Thinking about downsizing? Here are a few tips

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My wife and I just downsized from a 4,000-square-foot residence to a 1,400-square-foot town home. We were paying for a home that was beyond our needs.

We reduced our living expenses in all categories; however, it took a lot of hard work. Here are a few tips to consider that might help you downsize in the future:

1. Where do you want to live when your home sells? I know this sounds funny since you haven't even put your home on the market, but it's critical to know where you want to live, how many homes or condominiums are available currently and how long they stay on the market. You must be flexible to a certain extent.

2. Sell, donate and dump. Your Realtor is looking for your home to show lots of space, which means you must clear out the clutter and dispose of those items that fill up your home.

There is an auction house in Savannah where you can make a few bucks on select items, and a number of thrift stores that take most everything but have become recently more selective.

Then, there's the "dump," or convenience center, where you can throw stuff away. This could take more than a few trips, depending on the amount.

3. Make home improvements before going on the market. This one is a bit tricky. Do you paint and replace the carpet? Do you replace the outdated wallpaper in the bathrooms and kitchen? Or let the new owner make those decisions?

There are many areas where an older home could use updating; but, should you do it and have the home look "current" or let the buyer make those changes and have it reflected in the list price?

This topic should be discussed with your Realtor. Remember: First impressions are very important!

4. Staging and having videos of your home. When your home is ready to be shown, two marketing tips to consider: Have a decorator "stage" or furnish key areas of your home; and have a professional photographer video the interior and exterior of your home and property.

If appropriate, have aerials shot by a drone. They are extremely effective.

5. Consider a bridge loan. When downsizing, if you have found the perfect smaller home or condominium, and your home hasn't yet sold, consider getting a bridge loan from a local bank. This would enable you to get the place you want now (small down payment) and let the equity from the sale of your home pay off the bridge loan when the house sells.

Joe Agee is the marketing and sales director for The Seabrook of Hilton Head. The Seabrook.com

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