How to Choose the Best Home For Retiring or Downsizing

How to choose the best home for retiring or downsizing

“We are thinking about downsizing”. 

You’ve probably heard this line before from family friends, colleagues, relatives, and even the people in line with you at the local grocery store. There’s a very good reason that we downsize to a smaller home for retirement or when the kids leave the nest. As humans, we are often keenly aware of having more than we need, especially when it costs us more money. 

But despite savings, less maintenance, and less stress, the word downsizing seems to have a negative stigma for some folks. 

It shouldn’t - and here’s why:

What Downsizing Means for Homebuyers

Downsizing doesn’t mean living in a small and cramped home.

Downsizing doesn’t mean moving to an unsafe or less-vibrant area. 

Downsizing doesn’t mean sacrificing features or appliances. 

Downsizing means having the space you need and not wasting money on extra space.

Downsizing means choosing a neighborhood and picking affordable homes in it.

Downsizing means having all the important features you need for your lifestyle. 

We are stepping up to help in a few ways. 

  1. We’ve written this condensed, yet extremely helpful guide you’re reading now. 
  2. We’ve been guaranteeing buyer satisfaction for years now (literally). 
  3. We’ve written a full-sized book on this subject (from expert California realtors).

So if you want more information after reading this page, we are happy to send a free copy of our realtor-made book on retiring and downsizing successfully. To get the book dropped into your mailbox, completely free of charge, tell us where the courier should deliver it

Real Estate Book

Step 1: Create a List of Housing and Living Needs

We aren’t robots, so our needs differ from person to person and family to family. Also, our visions of retirement and life after the children move out differ too. 

Start simple, with an old-fashioned pad and pen, or if you’re more tech-inclined, open up a new Word document. 

Now, put your vision into words, without shying away from specific details. You’d like a home with backyard space for a vegetable garden or flower bed? Write it down. You’d like a quiet street that doesn’t get loud through-traffic? Put that down too. In your mind’s eye, picture the type of home, the number of rooms, and main features. 

Luxury Interior Design

Photo by Douglas Sheppard on Unsplash

Have several sessions like this, where you add details, scrap others, and fine-tune this vision. Also, it can be beneficial to compare your current home to this hypothetical one. Notice the changes and anticipate how they will make you feel.

With a clear list of needs, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Budget Before Browsing

A solid budget is vital for any homeowner, but retirees and those expecting to retire soon must approach this financial step differently. Whether it’s a fixed income, annual dividends, or savings that will support you, never over-extend your finances. In fact, you should significantly under-extend, if that makes sense. 

There’s an objective truth to apply to home buying budgets. The less you spend on a retirement home, the more you’ll have to spend on lifestyle, family, and health. 

Financial Planning Before Buying A Home

Photo by NORTHFOLK on Unsplash

Many current homeowners smartly sell their oversized homes (for the most money possible), and use the proceeds to move into smaller properties. They’ll be saving on monthly expenses as a result, and probably put some of that profit toward their retirement fund. Those are two huge advantages of downsizing. 

Budgeting is another word, like downsizing, which often gets negative connotations attached to it. If you feel that, shift your perspective. Relish in the fact that you have an opportunity to plan and control your financial future. 

Remember, we’ve covered everything in our free realtor-written book that can be sent directly to your mailbox.

Step 3: Choose a Location That Fits Your Lifestyle

It’s likely that you’ve been eyeing neighborhoods and communities long before retirement or downsizing. What made you choose those places? For starters, they must have had the things you perceive will bring happiness and satisfaction. 

Location first, then listings - not the other way around. 

Choosing a Location before Buying Home


We don’t live 100% of our lives within the walls of our home. Much of our happiness comes from the surroundings. The community, nearby shops, green spaces, health services, and other necessities, should all be present. 

Just imagine doing things the other way around, starting with browsing listings and hoping the location has what you need. Well, you might find a dream property, but what if you are far from the grocery store? What happens if the neighborhood isn’t welcoming or the services you want aren’t nearby? Despite a beautiful home, you might start to resent the zip code. 

For that reason, we’d recommend deciding on a few different places to live as a retiree, before looking at downsized home listings.

Our realtors operate in California, but more specifically, in Santa Clara County. That’s where you’ll find well-known spots like the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, and San Jose, not to mention Silicon Valley. While we’d love to tell you about other places around America, we won’t guide you on locations we don’t have a great depth of knowledge about.

Step 4: What Type of Home Will Suit You? (4 Main Options)

Let’s cover some types of properties best for retirement or downsizing. You’ve got options.

Smaller Single Family Properties

The obvious first type of home to talk about are single-family attached or detached homes. Even though home prices are higher than ever in some places around the U.S., not every single-family home is a multi-million dollar purchase. In our day to day routines, we see plenty of sub-$500,000 properties and affordability is all over Santa Clara County communities. 

Value-Rich Apartments, Condos, and Townhomes

Some people decide ahead of time that apartments, condos, or townhome living is not for them. Unfortunately, many people view these property types as rental or mid-life accommodation, not suitable for retirement. But actually, they might offer the same huge savings, while ticking the same boxes as single-family homes.

Swimming pools, fitness centers, round the clock security - those are a few boxes that single family homes usually can’t tick at all (but other home types might include them). We’d recommend taking a look before writing off this option completely. Apartments, condos, and townhomes might provide more at a lower cost, depending on the location.

Unconventional Retiree-Friendly Homes

Number 1 and 2 are familiar options, but these unconventional homes won't be. Downsizing to something like a houseboat, tiny home, or remote cabin could work perfectly for some families. Chances are, you’ve already made up your mind about unconventional homes, but this is an option. The savings could be other-worldly and the lifestyle is sure to be unique.

Modify Your Current Home

What once was perfect for the whole family, may still be perfect for you in retirement. Some homeowners may divide their home into a rental space plus their own living space. This creates a source of income, while holding onto those familiar surroundings you’ve grown to love. 

However, remember the goal here: downsizing and making the property easier to manage. Don’t stay out of reluctance, for that emotion shouldn’t be a factor.

As long as modification can meet your downsizing goals, it may be an option. But, if you choose to keep your existing home, you won’t generate any immediate profit from downsizing. You’ll also need to invest more into getting the property regulated as a legal rental. And then, after all of the time and effort that takes, the other options we shared may look more convenient. 

Step 5: Find Suitable Properties at Superb Prices

You’ve noted down your needs, created a long-term budget, and chosen a few neighborhoods to settle down in. The next step is the most exciting for some, but the hardest to navigate for others. 

You are searching for value, meaning the right home at the right price. It should offer you the features you need, without encroaching on your budget.

Ideal Retirement Home

Photo by Ronnie George on Unsplash

When looking for a property for retirement or downsizing, realtors save time and money. Not only can they sell your current home for its maximum market value, they’ll find value in your downsized home. Potentially, that could put thousands of dollars back in your pocket.

That’s exactly what our free hardcover book discusses. We’ll make one appear in your mailbox, if you tell us where you’d like it delivered. 

Are You Ready for High Quality Retirement Living?

Bob and Sandy Jamison are two of Santa Clara County’s top-performing real estate agents. The secrets and strategies outlined in their book could put more money in your account, create an ideal living situation, and remove real estate stress for years to come

We also have something called a Buyer Satisfaction Guarantee. The concept is simple, but hugely advantageous for you. If you find that your new home isn’t fully up to your standards and you fall out of love with it, our team will step in to sell or buy the house back from you. In short, your happiness in the new home is insured, so to speak

Get in touch with us for your free book or to learn more about buying a downsized home in Calfornia state.

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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