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Scaling Down for an Empty Nest

by The Hat Team


Facing the dilemma of what to do with your empty nest can be overwhelming. You are not only dealing with the emotional turmoil of no longer having your children at home, but now you have this BIG, empty house as well.  You might already be considering a move to a smaller house, but the thought of giving up the home where you raised your children has you feeling melancholy.  Your current home likely holds a lot of wonderful memories for you. But remember, it’s just a house. There are a lot of perks to downsizing:

  • Your house will be easier to maintain and you will spend less time cleaning.
     
  • You will spend less money on everything from your mortgage, taxes and insurance to your heating, cooling, and electricity. 
     
  • Having less debt will eliminate the financial stress that comes with a huge mortgage payment.
     
  • A home that doesn’t drain your resources and energy will give you peace of mind.  And that is priceless.
     
  • A smaller home has a positive impact on the environment because it requires less resources to build and maintain.
     
  • You will have more free time for living the life you want.
     
  • It will force you to declutter and cut back on your belongings and keep you from buying more. The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home
     
  • If decorating is not your thing, a smaller house will make it less overwhelming for you.
     
  • When the time comes to sell, a smaller, more affordable home will appeal to a larger percentage of the population.

Scaling down doesn’t mean you should move into one of the tiny houses that are trendy right now.  It might be just going from four bedrooms/three baths to three bedrooms/two baths.  A professional Realtor can assist you in finding a smaller home that will suit all your needs and provide you with a happier, more peaceful lifestyle. 12 Life-Changing Benefits of Living in Small House

If you have an empty nest and you are ready to sell your LARGE home for a smaller home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

How to Make the Most Out of Small Spaces

by The Hat Team

The tiny house craze is alive and well, and while you may not be looking for a Tiny Home you might be looking to downsize and simplify.  There are Big Benefits of Living in a Small House. First, it costs less money…which frees up funds for other things you enjoy like travel and hobbies.  And the peace of mind that comes with living within your means is priceless.  Also, with less space, there is less to clean.  And less cleaning means more time for fun and relaxation.  But sometimes it can be challenging to fit everything you need (and want) into a home with limited square footage.  Don’t despair!  Not only can you make it all fit, you can do it with style and create a comfortable, cozy home that suits all your needs.  Here are some clever ideas for making the most of small spaces:

  • Make everything seem bigger by painting walls in light colors. 
  • Use small scale furniture rather than large, overstuffed pieces that will overwhelm the room.
  • Use mirrors to create the illusion of more space.  One mirror will make an impression, but two facing each other will make a bigger impact by amplifying the semblance of added area and light.
  • If you’re thinking of doing any renovations, consider adding a bay window. Not only will it maximize square footage, but it will provide the added bonus of flooding the house with natural light.
  • Keep things simple.  Clean lines make things feel streamlined and give the impression of openness.
  • Take advantage of high ceilings by going vertical with cabinetry.  Not only will it draw the eyes up and away from the limited counter space, but it will also provide maximum storage.
  • Continue thinking up and not out by utilizing tall bookshelves.
  • Use furniture pieces that serve more than one purpose.
  • Got stairs?  Don’t let the area underneath them go to waste.  There are great options for creating extra storage that will be functional and look great too.
  • If you’re going to hang curtains, hand them as high as you can to make the ceilings seem higher and extend the rods about 4 inches on either side to make windows seem wider and to allow more light in when they are open.

Downsizing and simplifying will make you realize that less really is more, but it doesn’t mean you must sacrifice style and comfort!

If you’ve been thinking about simplifying your life by downsizing, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you in finding the perfect home!  Call them today at 334-834-1500.

Photo Credit: countryliving.com

What NOT to Throw Away When Downsizing

by The Hat Team

Getting organized to move is an arduous task.  It makes sense to get rid of a lot of unused belongings when you are getting ready to pack and move, especially if you are downsizing.  But it’s important not to go overboard! There are some things that are worth keeping. In fact, there are some things you should never throw away, even when downsizing:

  1. Important Papers.

You should let go of as much paper as you can before moving, but be careful that you don’t thrown away important documents.Hang on to the following: birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, social security cards, retirement documents, medical records, insurance policies, passports, wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, property deeds, investment records, education records, diplomas, military service records and vehicle titles.

  1. Collections.

If you collect something, clearly it has significance to you. Maybe you just like it, or maybe it has sentimental value.Either way, you should definitely take your collection with you and make room for it in your own home.Now, if you have several collections, you might have to pick your favorites and leave some behind.But downsizing doesn’t mean having to let go of the things that mean the most to you.

  1. Family Heirlooms

Sometimes you inherit things that you feel you must keep just because they were passed down to you from family.But you don’t really like them. You keep them packed in a box and don’t use or display them.There is no point in moving these to your new home. But family heirlooms that you love should make the cut.Downsizing gives you the opportunity to take stock in your family heirlooms and decide what is worth keeping and what can be sold or given away.Take the items that you enjoy and that are meaningful to you…leave the rest.

  1. Electronics

Unless you have the time to make sure that all your electronics have been completely cleared of personal information, you should take them with you.The last thing you want is to give away, sell, or dispose of electronic devices that still carry your personal information.

  1. Photographs

When you are in the midst of packing for a move and you are exhausted and overwhelmed, you might start throwing away things that seem unimportant at the moment…but you may regret it later.Take all your photographs with you.If you have time, save space by getting them digitized using a company like Legacy Box. But don’t throw them away!

  1. Landline Phones

Many people rely solely on cell phones these days.But you never know when you might misplace your mobile phone, run out of battery or lose service.Keep at least one land line for emergencies.

  1. Sentimental Items

This may seem like a given.Of course you won’t leave any sentimental items behind.But sometimes it’s difficult to decide what holds deep sentimental value to you, especially when you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you have to move and fit into your new, smaller home.Don’t let downsizing make you feel like you must get rid of the things that mean most to you.Choose the ones that mean the most and bring them along!

Are you looking to downsize? Sandra Nickel and her team of professional Realtors can help you get your current home on the market and assist you in finding the perfect home to suit all your needs and desires. Give them a call today at 334-834-1500!

Choosing a Self-Storage Unit - What You Should Know

by The Hat Team

Whether you are downsizing and need a storage unit to hold belongings you don’t have room for in your home, or you are putting your house on the market and need to store extraneous items so you can stage your rooms to sell, you want to choose one that will best suit your needs while keeping your valued possessions safe and secure.  Here are some questions to ask before choosing a storage unit:

  1. What are you looking for in a storage unit?  Do you need a large or small one?  A storage unit manager can help determine what size unit you need if you provide a list of items you intend to store there.  Will you want climate control?  Units with climate control are more expensive, but if you are storing delicate items, it will be worth the extra cost to keep them safe should temperatures greatly fluctuate.
  2. Where is the storage facility located?  Will it be convenient for you to get there? Storage facilities located in highly populated areas tend to be more expensive than those in more remote areas.  If you are storing things long term and won’t be visiting the unit frequently, choosing one located in a remote area may be less expensive for you. But if you are going to need access to your things on a regular basis, you will want one that is located close to where you live or work.
  3. What are the business hours of the facility?  Not all storage facilities are open 24/7.  You will want to make sure that you can get into your storage unit during hours that suit your needs.  Find out if their business hours work with your schedule or if they offer on-demand access.
  4. What kind of security do they have?  The fact that you are willing to pay to store your belongings means that they have value to you.  You want them protected.  A well-run storage unit facility should have at least some of the following security features:
  • surveillance system that includes cameras and alarms
  • a strong fence surrounding entire facility
  • a gate that only provides access to people authorized to be there
  • security guards
  • smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler systems
  • well-constructed units built with safety and security in mind (good ventilation to prevent mildew, raised floors in case of flooding, solid doors with strong locks)
  1. What is the condition of the facility?  Observe the facility to see if it is kept clean and tidy.  Ask about pest control and look for any evidence of infestations. Make sure there are loading docks and equipment available to you and that there is sufficient parking near the units.  Check it out at night to see if it is well-lit.  Ask how many units are currently rented. If the number is low, that is a red flag indicating that something might be wrong.
  2. Do they offer theft and damage insurance coverage for your possessions?  For peace of mind, it is important that they do.

The most important thing to remember is that you should never choose as storage facility without seeing it in person first.  Visit a few and take notes on the positives and negatives of each. Making an informed decision will be the best way to be sure that your treasured personal property is in good hands.

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Items-to-Throw-Out-Before-You-Move

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Organizing-Your-Home-Made-Simple

http://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com/Blog/Tips-for-Keeping-Your-House-Ready-To-Show-at-Any-Time

Is It Time To Downsize Your Home?

by The Hat Team

If you’ve officially joined the ranks of the empty-nesters. one of the first questions that usually comes to mind is should we downsize our home. The kids are gone and we probably don’t need this big house. But is buying a smaller home right for you? Obviously, there are pros and cons to consider about both your finances and lifestyle before making a decision.

downsizeReasons not to downsize:

  • The family is spread all across the country and you want to have a place for everyone to gather for the holidays and vacations.
  • You’ve been in your current home for many years and have filled it with mementos you don’t want to part with.
  • You’re not emotionally ready to pack up and leave a lifestyle you worked hard to create. Leaving family, friends and familiar surroundings is more than you can bear.
  • You enjoy the feelings that go along with your larger home. A smaller home will not feel right for your current lifestyle.

Reasons to downsize:

  • The lower (or zero) mortgage payment that comes with a smaller home would give you more discretionary funds to travel and enjoy other recreational activities.
  • A smaller home means less to maintain and more time to play.
  • You and/or your spouse are not able to navigate the stairs like you use. A single level home is more desirable.
  • A smaller, newer home is more efficient and cost effective.
  • You need to be closer to a family member who needs assistance and your attention.

If you decide to downsize, make sure the new home fits both your lifestyle and pocketbook. Talk with a real estate professional about how much money you will net from the sale of your current home, as well as the costs of buying another one. Look into how much it would cost to move and to maintain the smaller home. Make sure it really is cheaper to live there. Downsize only once you’re satisfied that the finances make sense.

Buy into your new lifestyle


A smaller house in your current neighborhood could be the right decision if your priority is maintaining close ties to neighbors. Just make sure there are amenities like public transportation and stores nearby if your health begins to deteriorate.

A retirement community could be perfect if you never want to move again and you want to focus on travel, hobbies and perfecting your golf stroke instead of mowing the lawn. Talk to current residents to see whether they’re happy with the rules and the way things are run. Another option you may prefer is a condominium to eliminate the maintenance but not be locked in for life like many life care communities.

It is a big decision to downsize. So, make it carefully, do not rush, and get professional advice about the real estate and financial aspects of moving.

Information provided by Montgomery AL Realtors Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Home Too Big Now?

by The Hat Team

Once the kids are grown, have careers, relationships and get a place of their own, parents find that they may not need their “big” home like they did before. Their lifestyle may have changed and the house just doesn’t “fit” anymore.

kidsBenefits of a smaller home:

  • Easier to maintain 
  • Lower utilities
  • Lower property taxes 
  • Lower insurance
  • More convenient location
  • Convenience of a single level
  • Possibly more energy efficient
  • Possibly lower maintenance

Moving from a larger home frees equity from the previous home that can be invested for retirement income, purchase a second home, travel, education or just to have a nest egg for unexpected expenses.  The profit on the home, in most cases, will be tax-free up to the exclusion limits set by IRS.

There will be expenses involved in selling a home as well as the purchase of a new home.  These will lower the amount of net proceeds available to invest in the new home.

Like any other big change in life, it is recommended that you take your time to consider the possible alternatives and outcomes.  Your real estate professional can provide information that can be valuable in the discernment process such as what your home is worth, what you will net from a sale as well as alternative properties for your next stage in life.

Information courtesy of Montgomery Realtor Sandra Nickel, Hat Team.

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