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Ask McEnearney: How does it feel after a downsize?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Peter Crouch of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Peter at 703-244-4024 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How does it feel after a downsize?

Answer: A few years ago, I downsized. We moved from a single-family home to a townhouse. The kids were out of college and the question was, do we need this large house. Plus, my business here at McEnearney Associates/Crouch Realty Group is all about downsizing, helping older folks transition and working with estates, so I wanted to practice what I preached.

The real final straw in making the decision was that, as I was mowing the lawn one day, a friend stopped by and asked me to go fishing. My reply was that I was busy and that I would take a rain check.

Later, it occurred to me that one of the things I had been looking forward to through the years of trekking to sports events, band concerts, art shows and the like, was indeed the time to go fishing. And I had passed it up to mow the lawn. Yes, the lawn was a source of pride and mowing was a source of exercise, but was it fulfilling? It was nowhere on my “bucket list,” so why spend that time on it? Sure, I could hire it out, but why even have a big lawn?

Some of the answers were so the kids would have a place to come home for a visit. So I could preserve some of the antiques of past generations handed down to me. So I could host gatherings of friends/family visiting the Metro Area. So we could be near friends whose kids hung out with ours.

Nothing, however, about refocusing on things I/we wanted to do. Instead, we downsized into a townhouse. We considered a condo, but still wanted a little yard.

How are we a few years later? The kids are here all the time. They do not miss the house — it is the family they want to be near. Out-of-town guests still use us as home base for tours. The Big Brown Furniture (BBF) of past generations no longer defines our decor. (We kept smaller reminders of our wonderful heritage). I am not consumed with maintenance of a big house for, essentially, diminishing returns. And I no longer own a lawnmower.

So, give it some thought and ask yourself:

  • Do you want family to come hang out with you or with your house?
  • Do you want to preserve the Museum of Past Generations or rather smaller mementos of them, plus add your style to your house?
  • Do you want to keep up with the maintenance, whether by yourself or contracted out?
  • Do you want to focus on the activities that bring you satisfaction or the unending chores?

We are happy to chat with anyone who is thinking about a downsize or transition — even if it is to confirm that you want to stay put. Or anyone who wants to go fishing, give me a call.

Pete Crouch is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, which means he is well-versed in all aspects of moving as we age. His own downsize gave him tremendous insights into what is involved, from emotional matters to real estate considerations. Pete is a Board Member of At Home in Alexandria (AHA), our local Senior Village, and was the 2018 National Recipient of the “Outstanding Service Award” by the National Association of Realtors for his work with Senior Moves. Text 703-244-4024 or email [email protected] for a copy of his Downsize Alexandria! Booklet about living more simply in Greater Alexandria.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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