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In our “bigger is better” culture, there’s an expectation that each home you own should be larger and grander than the last. But life changes like divorce, kids leaving for college, or even the simple act of growing older can prompt us to find a smaller home that better suits our shifting needs and lifestyle. Plus the added challenge for Mammoth Lakes homeowners of snow removal and year-round maintenance can make downsizing even more appealing.

The advantages of downsizing are increasingly recognized by people I work with. The tiny house movement has tons of passionate advocates who promote living simply. A smaller home typically costs less and also usually takes less time and effort to maintain.

Whatever your reason for downsizing, the process can feel overwhelming. Here are five steps to take to guide you through it.

1. Determine your goals and limitations.

The first step is to figure out your goals for your new home. Are you hoping to cut down on home maintenance? Are you ready for forego snow removal forever after the last big winter you went through? Are you looking for certain amenities in the neighborhood or complex you choose? Are you looking for a place with great access to local bus lines so you can easily get to Mammoth Mountain or the grocery store?

You should also consider any limitations that will impact which home you choose. Are stairs an issue? If you’re going through a divorce, are there child custody issues you should take into account? How long do you plan to stay in your new home? Also keep in mind that your goals for a primary residence may be much different than for a second home or vacation home in Mammoth Lakes.

Make a wish list of what you want and rank the list from most to least important.

2. Find the perfect new home.

Once you’ve established your wish list, we can start the search. We can talk through the ins and outs of HOAs and which ones offer the most bang for your buck. I work with clients at all stages of life, so I’m well versed in finding a good fit for each particular situation. Looking for a condo-tel type situation or a more traditional condo? I’ll share how I found my dream home in Mammoth Lakes — it can definitely be done! When the time comes, we’ll discuss what you need to know about making an offer.

3. Sell your current home.

If you’re ready to sell your current home, we can work together to prepare to list it. I work with both buyers and sellers regularly, and my goal is to reduce the stress and hassle for you, whether you’re buying or selling a home. Even if the home you want to sell isn’t in Mammoth Lakes, I have an extensive network and will find a realtor to meet your needs wherever you are located.

Making your home stand out, intentionally staging your home, and marketing it right when it’s listed are all key to getting you the best resale value. The more you can make on your current home, the easier it will be to find the perfect situation for downsizing.

4. Sort and pack your belongings.

Even before you find your new home, you should start preparing for the move. A smaller home means less space for furniture and other possessions, so you’ll have to think through what to keep and what to sell or donate. In Mammoth, Second Chance and The Cast Off are great places to donate household items. You can also try selling things on the Facebook group Buy, Sell or Trade in Mammoth or Bishop (it’s like a Craigslist for the Eastern Sierra).

Parting with things can be emotional. Start with a small and unemotional space like a laundry or powder room and work your way up to larger rooms. Focus on eliminating duplicates or anything you don’t regularly use. If you have sentimental items you’re considering parting with, think about who in your life might enjoy having them.

Make sure what you do keep will help you achieve the goals you outlined in step 1. For example, if you want a home that’s easier to clean, cut down on knick knacks. If you’re moving from a house to a condo in Mammoth Lakes, you won’t need that snowblower anymore.

5. Ask for help when you need it.

Moving is stressful in any situation, but if you’re downsizing due to health issues or a major life change, it can be even tougher. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask friends or family members to help you with packing and decluttering. You can also look into hiring a home organizer, a full-service moving company, or a senior move manager (a professional who helps older adults with relocation).

If financial constraints are holding you back, we can look into tapping into the equity of your current home. This can be helpful in getting you the assistance you need for a smooth transition.


If your home no longer suits your needs, it might be time to consider a change. Read more about buying a home in Mammoth Lakes or selling a home in Mammoth Lakes, or contact me to talk about your options.

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