Downsizing and Real Estate

Downsizing can be a stressful process. You are moving from a home you’ve probably been making memories in for decades. You are making tough, emotional decisions about which possessions to keep, which to pass on to children or other family members, and which to get rid of. Sorting and moving everything also takes a physical toll. In every way, downsizing is hard work.

Fortunately, there are professionals that can help. From a downsizing specialist to professional organizers and senior move managers, there are many options to look for when planning your move, whether you’re just moving to the right-size home, or helping parents move into assisted living or other senior housing. Most specialists charge between $41 and $60 per hour, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Senior Move Managers. These professionals’ services include developing an overall moving plan, sorting and organizing belongings, arranging for the sale of unwanted items, and overseeing packing, shipping, and unpacking. Here are some of the situations in which hiring a downsizing specialist can help.

When the Move Gets Emotional

Dividing up possessions can become an emotional issue. Hiring a professional can provide “emotional breathing room” between seniors and grown children. If there are arguments, a downsizing specialist can be a neutral party, and maybe a voice of reason. They are someone who has been down this road many times, and can help the process go more smoothly. Judith Kahn, owner of Judith Moves You, a senior-focused moving company in Manhattan, agreed. “Kids often have a different idea of how their parents should move, so it’s better if a move manager can be that understanding, neutral person,” she said in a New York Times article.

When Your Family Doesn’t Live Nearby

Downsizing takes time, and it’s a large task to tackle on your own. If you don’t have family living nearby, or you’re organizing a parent’s move from afar, it is even more daunting. Judith Kahn estimated that most people can focus on downsizing for about three hours a day. This means it’s not realistic to anyone to fly in for the weekend and expect to get the job done. A downsizing specialist can provide the consistent, locally-based help the downsizer needs.

When You Need to Move Fast

Sometimes a senior move has to happen quickly. An aging parent’s health can decline rapidly, or a medical event like a fall or stroke can mean they can no longer live on their own. With everything else to take care of, you may not want to also tackle sorting through their possessions.

Mary Kay Buysse of the National Association of Senior Move Managers said that senior moving managers are often called in because the move needs to happen quickly. She said those in the profession see many “situations where a move is immediate and necessary because of the loss of a spouse, loss of health or ability to live independently.” One of Judith Khan’s clients described her experience of moving her mother out of her apartment as her health deteriorated rapidly. She said, “I didn’t want to spend the little time I had left with my mom packing boxes in the Bronx.”

When You Need Help Selling

A downsizing specialist knows the market. They know what kinds of things will sell and for how much. They know which pieces of furniture or artwork should go to auction houses, and which should just be sold in an estate sale. A downsizing specialist will know how to advertise and run an estate sale or a yard sale. They have contacts who will help you sell your possessions at fair prices. They also know which items won’t sell, and should be donated to a charity, like everyday glassware and cookware.

Now’s the time!