The “Why” Behind Downsize Dilemmas

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

The “Why” Behind Downsize Dilemmas

Continuing the conversation… how selling a home and navigating the long list of logistical steps around the process, almost always represents a small part of a much larger life transition that’s going on. The “why” behind a person’s desire (or need) to sell.

No two home sales are alike. And everyone’s path in life is different. Despite the differences, there are also plenty of similarities. Ones that show up over and over again in real estate transactions/transitions related to aging. Familiar questions. Common concerns. Recognizable challenges. That all seem to be baked into the process. No matter who you are. Or where you are going.

In recent years, I’ve devoted a number of columns to the similarities more and more aging baby boomers are wrestling with in their downsizing dilemmas. Today, more than 10,000 people in the U.S. will turn 65 and the largest percentage of U.S. homeownership falls into this demographic.

Since I’m in the same age range, these recurring themes are all pretty recognizable. (Yes I remember where I was when Kennedy was shot.) It’s pretty easy to relate on a personal level as well as a professional one.

There’s also something reassuring in knowing others are asking the same questions. It tempers the human tendency to assume issues people struggle with are either self-created or solely their own. It’s a reminder that most are just part of living a normal life.

The other demographic where plenty of similarities are occurring these days, involves the aging parents of all those baby boomers. People in their 80s and 90s. The ones who also own a large portion of the existing home inventory. And the ones who are going through even more profound life changes than their kids are. Pay attention millennials!

Is there anyone in or around the age of 65 who doesn’t have an aging parent these days? (My own are 93 and 92.) It seems like everyone I talk to is dealing with a parent or in-law issue. Someone who has just passed. Or is transitioning to assisted living. Or is struggling with significant health-care or memory problems. Or all of the above at the same time.

Since more people are living longer, all the challenges we’re trying to help our parents with are the same ones we’ll be facing tomorrow. Maybe we can learn a little from the experience. Next week I’ll outline a few of the familiar questions, common concerns and recognizable challenges that arise around many home transitions in later years. 

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