Downsizing your home can seem an enormous task so this is a helpful checklist that includes independent advice, important resources and guides, all centralised here in one place. Take your time.
A word of warning to get you started: Ten years of providing advice to Senior Citizens embarking on the downsizing process has highlighted that they are the most vulnerable of all demographics when selling a house. Find out how seniors can be better protected
If you're still just in the 'thinking about downsizing your home phase' the following links will help you make an informed decision.
If you've decided to move - start here
You've found a place to downsize to, but to make it happen, your current property has to sell first.
This is the most common scenario for people of all ages but for senior citizens, it's often more of an emotional challenge.
Welcome help, ensure you use trustworthy services, and keep it simple by doing one thing at a time.
Day 1: Set Yourself Up To Cope
Family helpers: Seniors often turn down help because they don't want to be a burden when everyone is so busy these days. If you have family or friends who offer to help, let them - you're worth it.
Widowed seniors: If you're widowed or without family around, it can be a lonely process so Agent Finder NZ will help you find the right agency support.
Reach out and make contact first.
Day 2: Get Any Outstanding Repairs And Maintenance Done
Repairs, maintenance and odd jobs: If you don't get overdue jobs done, they will be found by the buyer's building check. You can find a qualified, reliable tradesman by following this link. Give them a call and make appointments to meet at your home.
Get overdue maintenance jobs done but don't paint the house. Get electrical, plumbing, rotten weatherboards and anything not working or broken sorted. For big jobs, get advice from an agent first about how far to go so keep these until later.
Day 3: Agent Finder NZ Can Vet Real Estate Agents For You, And It's Free
Find a licensed real estate agent who has been professionally vetted.
Agent Finder is a professional, free service and it helps to ensure you find a competent agent of good character and conduct; one who will go the extra mile and care for you throughout the process.
You can call the friendly Agent Finder team on free phone 0800 789 532 to get you started. It's that easy.
While they're doing all the leg work for you, you can focus on other jobs to do.
Day 4: Time To Interview The Vetted Agents
Questions to ask agents: Agent Finder will provide you with a questionnaire to use that both informs and protects you.
When you have finished your meeting, they will need to come back in a few days with their property appraisal and how they recommend selling it.
The agent will make an appointment to come back and see you with their appraisal.
Day 5: Presenting Your Home To Buyers
Presenting your home for sale: If you have a larger home, remember that younger families are likely to be interested, so try and appeal to younger generations.
If you have a smaller home, try to make the rooms look as large as you can by opening up the corners of rooms.
You might enjoy our list of absolute no no's that help to enhance the look and feel of your home to a wider range of buyers - it really does work.
Day 9: The Agent's Presentation To You
The agents will each make recommendations to you about how to sell your property, an estimated price range you could expect and what it will cost you.
They will also provide other helpful information designed to properly inform you. The next part of the process is deciding which agent you would like to list with.
You'll find this easy if you used the Agent Finder questionnaire.
Take your time: Don't decide on the day - sleep on it for a couple of nights to ensure you understand all the information provided first.
Tell the agents you want to take a few days to think about their information before making a decision.
Day 6: What To Keep And What To Hand On
Downsizing your contents: Decide what to take with you and what to leave behind or gift to family or friends.
Surplus furnishings: It's hard to let go of some things but equally it can end up being quite liberating. You can call the Salvation Army or Women's Refuge who will come and collect your excess items at no cost.
Make a list of items you no longer need or want, or put them aside somewhere. Don't forget to use your volunteer 'support crew' for this!
You're Almost Half Way There So Enjoy Your Weekend!
(... or have a potter in the garden!)
Day 10: Choosing The Right Agent For You
If you wish, you can tell Agent Finder of your decision to downsize your home and they will let all the agents know. Not having to make these phone calls can help take a bit of pressure off for you.
Either you or Agent Finder can make an appointment for you to meet your selected agent again, to sign an Agency Agreement and to discuss the plan of action from there.
The agent will make this easy for you and answer any questions you have.
Make an appointment to sign the Agency Agreement. If Agent Finder has vetted and short listed agents for you, you will find the agents will go out of their way to assist.
Day 12: Clarify The Detail And Get Legal Advice
So far you've made informed decisions and signed an agency agreement. From here, your agent will organise all the real estate detail for you and keep you informed.
Make sure you discuss with your agent whether to have private viewings or an open home. It is entirely your call what suits best and the right answer can vary depending on the location, property type, the real estate market and what suits you.
It's also time to get a property lawyer or conveyancer if you don't already have one. This is most important so don't let it slip through the cracks!
Next - the best photos attract the most buyers
Of all money spent on marketing your property, photography taken professionally will be your best spend of the lot in our opinion. It costs little and gains more buyer interest, without question. History has proven this.
Your agent can organise a day for professional photos to be taken.
Your Home Is Technically And Legally For Sale
When your house is photographed, listed and for sale online for the whole world to view, you can start to relax again. Let the agent do the work, that's what you're paying them to do.
You don't have to pay the agent any commission until a sale and purchase agreement is unconditional but you might need to provide advertising funds. Some agents offer lots of complementary advertising.
Your agent should stay in regular weekly contact with you until the house is sold.
A Signed Sale And Purchase Agreement
When your agent has a Sale and Purchase Agreement signed by a buyer, with a price, they will come and present this to you. You can download the Real Estate Authority Guide to Signing a Sale and Purchase Agreement here.
When Your Home Is Sold
We've compiled a list of moving companies here to make finding one easy for you.
All you need to do is ring a couple or three, get them to come and view your contents and they will go away and prepare a quote for you in writing. It must always be in writing. Make sure they exclude what you don't intend to take with you and check whether GST is included or not.
Time to let everyone know!
Congratulations. You have successfully navigated the downsizing stage of life.
Find out more about the downsizing process:
- What downsizing options are right for me?
- Well being and social support available
- Retirement village guide and checklists
- Retirement Village Finder by region
- Directory of health, social and financial services
Last updated: August 27 2019