According to a survey, 42 percent of Baby Boomers plan to downsize at some point in retirement. If you’ve decided to take the plunge and downsize into a smaller home, move to a retirement community, or explore other options, you’ll be faced with a number of decisions about what to do with your existing home. We’ve provided a guide that will help you navigate the options.

Check out the real estate market in your area

Don’t rush into a decision about your house until you research the real estate market in your area. Use online sites to look for houses of a similar size and age to make legitimate comparisons. Check out photos or attend open houses to give the homes a thorough once-over, and be honest about how your home stacks up. Don’t just look at the houses on the market currently, but also research those that have recently sold.

Consider keeping it the family

Selling your home isn’t your only option. It may make sense for you to keep the home in the family. You can allow a relative to live in your home once you vacate the premises, or even opt for them to move in with you as a roommate. If you have equity in your home and the housing market in your area isn’t ideal for sellers, it may be logical to keep it. If you decide to let a family member move in (whether you move out or not), make sure the ground rules and expectations are clear in order to avoid conflict down the line.

Decide if you want to be a landlord

If you don’t want to sell your home quite yet, another option is to turn it into a rental. Being a landlord can provide a stream of income, but it’s not without its pitfalls.

Though someone else will be living in your home, keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for household emergencies, maintenance, and repairs. It’s a time-consuming job, and though you can hire a property management service, a portion of the rental income will go to them. You’ll also still have to pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, and other costs.

Prep your home for sale

If you’ve made the final decision to sell your home, you need to present it in the best way possible to attract more buyers. These tips can help you get your home ready to go on the market.

  • Boost the curb appeal – Clean up your yard and landscaping. Paint the trim and front door, if necessary, and add a fresh, new welcome mat.
  • Make major repairs – Unless you’re selling your home as a fixer-upper, you’ll need to take care of any major repairs before putting it on the market.
  • Declutter – Start packing up your belongings and decluttering your home. Buyers want to be able to picture their own stuff in the home. Remove personal items, and store them out of sight or off-site completely. It’s a great time to get rid of things you don’t want or need. Take inventory of what’s in your house, and sell, donate, or toss anything you won’t use in your new home.
  • Organize your closets – Yes, buyers will go through your closets. To make sure they appear spacious, remove at least 25 percent of your clothing and other items.
  • Deep clean – Hire a cleaning service (which costs an average of $236 in San Diego) to scrub and shine your house, including walls, windows, and appliances. Pay extra attention to bathrooms and the kitchen.
  • Stage it – Remove any outdated furniture and décor, or anything bulky and awkward. Put away small appliances and other items from your kitchen counters to make it look bigger. If you have the funds, it may pay off to hire a professional stager to get your home looking picture perfect.

The decision to downsize and move out of your long-time home can be difficult. However, once you’ve decided what to do with your existing home, it will be easier to move forward and enjoy your time at your new place.

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