Why are so many Seniors undecided about downsizing ?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Centre Realtors

I had over 30 open houses in active adult community in last 12 months. They were all well attended. It was always a pleasure to have an open house as I got to meet some wonderful people and chat with them about their needs and their concerns about moving.

Many of them gave me their telephone numbers and email addresses for information about senior communities. You would think I had a lot of sales from these people but I am sorry to say that it is not so. However I have atleast 10 people who are still considering a move. Some of them have their homes listed for sale in other states.

Here are top five reasons seniors are still undecided about downsizing.

1. Size of home.  Most of them have lived in their homes for decades and the thought of getting rid of furniture and other items so that they can buy a smaller home is daunting. I had people who said they have a 4 bedroom, home with garage and basement and the only thing they might give up is one of the bedrooms. They still want a basement and den .

The only drawback with one of my listings was that there was no basement. Many seniors just do not want to give away any of their furniture or belongings with sentimental value .

2. Location of home. Another concern people have when they decide to move is to decide the State or city they would want to move to. They may like to move to warmer climate with milder winters because of health reasons but they may be scared to move far from family and friends . They do not want to move far from their doctors if they have health issues. They are concerned about finding good doctors when they move.

3. Should they live with their children ? Some seniors debate  whether they should buy a home with inlaw suite so that their children can live with them. They can thus be close to grandchildren and their children. But again the thought of giving up some of the independendence when they live in the same house is cause for concern.

4. Should they sell first or buy first ? Seniors do not want to get a mortgage on their new home. They do not like the thought of a 30 or even 15 year mortgage. They want to pay cash after they sell their home. They do not know whether they should list their home and wait till it sells or look for homes and then list their home. I receive calls from seniors asking if I have any rentals for seniors because they are afraid they will have no where to go if their home that is already on the market sells. They have their own agent but they find my name on the internet as a Senior  Real Estate specialist and call me. Unfortunately there aren't many homes available for rent in my area in senior communities.

5. Budget . Many seniors have lived in their homes for long and their taxes are low. When they look at newer homes in senior communities they find that they will pay a considerable amount for association dues and taxes. It would be helpful if they can turn to a financial adviser who can check their budget and show them the benefits if they can afford it.

          We should respect their concerns and not push them into buying a home. Patience is a virtue especially when working with seniors. They have genuine fears and concerns . We should show empathy and listen to their needs.

If you are a senior looking for information about active adult communities in the area or would like a free market evaluation of your home call Gita Bantwal at Re/Max Centre 2153438200x124 or 215-275-8491 cell

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When you read about events please check the year for the event as some people find information a year later and think it is for that year. . The posts remain online even after the event.

Gita Bantwal is a Realtor with RE/MAX Centre Realtors in Bucks County, a Northern suburb of Philadelphia. You can view 1000s of listings on her web site www.GitaBantwal.com


She can be reached at 215-343-8200x124 or direct 215-275-8491 or via email gita01@aol.com


 Gita specializes in Active adult communities and is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. She holds the ABR designation (Accredited Buyers Representative) and specializes in selling to first time buyers as well as move up buyers.Gita also hold the CRS designation , Certified Residential Specialist and the CDPE designation as well. Information about real estate market is deemed to be correct but is subject to errors and omissions and should be verified independently.. Opinion expressed by me or others  in my post and comments is not to be construed to be  legal advice.I am licensed in Pa. Check real estate laws in your state as they may be different than in Pa.




Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Dana Smithers 05/11/2012 06:59 AM
  2. Gene Riemenschneider 05/13/2012 03:34 PM
  3. Winston Heverly 10/25/2012 02:05 PM
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Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Gita:  They always take their time - in fact, they unfortunately live in their older home way past when it's time to go. Much maintenance is overlooked or not taken care of also.  They have a hard time letting the old place go even when they can't take care of it.

This year I have worked with senior assistance in my area & they are marvelous. They help stage, sell furniture, pack for the seniors & just make the whole process easier for them.  I have also used it for people with medical issues that also have to move but can't pack etc.  It's worked out great.  I think you should find places like this near you so you can suggest their services.

May 10, 2012 07:49 AM #51
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

This is a great post.  We have a 55+ community here in Brentwood and it is wonderful, but people hesitate.

May 10, 2012 02:18 PM #52
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi GITA, excellent post.  Over 50% of my customers are in 55+ communities and I have to deal with this daily.

May 10, 2012 08:07 PM #53
Bill Fields
Bill Fields Learning Systems - Treasure Island, FL

Great stuff and very timely for the current market here in Florida. Thanks.

May 10, 2012 09:55 PM #54
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Lyn, Thank you. The most difficult to overcome is the emotional connection .

Gene, However I find many younger people who love the amenities and wonder why they cannot buy in some of these communities.

Bob, I love to work with seniors as I am sure you do too. If you have the knowledge and patience to help them it can be a fulfilling experience.

Bill, Thank you.

May 10, 2012 10:02 PM #55
Lynn Afton
Greenridge Realty Oakmont - Big Rapids, MI
REALTOR® Near Big Rapids, MI, Mecosta County
One of the biggest reasons is that the older people get, the more overwhelming a move seems. It becomes more difficult to figure out everything that has to happen to make a move, and it is easier to not have to ask others for help, and to not have to give up attachments to possessions with cherished memories.
May 10, 2012 11:08 PM #56
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Lynn, I agree with you. 

May 10, 2012 11:42 PM #57
Dana Smithers
PRES Staging Resource Centre - Vancouver, BC
PRES Staging Training, Redesign Training & Busines

As a home stager we come up against the undecided/hesitant/changed-my-mine older home seller as well. Unlike the seller who is ready and anxious to sell, some of the more longterm dwellers, have a very hard time giving up the 'emotional attacment' to their home. There are hundreds of other reasons but we find this one a lot. When negative emotions outway the positive, we like to back away, and keep checking in with them periodically.

May 11, 2012 06:58 AM #58
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Those are the reasons I would use and I am getting around well so I do not downsize.

May 11, 2012 07:04 AM #59
Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Maintenance, security, loneliness, transportation issues - there are many reasons why people (young or old) move.   Very interesting post, Gita.   I am enjoying reading the comments and opinions.

May 11, 2012 07:04 AM #60
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192
BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

No one likes to think that the "down size" move may the their last, especially if they are elderly.  It's tough to come to terms with finality.  I don't hold on to possessions, so when it's my time it's not going to be difficult decision.  Hope I find a caring agent though . . . might be too long in the tooth to handle it myself ;-)

May 11, 2012 07:12 AM #61
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Dana, I agree. We should back away from people who are having second  thoughts and be in touch till they are ready.

Tim, It will be nice if people can remain healthy so that they are not forced to leave and can leave only because they prefer to move.

Fred, I agree. Many  people move for  the activities in these communities.

Carla, These days when people who move and are in their 50s they usually mention that their next move will be to a smaller home but when they first sell their single homes they prefer large homes . The only difference being that someone takes care of the exterior .

May 11, 2012 08:49 PM #62
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

Gita - It is interesting how many times I have been out showing homes to seniors who want to downsize.  We start out looking at smaller homes and they start thinking about the items of furniture they would have to get rid of.  By the end of the day we are often looking at homes that are 1000 sq ft larger.

May 11, 2012 10:58 PM #63
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Pam, It has happened to me too . I will probably do the same when I downsize.

May 11, 2012 11:17 PM #64
Jark Krysinski *PREC (Personal Real Estate Corporation)

Hi Gita - This is a great Downsizing article, I appreciate the content.  I'm putting together a handout for my "downsizing" clients and this will help my team be more comprehensive to our clients about it.  Cheers and have a great July!  

PS. Let's build a referral network from your location to Vancouver, BC, Canada - it would be great to add you to my referral network!

Jul 04, 2012 09:40 AM #65
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Jark, If anyone is relocating to your area I will mention your name.

Jul 04, 2012 08:22 PM #66
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale
Gita, I think you hit all the major considerations that many seniors have as they consider downsizing. Not wanting to give away things seems to be high on many lists.
Oct 25, 2012 02:11 PM #67
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Gita:  Besides the five excellent reasons you've given in your post, I am suggesting that an elderly seller is often so very attached to their home emotionally that they simply cannot let it go.  This is especially true if they have been in that home for many years, and raised their family there.

Oct 25, 2012 02:17 PM #68
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I bought my perfect DOWNSIZED home 9 years ago as a rental property and have slowly up graded it for my own use between tenants...IF and WHEN I want "less" home, I'm ready 

Oct 25, 2012 08:10 PM #69
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Wayne, I can understand the sentimental reasons for this.

Karen Anne, I agree.

Wallace, That is a great idea.

Oct 25, 2012 09:03 PM #70
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