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Wanted – Member Input on Selling Your Home, Moving, Downsizing Survey

Category: Retirement Planning

July 29,2014 – One of the top requests in our recent member survey was for more information about member experiences and expectations with selling their home, downsizing, and moving. Lots of folks are looking to learn from what you think. So please, take just a couple of minutes to fill out this fun survey – we think it will be as useful to you as it is to us. Then in the next few weeks we will develop a summary article that promises to be interesting. You can also write your Comments at the end of this article. Thanks!

See the fascinating results of this survey in “Adventurous Topretirements Members Definitely Ready for Big Moves in Retirement“.

Posted by Admin on July 29th, 2013


  1. Many years ago we raised 3 children in a 1200 sq ft(small) 3-Br rancher with 1 1/2 baths.

    Over the years as the children moved out and we prospered to some extent we acquired bigger and bigger homes and property.

    Finally one day we admitted that this is not only crazy it’s just plain STUPID. We see elderly (being kind) couples here in Florida (God’s waiting room) with a huge houses all under the pretense that they will have room when children or guest visit -Let em get a cheap motel up the street or you even pay for a week. Much cheaper in the long run that having a big house.

    Duh, they seldom come if ever and in the meantime one pays the maintenance, taxes, heating and cooling cost to maintain the cost of a large home that they and do not need. As everyone knows Florida took a hughe hit about 5 years ago and houses depreciated tremendously.

    We moved into a small modular home (55+ Park) that I paid cash for and we pay $346.00 a month lot rent which includes water, lawn care, park swimming pool and activity club house. Little $$ to heat and moderately inexpensive to cool as long as you don’t keep the house so cold that you can hang meat in it.

    As Seniors on SS “downsizing” not only makes sense but it is a necessity – that is unless you are wealthy. If you are wealthy and have extra money please consider sending us some.

    Bottom line is – your not taking anything with you so you don’t need all that stuff and room.

    Be well and Prosper. Oh BTW if you ever get a chance watch/listen to George Carlins (deceased) video on “Stuff” it is true, hillarious, a little vulgar and right on.

    Robert & wife.
    PS – our home is for sale. Want to move back to Lancaster Pa and get a horse and buggy/LOL

    by Robert — July 30, 2013

  2. We did perhaps the most stupid thing when we moved to Texas; we built a bigger home- we thought it would be good since our daughter was in the tenth grade and needed room for all those teen parties…plus my mother in law lived with us. Before you knew it our daughter was in college and my mother in law moved into a home near her daughter in Florida! So the two of us were cooling and heating a 3000 sqft home!! It took us two years and in e months to sell it!! The home was beautiful but located 30 miles out of San Antonio-commuting here is not as popular as it is in NY or CALI . Although located in beautiful Texas hill country in Mystic Shores, people did not like the distance to SA or Austin. Well, we are now owners of a 1400 condo in Murrells Inlet, SC and will move permanently in Aug -my husband has been retired for ten years and I just retired. So life will now begin 🙂 After living in Texas for six years, being allergic to everything that grows here, suffering with asthma because of the allergies, daughter now will be a senior in college and will stay to complete, I think we have made a good decision.

    by DianaF — July 30, 2013

  3. Oops! forgot to mention – downsized to one small gas efficient car. Great move on our part.


    by Robert — July 30, 2013

  4. Very interesting thread.There are pros & cons with downsizing. Will be retiring in two Months and still don’t know where, when and how big yet. All i know for sure is i have to get out of NJ. Taxes:sad::sad:

    by Tony — July 30, 2013

  5. Just had a realtor friend walk-through, as a preliminary step. She was told that my target is 1-2 years, and I just wanted to get info from her about the ways to spend my money to get the house ready to sell, decluttering and staging. I thought some of you might benefit from her tip to get rid of all of my bookcases and books, since “no one reads anymore.” Likewise, get rid of the computer desk, since “everyone uses laptops now.” I expected to hear that I should get rid of the appliances, since “no one eats at home anymore.” LOL. I love my books, but I guess they’re going into storage until I find my retirement home (my idea of a heavenly retirement will be to be able to re-read my favorites). An E-reader just doesn’t do it for me. My kids already know that they’re going to be stuck either donating my books to a library, or they’ll be having a bonfire.

    by Sharon — July 31, 2013

  6. DiannaF, What is the name of your development in Murrells Inlet? We have a condo in Myrtle Beach and are headed down today to spend a few days. I really like the area, the tax advantages on the primary home and reasonable home prices. Look into the senior center in Myrtle Beach, they have lots of activities including some cool trips.

    by Dick — July 31, 2013

  7. Re Books: Sharon, I too much prefer a hard copy for reading, and have not welcomed a reader into my lifestyle. However, the library is just a few short miles from our retirement home and I will use it prolifically. Popping into the library every time we go down to our place, which we have not yet moved into full time, has been a wonderful way to get familiar with what is going on in our little slice of paradise. Located in a rural area, the library seems to be one of the centers of socialization. If my books move down with me, they will most likely find a home there, and I will simply take them home for a visit from time to time.

    by Julie — July 31, 2013

  8. Re Books: Since I own a bookstore, it’s good to hear that some folks still prefer the real thing. I have memorized an entire rant about how books are better and more efficient than e-readers (and offer many more choices) but But let that go for now.
    I’ll just say that a lot of “staging” looks very samey samey to me, and very boring. I know this is what is supposed to work with potential home-buyers, but when I’m looking at a home I’d like to see how the owners have actually used their space.

    by Judith Keefer — July 31, 2013

  9. Add me to the “me too” with books. Although I have downsized the texts that I used in the classroom. I have an e-reader that I use for popular best sellers or light reading, but prefer books for all else.

    I had to laugh about the appliances! They seem to be getting bigger and bigger even with more eating out. Thanks for the laugh, Sharon

    by Elaine — July 31, 2013

  10. Sharon
    We just put our home on the market also, and I was told the Ethan Allen bookcases and books were a great look. I do have the books strategically placed in the bookcases and the bookcases are also minimally decorated with bookends, plants,etc. Maybe by doing some rearranging you could save the expense of storage. Just a thought.

    by marilyn — August 1, 2013

  11. Dick – we own a condo in The Villas at The International Club. It is such a lovely area in our opinion. Where in Myrtle Beach should we look for those senior activities? That sounds interesting to us :). Where do you own in Murrells?

    by DianaF — August 1, 2013

  12. DianaF, my condo is in Magnolia Place about one mile north of Broadway at The Beach. The Grand Strand Senior Center is located on 21st Ave North.

    by Dick — August 1, 2013

  13. Sharon: We sold our home 16 months ago. I am a prolific reader and had four large Drexel bookcases in our living room I’ve owned for 30+ years. I did make sure the books were neat on the shelves and not stacked ever which way and upstairs I had four more bookcases in the family room and even one in our office. All were full of books. It took 3 months to sell our house but many of the positive comments were from people who loved the bookcases, loved to read themselves and many who were still working had comments about what a great way to “save” all those books until they retire and have time to read. So, I think your realtor friend is doing you a disservice with her comments. We did de-clutter by storing numerous curios, put some furniture in the attic and just kept the house neat and clean. It sold to a couple about 10 years younger than us still working (they are in their 50’s) but they said over and over again they loved our “lived in” look….

    by Terry — August 2, 2013

  14. I am quite eager to downsize. I currently have about 2300 sq ft in upstate NY, with a large yard and big garage. I do not need the space; I am a widow. I have a small dog. Why do I have all this room? Why do I have this big yard to tend or pay to have tended? My carbon footprint must be enormous for one person.

    I am looking at moving into a ‘park model’, or other small mobile home. I am looking in Arizona, as I love desert air. As I move towards that goal, my big task is getting rid of stuff. Geez, do I have stuff. I hope to move into about 400 – 700 sq ft, so that won’t hold a lot of stuff. It also won’t cost much to heat and cool, and won’t be a lot to clean…as long as I don’t overload it with junk. I was the person responsible for cleaning out my elderly aunt’s houses (2 of them)….it took me weeks, in both cases. And almost all their stuff was really just trash or giveaway stuff. But I had to look thru every drawer because there was the occasional diamond ring tossed in with the old pantyhose, empty perfume bottles and other crap. I don’t want to do that to my son or niece. And I don’t want to keep living with the crap either.

    I like to have guests, and a park model has one bedroom, so my plan is to setup my living room with a nice daybed, and a folding screen so that I can stay in the living room when I have guests, and give them the bedroom. Or they can go to a motel, as someone mentioned earlier. If I am in the desert, as I hope, I also plan to put a screen porch on my trailer and plan to use it as a guest room when the weather is nice. It just needs pull-down shades to be an extra room.

    I have been watching a site about tiny homes, and other internet resources featuring small living, and am anxious to de-clutter and downsize. I want to save my money for things other than my home.

    About books and bookcases: a few years ago I was very involved in buying and selling houses, and one of my secrets at selling quickly and getting top dollar was I am a good stager. Although someone many have gotten lucky and found buyers that liked a ‘lived in’ look, I can tell you that the look that really sells houses is: spare, clean, uncluttered yet warm. How to do that? Freshen all your paint and flooring so that everything sparkles. When you show the place have all the lights on and get as much sun as you can. Avoid nighttime showings. Get rid of pretty much everything you can live without, then arrange your rooms carefully with regards to traffic flow. You want the rooms to look spacious. Use furniture you can see beneath…it looks more airy. Clean out closets and store as much as you can so closets look roomy and neat. Get rid of most things on the walls, especially family photos. A very few well chosen art pieces are ok. But I like to add warmth with flowers, yummy towels in the bath, plants. Make sure to have a nice scent in the house…food smells work best. I used to bake a batch of choc chip cookies just before a showing, but you can also just put some cinnamon sticks in a saucepan with water and simmer them. On the outside of your house…super clean. Super neat yard. Doesn’t have to have great landscaping, but must be neat, clean and tended. Give your front door a bright coat of paint. Spruce it up as much as you can on a budget.

    So…the bottom line…getting rid of books and bookcases is a good idea, if only to make the place feel more spacious.

    I had a house in Las Vegas that the realtor said I had overpriced by 50K. It was purchased at full price by the second person to see it, who said they couldn’t resist it because it was so spacious and lovely.

    by Ginger — August 2, 2013

  15. Robert: I have stuff to hold my stuff, and places to store the stuff I can’t take with me when I travel. Soon I will need to move to a bigger place, as my stuff has taken over. Yes, George Carlin is genius.

    by Ginger — August 2, 2013

  16. I don’t know if any of have heard of Mr. Money Mustache and his blog same name. He is a big advocate of living small as retired at 38. He saved half of what he earned and now lives on $26,000 a year in Longmont Colorado. He is
    an advocate of bicycling and frugality yet he and his wife live a great life.
    He was featured in the Washington Post and apparently Wall Street Moguls seek his advice. He says Americans buy way too much stuff–and he also says we need to get rid of absolutely anything we are not using to free us up. Good to read of a younger man who also is into downsizing. He is Canadian by birth. Check it out as he is inspirational.

    by Jennifer — August 2, 2013

  17. Will be selling the home next June. Could put 20,000 into the 25 yr. home that has not had much in regards to anything being replaced. So could have paint done inside and out and carpets replaced for about 10,000 of it. Home is 1850 sq. ft., one story. Thinking of offering a 10,000 credit instead of maybe replacing kitchen counter tile with granite and possibly other small items. Thoughts of just going with fresh paint, new carpet, credit for remodel and let new buyer make further improvements vs. spending the additional 10,000 in improvements.

    by Billy Bap-AZ Bound — August 2, 2013

  18. Ginger – That’s exactly the advice that my realtor gave too! I’m decluttering a 2800 sq ft house with pool, and hope to have a lot of stuff put away by the time the last kids graduate in May. I started looking for 1600 sq ft plus (still in Mom mode as a new 60 yr old widow, in case kids want to come home). I looked up the house on Trulia that I grew up in, and realized a family of 4 did just fine in a 1200 sq home. I’m readjusting my mindset again and getting rid of even more stuff.

    by Sharon — August 3, 2013

  19. Billy: Have you gotten any realtor advice yet, on whether it’s better to offer a credit or freshen stuff up yourself? I’m trying to figure that out myself.

    by Ted — August 3, 2013

  20. Like Ginger, I’ve sold properties for significantly more than a Realtor has suggested, and even was a Realtor for a couple of years. To do this you need to make people see themselves living there. It is incredible how little vision most home shoppers have, unless of course it is taking a small negative, like a dripping faucet, and blowing it out of proportion to wondering what else you’ve neglected when it comes to maintenance. Emotional buttons must be pushed to sell a house at a good price and quickly. Push the positive emotions, not the negative.

    Don’t offer a credit to take care of a problem. Take care of the problem yourself. A buyer will always want much more than the fix will cost, and properties needing work will sell for less than they are worth. Buyers will insist on being paid well to deal with the seller’s problems. The name of the game in selling real estate is to appeal to the largest number of people, which means presenting perfection. Only a very few are capable of seeing past the fixes needed to the potential that is there.

    Since budgets are not limitless, and you don’t want to improve beyond what you will sell for, remember that the master bedroom/bath and kitchen are huge emotional push points. Everything else needs to be clean and fresh, but focus your budget here. Don’t forget the garage either. If you present a clean and organized garage, the impression will be that if the garage is that nice then the rest of the house no doubt has been maintained beautifully.

    by Julie — August 3, 2013

  21. I confess I’ve never put a property on the market without already having a place to move to, and in retirement that trend continues. We bought our retirement home 18 months ago, even though we now still have two years to retirement. We bought this fixer upper very cheaply out of pre-foreclosure, and have been working to bring it up to our standards. At this point we have moved furniture into the refurbished 600 SF upstairs, and have started work on the 720 SF lower level. We will move furniture over gradually as I fix up and stage our current residence for sale.

    This is a total luxury, but one that makes life so much easier. It also affords us the most flexibility, as we will simply keep on working until the much more expensive primary residence sells. We are downsizing our income greatly in retirement, which does not include continuing to pay for this too large property, and encouraged us to pay cash for our cheap but perfectly located retirement home resulting in very low carrying costs.

    The houses that show best to buyers is one that looks lived in, but actually isn’t. Easier to market for seller, Realtor, and buyer.

    by Julie — August 3, 2013

  22. Donate to charitable organizations whatever you feel that you do not need to take with you. I work for the solid waste industry and I hear from children who have to clean out their parents houses who have died. The children are from out of state, still working, raising their children, etc. Their parents have NEVER gotten rid of anything since their grown children were children. The grown children are using their one week vacation to clean out their parents home, divvy up their parents possessions among them, donating as much as they can, and trashing the rest in order to put the house up for sale and go back home to their lives. It is a daunting task for them. The children do not know where to begin. Imagine if you had this task to do in just one week. Simplify, downsize, donate, what do you really need? My brother took his antique dark Maryland style furniture to Florida where it was out of place because furniture is more regional in style. He regretted his decision. No one in Florida wants his old out of place furniture. If he had the chance to do this over again, he would have just bought new furniture locally for the area in which he lives in now. Also, try to upgrade your electronics too. They can be much lighter weight to handle than the old heavy TVs and computers. It saves space when moving. Even Corning ware has light weight cookware. I donated some of my cookware to a newly graduated intern in my office since she had nothing to cook with. AARP has a lot of good suggestions too if you want to check them out too.

    by Joyce R — August 3, 2013

  23. I have not seen my downsizing dilemma on this blog and it may be selfish but… I am lucky that I now renting, so do not have to deal with selling and refurbishing a house. And I did completely get rid of all furniture and almost everything including wedding gifts once. Children think it is awful I do not have baby stuff or their childhood stuff.
    But I do have wedding china and linen table cloths. I have never had a formal dining room and rarely used them. Ditto all the silver plate serving pieces. But I have been unable to sell them and my daughters do not want them.

    by Moving South — August 3, 2013

  24. Billy and Ted: If you are selling in California, you really don”t have to do anything. The market is again beginning to develop a bubble.

    by Bob P — August 3, 2013

  25. Sharon…are you seriously thinking of maintaining and paying for extra square footage ‘in case’ the kids come home? What if they don’t? Now you have wasted a lot of money. There are plenty of smaller spaces that can be used efficiently. I would think that if you have even one spare room…a guest room maybe?… could house at least two visiting children in twin beds. If you make them too comfortable in private rooms they will never leave. Unless you want them to not leave….

    by Ginger — August 4, 2013

  26. Ginger: Yup, I was thinking of the extra space. Two are just graduating from professional programs and one is a new grad. They are talking about returning home and looking for jobs in my city. The boys are NBA-size so they’ve never been able to share rooms or use twin beds. If I wasn’t an older mom (last kid at 40), retirement planning would be easier since the kids would be fully launched. I was hoping to avoid having to plan different stages of retirement at one time but I’m going to have an interim stage where the kids might still need me. Part of me wants small, one-person living. The other part of me feels that since I’m their only parent and relative, I shouldn’t just eliminate them from my planning the instant they graduate. I’m posting this since it might be a good example of one of the different circumstances and decision-making struggles that each of us goes through. There isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all retirement strategy.

    by Sharon — August 5, 2013

  27. Although I recognize the benefits and cost-savings of downsizing, I built a larger home for friends and family to visit. I did pare down my belongings, though. My current home doesn’t have a basement, so I was (luckily) forced to eliminate all the stuff I stored for years. Now, it’s fewer belongings but still a lot of square footage. As Sharon wisely says, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. I have three adult children with spouses and their children, five siblings with spouses and children, and I lived in several areas with friends who come to visit. I often have visitors and want to accommodate them in my home.

    by Jan Cullinane — August 5, 2013

  28. Sharon,

    You mention earlier that your time frame sell is in 1-2 years. Hopefully your kids will have a better grasp on their adult life by then, and you can move to a place that has what you want rather than pay for a lot of space waiting for others. Given the cost of buying and selling, I would not downsize until you are ready to do so. The boys can always pay you rent to compensate for some of your additional costs.

    We too had children on the later side, and we are retiring early. Right now we are waiting for our youngest to get out of high school before we pull the plug. My parents retired when I turned 18, selling the house and relocating to a 27′ motor home, leaving me to fend for myself. It was a different era, and I won’t do that to our kids. However, while they will always have a place to return to, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be tight in space. We will be an emergency short term solution, not a permanent landlord.

    We still have a couple of years yet before we need to deal with this fully, but we have developed a bit of a game plan. We are converting our small vacation cabin to a full time residence, though that is really too rural for an effective base for a kid who needs to work. We are looking at also getting a more urban place, or even just renting a furnished home for a few months at a time. Or we may rent out our current residence as a furnished short term rental, and use it when we need it. There is a significant demand here for decent monthly rentals for people who are dealing with things like fires in their homes, or relocation.

    We are definitely trying to think outside the box, not wanting Youngest to feel as though we are kicking him out the door, but not wanting to put our life on hold either. It was good for me to see my parents work and save hard for their early retirement, and I think it is good for our kids to see us work towards and achieve our goals, but without relinquishing our responsibility for them.

    We will definitely have different stages in retirement, as did my parents based on their health and level of independence. With a good 35-40 years ahead of us, how could it be anything but multiple stages? Not ready to put myself in mothballs yet.

    by Julie — August 5, 2013

  29. I am so proud of my husband and I. For the past 3 months we have made several big trips a week to Goodwill and the dumb has a good amount of our junk. Didn’t think it was worth our time to have a garage sale. My 37 year old daughter was furious with me because I took her 20 year old jacket (but in good condition) that was in our closet to Goodwill. That was the most difficult part. I feel downsizing has been liberating and will continue in this mode.

    by Susan — August 5, 2013

  30. We too did a lot paring down when we moved to Houston. We bought a house here – when now I think we should have rented first. We wanted a large enough house to accomodate our grandchildren – who live here – and friends who come from abroad to visit. After 8 years, only one grandkid wants to come and stay overnight (and she’s now 11 so not sure that she’ll want to continue to come within the next couple of years) and although friends came from Canada, U.S. and Britain in the first few years we were here, the visitors have slowed down too. So now we are trying to decide whats the best option for us over the next 10-20 years. Assuming both of us are still able to live either alone or without care. So, we are looking at staying where we are vs. moving to smaller rental (although we looked at about 5 places to rent, the cost was about what we pay on our mortgage – even more in some cases) vs buying a large home with a “granny suite” with my daughter and her partner in about 3-5 years time vs moving to Canada permanently. We are considering many factors, including when the time will come when we might need help to live independently. We are 65 and 67 years old now, but we are planners so have wills and have already paid for our cremation. (how’s that for planning?). We are trying to get rid of stuff, in the meantime. I’ve offered it to my daughter – who doesn;t really want it – and to friends who I think might like anything. We’re going to continue to downsize the stuff in storage shed & garage and then start on the stuff in the house. We;ve also been going through the paper we have in files we keep. Thats because we know someday our kids will have to do it for us and remembering when I had to do it for my own parents I know how tough that can be. So, I guess my advice is, well before you are moving – start the downsizine/decluttering exercise. Oh, and try to force yourself to “get rid of one if you buy another”. All this helps. I agree with Sharon that there’s no one size fits all but there are some basic steps we can all take to minimize the stress in advance of these life changing decisions.

    by sheila — August 5, 2013

  31. I agree with you. We will always have room for our children to visit.
    We are making our moving plans now for retirement, and we are including 2 extra bedrooms with baths in our new house plan. Our children are both professionals and have no money issues at all, but our home will always be their 2nd home and I wouldn’t want it any other way. They are very generous with us and appreciate all we have done for them while growing up.

    by marilyn — August 5, 2013

  32. Sharon, I think that is very generous and considerate of you. Not what I would do but we are all different. I lived in Las Vegas for 5 years, and I did buy extra space for visitors when I moved there. And that space got used the first couple of years then I guess the novelty wore off…and not as many visitors came. Still had the space though.

    by Ginger — August 6, 2013

  33. Hiring A Moving Company or Moving Ourselves Question

    We plan on packing all our household items and cannot decide if it is wiser to save some money and rent/drive a suitable truck from WI to Las Vegas OR,

    pack our items and then hire a moving company to drive our items out to new home.

    Any ideas on options and if we drove ourselves any ideas on where we could rent a truck that would fit apx. 11,000 lbs. and apx. 12 cubic ft?

    by Carol — August 16, 2013

  34. Carol We are moving this Wednesday and hired a moving company. However, we don’t have a lot of stuff and the process was stressful to us. It is a cut throat industry and the estimates varied by so much, but I learned a few things. If you are able to drive and pack a truck yourselves you will always know where your stuff is and will arrive when you arrive. That whole business wasn’t for us. I do know people who have hired day labor on both ends -packing the truck and unpacking it and it worked well for them. Anyway, moving companies use the Internet and you fill out an inventory sheet. You will then submit it and phone calls begin with estimates. Some are big companies with competitive rates and some are others are smaller companies with higher rates; some estimate using cuft and some use lbs. some will bad mouth the competition, some will not. All I can say is if your inventory sheet is done correctly, the estimate should be right on; I will give you an update once our move is over.

    by Diana at — August 17, 2013

  35. My wife and I just moved from NY to FL, 1400 miles, and I can promise you – IF YOU CAN MOVE YOURSELF DO IT!!!!!! –

    We did our homework, interviewed several companies and went with a recommendation we received from a neighbor and a co-worker. Unfortunately, the original company-subcontracted our move out without telling us-and after all our possession’s were placed in his truck, we found out that the original contract was only an estimate as the move suddenly went up $1,500, with the only explanation being there was more weight and boxes than they thought! Luckily, we choose the pre-pay option before the mover arrived at our new address, for after unloading, etc…etc… he presented the bill of lading with had another price increase – which was moot since we choose to pre-pay.

    Then of course, you have to worry about what they break, damage, etc… which you never see when they are unloading the truck and placing your boxes about your new home for you to unpack. Even if you mark your box FRAGILE, on all sides, the boxes still arrived crushed as they force them into an available spot on the truck. We took the insurance offered and are about to file a claim for several items.

    So, if you are physically capable of moving and loading the furniture yourself, rent a truck or a pod and do it yourself. You will save several thousand dollars and will have piece of mind knowing that people you do not know(movers employees) will not be entering your home and seeing everything you own: our mover picked up 3 workers from who knows where-two of which looked like this was their first job ever as mover’s, one of which I caught going through kitchen drawers allegedly looking for a knife!!!

    by Russ — August 17, 2013

  36. I noticed that reading and using a smart phone changed my eyes. I also use a computer and a laptop for hours at a time. There is new evidence that reading ebooks, laptops or computers is hurting our eyes: thinning, dry, etc. I’m keeping real books and the book cases.

    by Ann — August 18, 2013

  37. Russ…I agree with you! I moved from NY to FL four years ago and had the same type of experience as you. The craziest thing was that after four months the moving company sent me an additional bill for another $1,200 – the explanation was that there was a mix up of recording the weight on the original bill and my move was much higher weight then charged at first. Needless to say, they did not get another penny from me but I think it’s a common scam with some movers for long haul moves. Also had to put in a claim (I took the insurance too) for several “fragile” boxes where items were damaged. THOSE MOVING FAR BEWARE!

    by Char — August 18, 2013

  38. At last count I’ve moved 21 times in my life, from Indiana to Wisconsin through various Chicago neighborhoods, to Boston where I lived in every kind of set-up from artist’s loft to tiny basement studio on Newbury Street, to Somerville & various landlords there, to Wellesley, and ultimately to Deerfield, MA.
    Almost every one of those moves I made either by myself or with my wonderful husband (and if we were lucky, some friends to help us pack who were paid in beer). We did hire a U-Haul to move some family treasures from my birthplace (when Dad moved out and held his auction), and we actually hired movers (“Gentle Giant”) when we bought this building and had to tote not only ourselves but an entire bookstore. Our movers were great. They packaged everything well, nothing broke, they even brought the dozens of bookcases up to the 2nd floor of our new place.
    I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and don’t have an enormous amount of stuff to move, and especially if you have help, it’s no big thing to rent a U-Haul and DIY.
    However, there is a tipping point, where the weight, the amount, and the sheer drudgery of moving the contents of a whole house can be impossible even to contemplate. In this case get a mover, but for heaven’s sake check them out beforehand. Talk to friends, get reviews, don’t go for the cheapest unless it’s also the best.
    You will have enough to do sorting out your stuff long before the movers even get to your place to start loading.
    Warning: Don’t throw out stuff you may want later! I cannot stress this enough, what with all these “downsizing experts” telling us all to basically get rid of everything we own. Well, one of my moves was achieved in a rental BUDGET-SIZE car, all I could afford at the time. I gave away so many LPs, so many books, so many pictures (not to mention pieces of furniture) before I made the trip and I’ve never regretted anything more. There is, after all, a difference between “hoarding” and just plain surrounding yourself with things you love. It took me several years just to reconstitute my Pogo book collection, and I’m ever so glad to have it once again.
    Our next move won’t have nearly as many books, since we won’t be moving the bookstore this time, but we’ll still use a mover. The longer you stay in a place, the more things tend to accumulate.

    by Judith Keefer — August 18, 2013

  39. Something else to consider with a moving company is what they do not take…

    1-no explosives: so if you are a hunter-shooter-you have to find a way to get your loaded bullets, gun powder, primers, etc…to your new residence.
    2-no firearms unless declared, excludes handguns you gotta move them yourself
    3-no bleach products
    4-no aerosol products
    5-no nail polish
    6-no open bottles alcohol
    7-no charcoal
    8-nothing flammable-includes matches
    9-Google what mover’s won’t take-the list goes on and on

    It’s simply amazing how many cleaning products, aerosol cans, etc… that you give away or throw out because the mover won’t take them and then the replacement cost after you arrive at your new residence.

    by Russ — August 19, 2013

  40. A member had a good idea to move the following comments from the thread “Ten Retirement Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make” to this one, as they seem to be more pertinent. Thanks for the suggestion, Judith Keefer.

    Julie says
    We have been moved several times for work, with the mover being paid for by the employer. We were told never to pack anything ourselves, because they would mark it “PBO,” “packed by owner,” and it would not be insured for breakage. YMMV based on mover, but do ask what happens if something you pack breaks.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    sheila says
    We moved a few times over the past few years. The last time we moved we had the movers pack everything and move it. We contracted with the “known” movers – American or United(can’t remember which one now). In the past, we had packed ourselves and tried to save money by using smaller carriers. by the time we bought boxes and packing supplies the 2nd to last time we reckon we could have paid the same if we’d had them pack it for us. And, with a number of horror stories we’ve read over the past few years about unscrupulous movers who try to charge you more once they arrive at their destination – we are so glad we went with a well known, reputable mover.
    August 19th, 2013 | #

    Elaine says
    Has anyone used Angie’s list for movers? As a renter, I have not found Angie’s list useful so I am not a member.

    Kathy says
    We packed almost all our boxes ourselves as it was very expensive to have the movers do packing. We had them pack our flat screen tv but we packed al dishes, pictures even Chrystal ourselves. The only thing that broke was one very old mug. We were able to get a lot of packing material from our mover at no cost and spent about $50 on some additional items. It did require a great deal of time but we worked on it a couple of hours everyday. I guess it depends on how much stuff you have. We had about 9000 lbs shipped from SE MI to the Charleston area with no storage days for roughly $5000.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    Kathy says
    I forgot to say that we has several estimates and went with the company that gave us a confirmed price with a refund if it weighed less than estimated. That way we knew the price would not go up. The estimate was within 500 lbs of our actual weight. We used United.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    Kathy says
    We packed almost all our boxes ourselves as it was very expensive to have the movers do packing. We had them pack our flat screen tv but we packed al dishes, pictures even Chrystal ourselves. The only thing that broke was one very old mug. We were able to get a lot of packing material from our mover at no cost and spent about $50 on some additional items. It did require a great deal of time but we worked on it a couple of hours everyday. I guess it depends on how much stuff you have. We had about 9000 lbs shipped from SE MI to the Charleston area with no storage days for roughly $5000.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    Carol says

    Hiring a Mover or Doing It Yourself
    Any ideas on why we should/should not move our personal items versus paying a moving company?
    We can save apx. $5K. We would hire movers to pack/unload truck. Would drive the Penske truck ourselves.
    Any insight would be appreciated
    August 17th, 2013 | #

    Kathy says
    We packed almost all our boxes ourselves as it was very expensive to have the movers do packing. We had them pack our flat screen tv but we packed al dishes, pictures even Chrystal ourselves. The only thing that broke was one very old mug. We were able to get a lot of packing material from our mover at no cost and spent about $50 on some additional items. It did require a great deal of time but we worked on it a couple of hours everyday. I guess it depends on how much stuff you have. We had about 9000 lbs shipped from SE MI to the Charleston area with no storage days for roughly $5000.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    Kathy says
    I forgot to say that we has several estimates and went with the company that gave us a confirmed price with a refund if it weighed less than estimated. That way we knew the price would not go up. The estimate was within 500 lbs of our actual weight. We used United.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    Julie says
    We have been moved several times for work, with the mover being paid for by the employer. We were told never to pack anything ourselves, because they would mark it “PBO,” “packed by owner,” and it would not be insured for breakage. YMMV based on mover, but do ask what happens if something you pack breaks.
    August 18th, 2013 | #

    sheila says
    We moved a few times over the past few years. The last time we moved we had the movers pack everything and move it. We contracted with the “known” movers – American or United(can’t remember which one now). In the past, we had packed ourselves and tried to save money by using smaller carriers. by the time we bought boxes and packing supplies the 2nd to last time we reckon we could have paid the same if we’d had them pack it for us. And, with a number of horror stories we’ve read over the past few years about unscrupulous movers who try to charge you more once they arrive at their destination – we are so glad we went with a well known, reputable mover.
    August 19th, 2013 | #

    Elaine says
    Has anyone used Angie’s list for movers? As a renter, I have not found Angie’s list useful so I am not a member.
    August 19th, 2013 | #

    by Jane at Topretirements — August 19, 2013

  41. We have moved 4 times in the last 16 years. The first time was a company move and they used Graebel. They were the best. The movers, a husband and wife team, even helped us unack when they arrived late at nigh. WONDERFUL. The last time we used Mayflower. The absolute worst. They broke a number of items lost numerous pieces of furniture. I ave Queen Anne chair that is in someoes home. I would never use them or could recommend them. They even packed 1 light bulb and a pictue frame in 1 big box with a ton of paper. Crushed boxes etc. Beware

    by jeb — August 20, 2013

  42. My husband and I searched for the ideal place to retire. Since we don’t have a large family, we thought a 55. And older active adult community would be good for us. We looked at several and decided on a Traditions of America development. This company is noted to be one of the top developers of this type of community. The model homes were beautiful and we chose a small model to accommodate our downsized living situation. In planning for the home, the costs were adding up due to the ” upgrades” which of course were in the models. We are very diassapointed in the community, once here, several issues had to be resolved such as a broken window, a hole in the garage wall and a hole in the foundation , the entrance was incorrectly laid and washy replaced but still have an issue with it, baseboard size was incorrect, lawn is mostly weeds, driveway not poured, drainage issues in backyard. Construction continues here and seems that new sales are their concern ,once we closed on the property, we realized this was a big mistake. Don’t know if our issues will ever be resolved.
    Many activities here but some have a cost to them. There are so many of these developments, just wondered if anyone has any experience with them and how others feel about it.
    Don’ t know if we would be able to sell since development has a way to go before completion.
    In our case, the older we get, we are not wiser.

    by Carol — August 22, 2013

  43. We are just about to move from NV to FL (moving ourselves). We started in January going through our home, room by room, drawer by drawer. With every item, we decided to either keep it, garage sale it, donate it, or throw it away. (We made nearly $5,000 at our garage sale).

    One helpful hint – if an item bulky or quite heavy, and it can be replaced at your new home fairly inexpensively, toss/sell/donate it. Moving vans or trailers will only hold so much. I’m looking forward to a little “shopping spree” to buy “new” things for my “new” home.

    by Jody — August 22, 2013

  44. Moving from ny to SD CA with 2 dogs may 2014. Anyone have a similar experience?

    by George — August 22, 2013

  45. We had to retire due to illness. We chose to move near my parents in Boca Raton, FL for a few reasons. We could no longer afford to live in NY on our projected income. My brothers had no plans to move to Florida in retirement and my parents are in their 70s. I had always wanted the 55 retirement lifestyle and hate the cold. I was lucky to share my seat on the plane with a real estate agent when I went to look at communities near my parents when I first retired. I told her our story concerning my husband on hospice due to cancer and needing to sell our house due to me being forced to retire due to complications due to my cancer. She was so nice and agreed to take on the challenge of selling our house in a poor economy for a minimal commission. Once she evaluated our house and we acted on her recommendations, we sold the house in 6 weeks at our asking price. All told, we started the process in February and I was back on the plane in May. We only moved some end tables that doubled as storage, our queen bed since it was 2 years old, clothes, books, and other household items. We used Penske (AAA) and towed our car behind the truck. My husband’s friend drove the truck for us. We bought a small 2 bedroom condo. I was able to manage alone for awhile, but our son needed to move in with us to help me with my husband. It is important not to downsize too much. We have a small condo, but there are 2 bedroom and an enclosed patio. Plenty of room for 3 to have privacy even with all the medical equipment. Our daughter is coming next week and she will be using the pullout couch in the living room. Tight quarters, but still a bath and a half.

    by Joan — August 22, 2013

  46. To downsize and reduce a person’s “stuff” is one of the most satisfying feelings we’ve ever had. No large house to clean, only a basic wardrobe and shoe collection. Basic dinnerware and cookware. One car and maybe a golf cart. Lower utility bills, property taxes, and no lawn/snow upkeep. When we downsized we literally reduced our property 60%. We love to relax and travel without the worry of all that “stuff” and importantly we won’t be leaving our children with a big mess to contend with. Get a small home and a big life and enjoy retirement.

    by James Lenk — August 22, 2013

  47. To Tony: After 30 years in NJ we moved to Virginia Beach this past winter. Taxes in NJ are TERRIBLE. Lower real estate and auto insurance down here. Get out ASAP. Good Luck!

    by Kathy dornbach — August 22, 2013

  48. Carol: Thank you for posting. I fell in love with their models too, and was very excited – thought I had definitely found my retirement answer based their advertised prices. I then discovered the cost of their upgrades, and how little is included in the base price. (A saleswoman told me that the typical buyer adds $100,000 in upgrades, which puts them beyond my desired budget.) I’m back to looking at other developments, and feel much wiser about the possible cost of building vs. buying into an existing development.

    by Sharon — August 23, 2013

  49. My dear wife and I have moved 14 times in the past 30 yrs, living in everything from a 900 SF 1br/1ba condo to a 4800sf 4br/3ba home. So, we’ve gone thru several downsizing and upsizing cycles. Here are some lessons we’ve learned:
    1. If you haven’t used it in the past year, get rid of it.
    2. If a box has its original contents from previous moves and has two or moving stickers on it (meaning you’ve not unpacked it for two moves), get rid of it.
    3. Be ruthless about getting rid of large stuff that you don’t really use (furniture, exercise equipment, a dining room set that you never really use, etc).
    4. If you have a storage unit, you have too much stuff; get rid of it.
    5. Keep memories but, most of those are small (pictures, nick nacks, etc).
    6. Live in as small a place as you can, and don’t delude yourself about space for guests. The rule to follow is that if you don’t use the room every week, then you don’t need it.
    7. The Payoff: Less stuff and a smaller home will encourage you to get outside, which is good for us, and you will be happier (speaking from personal experience.)

    by Mark — August 23, 2013

  50. Hi All

    We are looking to move, but it seems so confusing. Do you put your house up for sale first, and then look for a new home to move into. If your house sells then where do you go if you have not found a home or waiting for new construction. I hate to rent, then you will have storage. If I find a home I like, do I buy it, NO because I can’t qualify with 2 mortgages. This seems all so stressful.


    by Dee — August 24, 2013

  51. Dee: it seems confusing, but you only have a couple realistic opinions.
    1) we started looking for another home
    2) before we found a home we wanted to buy, we put the current home on the market
    3). We found a home to buy, placed an offer, and three days later the offer was accepted.
    4) Now we owned one home and soon would own another at the same time.
    5). We borrowed money for the new home AND at the same time borrowed what is called a BRIDGE LOAN to tide us over until our original home sold and we had the cash for a decent down payment on the new home.

    2 months later when our house sold we used the proceeds to pay-off the Bridge loan. The cost of the process was two house payments and the accompanying interest…..not so bad to close the deal without any contingency on our offer for the new house. 😯

    by Dave C. — August 25, 2013

  52. Dee, your concerns about renting are exactly what land people in an expensive purchase in an area they are not thrilled about. It may be a pain to rent a bit, but unless you know the area you are moving to intimately, think strongly about renting.

    by Julie — August 26, 2013

  53. Dave, consider yourself very lucky indeed. Others, BEWARE, especially in the current banking environment. House sales can and do collapse at the last minute when, despite assurances to the contrary, the buyer’s lender rejects the loan. Owning two mortgaged properties for months (even years) is a disastrous outcome not to be wished on anyone.

    by Sondra — September 4, 2013

  54. Well, our move is completed; we left Texas on August 21st and arrived in Murrells Inlet on August 23. Our movers picked up our things on August 21st-and after giving us a two-hour window were an hour late. We were told our things could arrive in SC in two days or ten days. Our things arrived on August 31st.When they picked up our things, they needed me to sign a bunch of forms-blank forms. I refused to do so. I mean, why would ANYONE do this? The main guy kept telling me, “It was the law”; he finally filled in the forms-and although I paid extra to have a set price, managed to have to pay $50 extra for two items. I did not like the main guy’s attitude one bit. He was a terrible representative for the company-and I felt a feeling of doom. We did NOT tip these people because of the main guy. We also knew they would not be the same people delivering our goods-we usually do tip at the end, but anyway-that may have been the problem. We have always packed our own dishes and let the movers pack furniture, by wrapping things, as we did this time. We had so much breakage-and this has been a first. We have had a little breakage, very little, the other six times we have moved, but this time, it has been terrible. Every box we open has numerous items broken,table legs are broken, TV table is in bits, it is awful. If anyone wants to know the name of the company, ask me-I will be happy to supply it. We will be putting in an insurance claim. When I told the company representative, he offered us $100 so we do not have to go through the insurance company, but as I look and take pictures, we should be getting much more (of course not replacement value)but still over $100. This makes me sad.

    by DianaF — September 5, 2013

  55. Hi DianeF,
    What happened to you with your mover is my nightmare . I am moving across the country and havr not chose a movers . I would very much like to know who you used . I’m so sorry you had such a hard time 🙁

    by Sue H — September 5, 2013

  56. Sorry Diana….. must be very disappointing to have a move go so badly. I think you should just come out and name the mover. Others don’t need the pain.

    Enjoy SC

    by Dick — September 5, 2013

  57. DianeF,

    What a horrible experience! We have moved around quite a bit and our last move was what you described — lots of breakage. We will be moving next year (from Houston) and don’t want to make that mistake again. Can you please post the name of the moving co? Unfortunately, sometimes that is the only way to get a company to clean up its act! Thanks so much.

    by Fionna — September 6, 2013

  58. DianaF, I know how much you wanted to get out of Texas so I want to congratulate you on your move. I’m sorry you had a bad moving experience but….you made it! Yay,

    by Ginger — September 6, 2013

  59. The name of the company is Texas Movers out of Dallas. am not sure it if it legal to write this, but I am sure Admin will delete this post, if it is not. We had downsized so much, we did not need one of the big companies-or so we thought. This company worked with square footage and not by lbs. We were told to pack the boxes heavy because of this-it made sense-and we bought boxes from UHaul (they seem better than the ones in Home Depot, and were about the same price). Another problem was that the company did not come out in person to look at our things; I advise you to make sure a representative comes to your home and looks at your things and then gives you the estimate. While we tried to save money, this company was not the least expensive of all of our estimates. A quick note-not one company came to look at our things in person-not one. We thought that this was the norm now, but found out that there are companies who do come to your home to give you an estimate-just not in New Braunfels, Texas apparently.
    Well, Ginger, you’re right-it is over; we are here and we are safe! A very bright note. In the past two weeks (we have been here for two weeks-our stuff one week tomorrow-we got our car registered and our drivers’ licenses-smooth process. We also changed our status from “second home” to permanent residence-also a smooth process and saving over $1100 a year in property taxes :cool:Yayy

    by DianaF — September 6, 2013

  60. Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate the daily email from this site, and all the different perspectives and postings in the forums. I look forward to opening this email every morning very much. I usually find something to research further or learn about something that I haven’t considered yet. I particularly appreciate when people share their personal experiences! Thank you to Top Retirements and the people on it.

    by Sharon — September 7, 2013

  61. Many movers do not want to visit in person for estimates…times have changed.

    by Elaine — September 7, 2013

  62. Elaine-yes, that is what I was told. However, I found out that there are companies that do come out to see your stuff. Sometimes, you just need to ask, and they will come; I did not know this. The truth of the matter is that they don’t want to come and see what you have. If you have a large move, they are more apt to make a trip to you-if not a big move, they do not like to. Make sure you have a US DOT number, Google it and see what comes up before you agree to anything.

    by DianaF — September 7, 2013

  63. Diana, what made you decide on Murrells Inlet? My wife and I are looking into Myrtle Beach area. We love the area and we find the summer more tolerable than Florida and Texas . Our concern s the winter months. We too live in Dallas area in Texas.

    by Skip — September 7, 2013

  64. Skip-we looked and looked up and down The Grand Strand and settled on Murrells Inlet for a couple of reasons. We lived in Texas for six years and this entire area felt better (I have asthma and salt air id good for me as well, Murrells Inlet is slightly out of the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach during tourist season; however, close enough to get into that hustle and bustle if we want. That is not to say Murrells Inlet doesn’t have tourists because it certainly does-boy is it empty now that Labor Day has come and gone. We really liked The International Club and the surrounding area; it is just beautiful! Everyone we have met has been very friendly, but that isn’t it, actually, but it is nice. It felt like home to us. From what I have heard from the locals, it will be warmer here most of the winter than in Dallas, so if that is what you are looking for, this is a good area for you. The good thing is what they do have of a winter here lasts about 4-6 weeks.

    by DianaF — September 8, 2013

  65. My wife and I are beginning our search for a retirement location. I have seen many posts recommending renting before purchasing. We are strongly considering that option, however, we would like to visit multiple locations first, to get a feel of the area we are considering. Our quandary is the cost involved, trying to determine the best length of stay, and what methodology we should employ to be effective. I have seen some instances where you can rent a vacation villa/apartment in an adult community like Carolina Lakes, which seems prudent if you are considering that facility. But, if looking to settle in a non restricted neighborhood, then I am not sure how we can be fiscally careful while discovering the town. Can someone provide a few suggestions? Thanks.

    by Michael Koscik — September 9, 2013

  66. Michael,

    Take a look at vacation rental websites like and, or google them for the area you are interested in. If you go visit off season, you can get a reduced monthly rate. Still not cheap, but much cheaper than making a mistake. Also some suite hotels will rent by the month. We’ve stayed at a Springhill Suites by Marriott a number of times, which was quite pleasant.

    by Julie — September 10, 2013

  67. My sister-in-law used to rent out her summer place during the off season. I suspect that a lot of other people do this as well. The question is how to get in touch with these people if you’re a stranger in a strange town. My first instinct is always to google & see what comes up —

    by Judith Keefer — September 10, 2013

  68. My brother just rented a great home from for our next trip. And don’t forget

    by Ginger — September 11, 2013

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