Susan Halverson

Real Estate updates on Clermont FL Properties

DOWNSIZING EASIER SAID THAN DONE! July 7, 2011

After a lifetime of accumulating a houseful of “stuff,” empty-nesters often want to de-clutter their lives. This may be the perfect time to move toward retirement plans, and downsize to a home that requires less maintenance. Yet downsizing is often easier said than done.

While you may think it will be easy to get rid of your excess belongings, most of that stuff is stored around your house for a reason. Maybe it was a gift, or it has sentimental value. Maybe it’s clothes that are a bit snug, but are sure to fit after your next diet. You may know that you don’t need these things, but find it hard to give away items that are still in good working order.

When downsizing, you have to start by looking at your reasons for keeping all of your stuff. Examine each item individually and ask yourself, “Do I really love this? Does it add value to my life now?” Be honest with yourself. Even if you do lose ten pounds, wouldn’t you rather celebrate by buying something new?

Downsizing is not an easy process, and it will likely take much longer than you expect. To minimize your stress, it’s often best to start small and give yourself plenty of time to go through your belongings at a comfortable pace. Set a goal of sorting through one box (or closet or drawer, etc.) each week. Little by little, you will reduce your belongings until you are only left with the items which you really want to keep.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for what to do with the items you no longer want. You can donate gently used clothes and household goods to local charities, or give them to friends. You can pass down items to your children or other relatives. You can sell items in a garage sale or on eBay. You can even simply throw things away.

If your kids are older and establishing their own family homes, it’s a good time for them to go through their childhood memorabilia. This can be a little harder when your kids are still in college dorms, or in their first apartments. If they aren’t ready to part with their childhood items, you could rent a small storage space to hold them. But do have your kids share the expense until they are ready to either take their things or get rid of them.

Having help when downsizing can make the process much easier. Family or close friends might be able to lend a more objective eye, and offer moral support throughout the process. However, a professional company which offers home organization and downsizing services can be invaluable. You will want to check references before hiring, and ask to see proof that the company is licensed and insured.

Downsizing is difficult, but it is worth the effort. Begin looking around for your low-maintenance dream home, and keep reminding yourself just how much easier moving will be after you’ve gotten rid of your excess clutter.

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BENEFITS OF PAYING OFF YOUR MORTGAGE! July 6, 2011

1. No more monthly payments to be concerned about, or rising interests rates, if your mortgage is not on a fixed rate.

2. Other then taxes, insurance and upkeep, your retirement income will go a lot further, minus a monthly mortgage payment.

3. Retirees, who own their home outright, have the option of renting out their home, thereby giving them extra income. The retiree can then use the rental money to downsize, rent a smaller apartment, move into a retirement community, while all the time still owning a paid for asset! Or, stay in the home, if you wish. You can make decisions.

Do not rent with a lease agreement. Rather, “tenant at will”, meaning a month to month rental. The point is, even if everything went belly-up, you can always go home!

4. If you decide to sell outright, you can wait until the market turns to your advantage and in the meantime enjoy living mortgage-free in your paid for home.

5. If you have grown children, and want them to inherit the home, it is extremely important to put the home in a trust fund for your children. In most States it takes 3 years before it goes into effect. This portects the home from being swallowed up by the State for nursing home liquidation to pay for your healthcare, should you end up in one later on.

Retirement should be as hassle-free as possible to get the best out of your golden years. Keeping a mortgage payment hanging over your head when you don’t have to, goes against simplyfying your life.

If you find you can’t meet the payments, on your retirement income, your home is as subject to foreclosure as much as the next person. It won’t matter that you paid off 20 years worth of payments with only 5 or 10 years left to go. Banks and lenders can be merciless.

Banks and mortgage lenders can rip your home out from under you, when you fall behind in mortgage payments. If the home is paid for and you need to file for bancruptcy, for other reasons, the law protects you from losing your home and one vehicle. Leins can be placed on the home by any secured creditors, but they can’t take your home away.

Again, as soon as it is paid for, put your hard-earned home in a trust fund. After 3 years, your home will be untouchable by creditors. This protects your child/children’s inheritance. (This information was shared to me by a banker friend).

So, yes, if one has the financial means to pay off the mortgage, it is wise to do so. Again, there is nothing to be gained by having a mortgage payment hanging over your head every month. But there is everything good to gained by paying it off!
Victoria Rose Perkins.