interest: land sales, houses on acreage and your residential housing market. Many folks are looking into land puchases and looking at building their next home. This can be an ideal way to get exactly what you are looking for but you must be very careful as I've seen many prices fluctuate dramatically once the building began and "additional" details suddenly brought the inital cost of building the home up substantially. This can be tough later on when you go to sell and realize that the market will not bare the price tag you are looking to put on in order to sell that home.
We saw quite a substantial change in the number of listings for land this month in comparison to 2012. We only saw 4 listings come on when October 2012 had 19. The great news is that the average sale was up $10,000 from last year so sellers saw a bigger return than last year. We also saw a higher number of sales throughout this year with 28 sales to date which is up by 11 sales from last year at this time.
Now let's add a house onto acreage and list it. We saw 8 new listings in that category in October which was down by half from October 2012. The areas that went up? The average days on the market were only 79.5 in comparison to 112.7 last year. The sales up to this point for the year also increased by almost 9%. There are many more buyers looking for a bit of land and more privacy so that is a positive note for those types of listings.
And of course, our favorite category to evaluate is of course, residential houses. We definitely saw a decrease in sales this month from last year at this time with it dropping in half down to 11 sales. The year to date sales comparison though is fairly consistant and ended up at 105 sales this year, only down 9 sales from last year. We did see a fair substantial change with the average sale price. Last year in October, a residential house sold for $253,711 where this year in October they were averaging at $223,772. However, when we look at the average days on the market, we are right in line with last year with only a couple of days difference.
So as we analyze October, we do see lots of ups and downs. This is not to say that it will dictate how your next purchase or sale will be but it is a great way to see what the general market is doing and how you can fit into it. If you are interesting in buying or selling, give me a call to see how your property might fit into the big picture.
I have sold a property at 677 WINGER RD in Williams Lake.
Here it is! A large beautiful home in this great location with a 3 bedroom main home and a 2 bedroom suite in lower. You can live in one and rent the other or have family close by with both having their own private level entry. An amazingview of the City from the set back home with over 500 sq ft of surround decking and walk-out covered patio. The large 2.3 acre lot is beautifully landscaped with gardens and shrubs and backs onto green space for ultimate privacy.The home has geothermal heating with lower heated floors and a gas fireplace. Nice open floor plan with modern kitchens and appliances included. There's a large 2 bay garage and carport and numerous sheds for all the toys. It's one of a kind in a great neighbourhood.
As exciting as it is to get possession of your new home, sometimes it is worth it, if you have a chance, to do some work in the home BEFORE you move in. It is too easy once you've moved in to just let those projects that you really wanted to take care of slip by. Taking a little time before hand, can make all the difference when you start to move your prized possessions in.
1. Change the locks on the exterior doors.
As soon as the closing is over and you've gotten the keys to your house, either buy and install new lock sets or have a locksmith come to the house to switch them out. You don't know if there are additional keys out there that haven't been accounted for. So for peace of mind, getting new locks installed is a great first step to making this house yours.
2. Get the house cleaned up.
While many sellers will leave the house clean for you, unfortunately, some won't. Even if they do, often you'll want to still do your own clean as everyone's level of "clean" can differ.
3. Paint all the walls and ceilings.
This can be really time consuming, so you may want to hire professionals if you can. There's no point in just slapping on a coat of paint if the walls and ceilings are damaged — if they have cracks, holes and other defects - and prepping these surfaces can be a real chore. So unless you have a relative or two who can help, save yourself a lot of time and just hire someone.
Also, if you're short on time and every surface in the house needs painting, consider one neutral color for every room. This will just make it easier and limit the number of decisions you'll have to make now. You can always go back and repaint rooms the colors you want as time permits. Sometimes it takes living in a place for a while for owners to get a feel of the color pallets they would like to go with.
4. Get some organizers.
Many older houses suffer from closets that have a simple pole and shelf (if that). Look at where you'll store what and get the closets outfitted to accommodate everything, to make moving in less stressful and your life in the new house more enjoyable. This can include areas such as the laundry area to coat hooks, etc.
5. Install new switch plates and other devices.
Many older houses, especially those that have undergone a series of renovations, will have mismatched outlets, dirty and discolored cover plates, and rusted or damaged air vent covers. Replacing all of these, creates a uniformity and newness to them makes a home feel newer and, understandably, cleaner.
6. Have the mechanical equipment cleaned and serviced.
Do this as soon as you buy the house. Getting the heating and cooling systems cleaned and other routine tasks done is important.
7. Install window treatments.
Whether you have these custom made or you go for some inexpensive and temporary shades, you'll want to get something on your windows, both for privacy and that finishing touch.
As you live in the house and get to know it better, you may choose more personalized options than what you initially choose, but this is a great way to make the home your own. Happy packing!
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