Getting Your Edge: How to Rightsize your Home and Life.

From Fear to Freedom: Confronting Barriers to Downsizing

March 20, 2024 Judy Gratton and Dennis Day Season 2 Episode 37
From Fear to Freedom: Confronting Barriers to Downsizing
Getting Your Edge: How to Rightsize your Home and Life.
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Getting Your Edge: How to Rightsize your Home and Life.
From Fear to Freedom: Confronting Barriers to Downsizing
Mar 20, 2024 Season 2 Episode 37
Judy Gratton and Dennis Day

Four million people will turn age 65 in 2024. Eventually, most of us have to downsize. In this episode we will discuss the beginning of Judy's Downsizing Adventure, with real stories. We explore the fears and concerns that often hold homeowners back from making the leap to a smaller home. Through personal anecdotes and expert advice, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the sentimental attachments and practical challenges that come into play. From tackling the fear of letting go to envisioning a more manageable lifestyle, we uncover strategies to overcome procrastination and embrace the freedom that downsizing can bring. Tune in as we discuss the emotional side of downsizing and how to navigate this significant life transition with confidence.

We Would Love to Hear Your Feedback!

Show Notes Transcript

Four million people will turn age 65 in 2024. Eventually, most of us have to downsize. In this episode we will discuss the beginning of Judy's Downsizing Adventure, with real stories. We explore the fears and concerns that often hold homeowners back from making the leap to a smaller home. Through personal anecdotes and expert advice, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the sentimental attachments and practical challenges that come into play. From tackling the fear of letting go to envisioning a more manageable lifestyle, we uncover strategies to overcome procrastination and embrace the freedom that downsizing can bring. Tune in as we discuss the emotional side of downsizing and how to navigate this significant life transition with confidence.

We Would Love to Hear Your Feedback!

Dennis Day's Zoom Meeting - March 19

 VIEW RECORDING - 37 mins (No highlights)

@2:54 - Judy Gratton

Welcome. Hello.


@2:56 - Dennis Day 

And Judy, we've been talking about downsizing on this podcast for about a year and a half.


@3:02 - Judy Gratton

I know you've talked about downsizing for quite a while as well. Two or three.


@3:08 - Dennis Day 

So have you started?


@3:11 - Judy Gratton


 @3:13 - Dennis Day 


@3:15 - Judy Gratton

Here, I'm telling everyone else how to do it and I haven't started.


@3:20 - Dennis Day 

Well, tell us what specific concerns or fears do you have about downsizing into a smaller home that maybe has you stuck?


@3:30 - Judy Gratton

I think it's this starting. Oh, well, there's many, but you know, we've been in the home that we're currently in right now for 30, 34 years maybe and there's a lot of stuff here.

I have way too much stuff and I getting rid of it is difficult. Almost all of it has history.

And like I told other people, take pictures right, write it on a card. I haven't started that. I have actually gone through a few things and I've gotten a few things selected that's going away but not even nearly enough.

Going through this stuff is very, very difficult. Letting go of and it feels weird. It feels like I'm closing a chapter and that's kind of sad.

So that's part of the issue right there. I'm overwhelmed with the stuff. I'm emotional about the stuff. And really I don't want it anymore.

It's like I opened my cabinet door the other day to get my crackpot out and there was this turkey casserole thing.

in there that I have never ever used and I'm like why is that sitting and there was a cat a French press coffee maker I've never used and I'm like but I might I took the turkey casserole thing out but the coffee maker is still sitting up there and I need to get it out because I've never used it and I don't know how many years I've had it and so it's got to go away and that's that's it's hard it's just hard what's why do you want to downsize we live in it's myself my husband Jim who's works with us and then we have a disabled son Skylar who is 32 and suddenly we're in a house that is way too big it's two stories my husband just had knee surgery and so

Daily right now to take care of him. I'm going up and down those stairs at least 15 20 times a day I'm really getting good exercise, but I'm exhausted and then it's on a fairly large lot And I I love gardening, but it's getting to be too much Um, there are so many other things that I'd rather do than take care of the yard now So So those are the same reasons.

Oh, and beyond that I really want to move to the beach Okay Have you spoken to others about their downsizing experience that oh yeah I being in real estate for as long as I've been in real estate.

I have dealt with many people who have Downsized you to buy choice or by necessity And I've seen the good the bad and the ugly on how that goes

And that's very frightening to me. I don't want to end up in a situation where I don't get to say what stays, what goes, where I go, that sort of thing.

And so I have talked to a lot of people about it. I've talked to others that are in the same boat that I'm in, they're so overwhelmed and afraid they don't want to do it.

And that's basically when we talked about starting the podcast, that was the reason I felt that I wanted to help people with ideas that could hopefully help them make decisions about how to do it.

So it's not that I don't know how, it's just it's overwhelming and it's scary and it's emotional. And that's what everybody else that I have dealt with has gone through.


@7:51 - Dennis Day (John L Scott Real Estate)

Are there any financial considerations that have contributed to your hesitation to downsize?


@8:02 - Judy Gratton

Well right now the we still have a mortgage on our house and we have this wonderful 3.5% interest rate that during an emergency period in the United States interest rates went down to that.

That is not normal, never has been. In fact six and seven percent were considered average four and five years ago, 18 years ago they were higher than that.

So you know I know people aren't really interested and I get it, that it's what they can get today.

But it's really hard to give up that three and a half percent interest rate and look at buying anything at seven because it basically brings your buying power down by about half.

So you're paying twice as much in an interest rate your payments will be to keep the same kind of payment that we're comfortable with.

would cut the value of the home that we could buy. So that interest rate is hard to give up.


@9:08 - Dennis Day 

Yeah. Now, is there a chance that by selling your home that there would not be a need to finance at another site in the Long Beach area?


@9:20 - Judy Gratton

It would not probably meet our goals. I want an ocean view and I want, to be honest with you, downsizing to a smaller home is probably not.

It's not my choice, just because we have so many. My husband is a musician and one whole room is devoted to music.

Then my son, who is 32, we made this horrible mistake of remodeling and giving him a man cave. And he has his recliner in there and his desk in there and his bed.

in there and if I can't find place to accommodate that for him. So, as much as I would be fine going to a two-bedroom, they would not.

So, probably not going to work unless it was really an emergency and he didn't have a choice.


@10:19 - Dennis Day (

Well, how about the rest of your family? You're ready, but you're how about Jim and Skylar? What do they think about?


@10:29 - Judy Gratton

Jim is ready. We love Long Beach, Washington and we have a small condo down there. It's too small to live in, but it's got an ocean view and it's just wonderful.

But we also, it's what's called a condo tell, so you agree when you buy it. It's not a timeshare, but you can only stay 21 days out of the month and then it goes into a rental pool.

And so, we couldn't really live there, but Skylar does not want to move. at all. He was born and raised in this house, in this town, and he does not want to move.

And that's tough. You know, he's just never ever moved, so he doesn't know what it's like. And he does have some delays that make him hard, makes it hard for him to rationalize and understand change.

So anyway. And that's part of his disability. That's part of his disability.


@11:32 - Dennis Day (



@11:32 - Judy Gratton

around it, not going to make his mind.


@11:36 - Dennis Day (John L Scott Real Estate)

That's not uncommon with everybody. I remember when my parents long, long ago were talking about moving, we just begged them to move to a house that we would not have to change schools.


@11:50 - Judy Gratton



@11:51 - Dennis Day 

it was terrifying.


@11:52 - Judy Gratton

Yeah, Skyler isn't in school anymore. He's been looking for a job and he's got some good things. going on here, which I don't know how we would accommodate that, because Long Beach is on a good day, four hours from where we are and on a traffic day six, as you all know.

Anyway, so I don't know, I don't know how it's all and that's that's the other thing. I'm just torn about taking him out of his environment where he's comfortable.

I'm I'm looking into other avenues for him, but they're not none of them are really jump up and down exciting.

So so yeah, that's that's how they feel about it, I think.


@12:46 - Dennis Day 

How do you as a family, maybe not scholars so much, envision your lifestyle changing when you make this, eventually you make this downside.


@13:00 - Judy Gratton

I, Long Beach is still a small town and in the summer it can be crowded but in the rest of the time it's not and so I wouldn't be fighting traffic you know Seattle area has kind of turned into another LA and that would be eliminated and part of me is kind of afraid of what if I get down there because it is such a small town area for instance the friend of mine who does look down there had to have an MRI at the hospital and the MRI machine was in a trailer behind the hospital and they that you have to have insurance that will cover air lifts and ambulances but air lifts are the big deal because if you have an emergency that they can't cover you have to be air lifted to a larger city.

And there are things like, you know, who's gonna do my hair, where am I gonna get my nails done?

We're spoiled with the amount of different kinds of grocery stores we have here. However, at the beach, there are a lot of, well, the fresh fish, I could get anywhere at any time, which we love.

And there are foragers that go out, there's all kinds of really cool things down there. So, but part of me is afraid of losing what I have here.

I'm comfortable. I know where everything is. And there, even though I go down there a lot, there's gonna be times where I'm gonna have to go, where do I get this done?

And the cool thing about Long Beach is it's very close. You can go over a bridge on the Columbia River and be in Oregon.

And within 30 minutes, there is a Costco and a Fred Meyer and more. whatever that's the larger stores, but you know I'm sure I'm going to run into services that there's no home goods store, there's no TJ Maxx, there's no Nordstrom so.


@15:14 - Dennis Day 

So you have concerns about health care in the I mean rural areas are really struggling with keeping hospitals open and having the specialists nearby and so forth.


@15:29 - Judy Gratton

I don't I think you have to go I don't know how far I've heard of people going to Longview which is east of the Columbia River, Portland, Olympia, don't know in terms of specialists they're not there, they're not on the pencil it is a very small town.

The pencil is I've heard but it keeps getting larger. larger it's really weird because sand what's the word anyway it's added to the beach every year and so it's gotten wider but it's 10 miles long I believe and a mile wide is what I've been told so it's not very wide it might be a little more than a mile but it's not very wide so it's really a small area.


@16:30 - Dennis Day 

So what advantages do you see in a down size?


@16:37 - Judy Gratton

Not having that yard that'll be you know the house may not be much smaller but the yard will not be this big and hopefully not having the stairs because that's a huge concern.

So the stairs, the yard, I think I've just have a lot more peace of mind not worrying about those things.


@17:08 - Dennis Day 

Yeah, I feel like stairs, eliminating the stairs can really add the amount of years that can stay in your home.


@17:19 - Judy Gratton

I think you're right. We've had someone on about, you know, turning your home into a place that you can live in forever.

And, you know, I know that our bodies just don't, they're not going to last that long. And those stairs, they're scary now with your hands full.

And I have probably about 14 stairs going down. But it's exhausting. It's just when you have to do it again and again and again all day long, it's really tiring.

So I love to get rid of the stairs.


@18:02 - Dennis Day 

So, I'm going pause that, I don't know, what else did you ask all the questions? Well, some of them we've already answered, okay, there are aspects of current law talked about that.


@18:21 - Judy Gratton

Well, I'm going to say that that I have started writing about it on WordPress and I am going to try and chronicle my efforts in hopes that other people can get inspired to do the same thing if that's what they want to do.

Okay. Is that okay?


@18:43 - Dennis Day 

Yeah. And then you want to just wrap it up?


@18:47 - Judy Gratton

Well, then you go, we just briefly wanted to discuss something that has happened in the last week. It's been a week, right, less than a week.


@18:57 - Dennis Day 



@18:58 - Judy Gratton

All right. Thank you.


@19:04 - Dennis Day 

We can say, are there any other aspects of downsizing that you actually look forward to?


@19:16 - Judy Gratton

Yes. Yeah.


@19:18 - Dennis Day

Okay. Let's do that.


@19:19 - Judy Gratton



@19:20 - Dennis Day 

Promise. All right, let's, a lot of things we've talked about are the fears or the concerns. Or how am I going to do this?

Are there other things, maybe besides the stairs that are that you look forward to in a smaller space in a small town?


@19:46 - Judy Gratton

The community at Long Beach is wonderful and we really look forward to that. Jim is already very involved in the music industry down there, which there's, you know, Seattle, I'm sure has lots of opportunities, but this.

small-town feel of it, he really likes. If I get what I want, getting up in the morning and seeing that ocean every morning will be really great for me and simplicity.

I'm just trying, getting rid of the stuff is going to simplify my life and allow me not to worry as much about what my kids would have to take care of.

If I didn't, that's always huge in my mind. And I'm going to, we have a blog, it is on our website, and I am going to chronicle my efforts on the blog in hopes that people can go there and at least if this is something that they want to do or they've been thinking about it, if I can get through it, you can get through it.

So I don't know how long it will take, but that's what we're We're doing so.


@21:03 - Dennis Day 

Well, some of us feel like we've talked about for that. Hey, downsizing to be a five year plan for more.

I mean, it's not.


@21:13 - Judy Gratton

I mean, I'm hoping I'm not a five year plan, but I'm I'm going to chronicle it. I'm going to go like right now.

I'm I just started the blog writing it about stuff because that's that's the thing that's where I am right now.

I'm stuck on the stuff and I've got to get rid of it. I'm going to have a major grudge sale in May is grudge shell season here.

I've got I bought boxes and I actually have one almost full. So I am doing some things. Jim is Jim is stuck on a couch right now.

So I am handing him stacks of CDs and it's like get rid of them. That's the Beatles. I don't care.


@21:57 - Dennis Day 

You can stream it. Get rid of it.


@22:00 - Judy Gratton

so I'm torturing my husband because he can't stand to get rid of music so yeah I'm not sure when the last time I listened to a CD I know I have some equipment that plays it my car still plays CDs but I very rarely yeah does Jim have LPs around oh yes and that'll be the next for him I and it's like you he just can't part with them yeah but a bunch of them are gonna go friends who wants LPs so bad that I'll probably give them first choice at it it's funny you know goes around comes around and LPs are considered a pretty big deal right now so that right didn't know that for anybody who's under 40 who might happen to be listening we used to do LPs on a cold breath they're the ones that want them is that right according I'm not good

the sound, but according to my husband and to them, the sound is warmer from a record than for anything else.

We have a record, a turntable, a cold turntable now. And there are, like I sold the house to a young couple that are probably in their 30s and they, he was big time into.


@23:22 - Dennis Day (

It's, you'll be one of the people I call. Well, there's no shortage of people who are willing to take most of your stuff.


@23:32 - Judy Gratton

It's surprising. I hope you're right.


@23:36 - Dennis Day 

Well, I'm like you that we have rooms that are just filled with stuff. We've got two kids who've gone.

So their rooms are filled with their stuff that, you know, we've got boxes of kindergarten things. And it makes me anxious.

Tell me, really just, oh, All that stuff just sitting there like it's What do I do with it? It makes me anxious and I'd like to get rid of it.


@24:07 - Judy Gratton

I mean my daughter is they I'm like you need to I I sent her a box I'm kind of getting to the point where I'm not gonna send boxes to North Carolina anymore Because they're outrageously expensive the mail is just incredible for Valentine's Day.

I bought a couple little cheap things to send to my granddaughters and And the mail was $35 so I've saved her dolls her briar horses and It's kind of like if you want them you're gonna have to ship them Otherwise, I'm gonna get rid of them and I've gotten rid of not really much of her stuff But I've gotten rid of some of the toys and things that they won't use so Well, thank you Judy for sharing your story.


@24:57 - Dennis Day 

I Think we had some big big, big news in the real estate world where there was a story about a huge settlement between the National Association of Realtors and I don't even know who was suing them.


@25:16 - Judy Gratton

It was a class action lawsuit. There were two. I don't know if the second one has been settled or not.

I believe the first one was in Missouri and the second one I believe was in Texas when I may be wrong on that and it was the Missouri trial that came to a close and they were they lost the National Association of Realtors and again it was my understanding that the lawsuit was around the transparency behind how real estate agents get paid.

So and there's right now there is a lot of misinformation flying around. People have not done enough. research before reporting on the outcomes, they are leading people to believe that they don't have to pay their real estate agent.

And I'm sorry, but it's really tough for real estate for anybody to work for free. It's kind of like what you do.

But the bottom line that I've been in and right now between National Association of Realtors and the class action group.

And then the DOJ, I believe, has to agree. That's what we've been told. And that probably won't happen until July.

So right now everything is status quo. But after that, because the majority of multiple listing services, and that's where all agents put their listings so that other agents can find.

them for their buyers are owned by the National Association of Realtors in the United States, and they have agreed as part of the settlement if it comes into play that they will not publish buyer agency commissions in the listings anymore, which leaves the buyer's agent not knowing what the pay was.

And so now it will become, and it already is in the state of Washington, a law, we must have a buyer agency contract with a buyer before we can even show them a house.

And the contract is stating what they're going to get paid, where that money is going to come from the length of the contract.

And I haven't really reviewed it lately. I'm sure there's other parts of it, but that the agent is required to get that from the buyer according to the law before they open any doors for them at all.

And other states, some have them, some don't. I don't know if this will end up with all states having a buyer agency agreement.

I really don't know how this is going to shake out. But in the agreement, I mean, there are options that the biggest issue for buyers is many of them get financing.

And they have money for a down payment. And then they have closing costs of roughly 3% normally. So their cash out of pocket can be anywhere from three to whatever up.

But they've never allocated funds to pay the buyer because the loan went to the seller and the seller paid the buyer's agent.

So the money has just kind of filtered all over into the seller's side and then the seller has paid the buyer agent and now we're not quite sure how that's going to work out but but the bottom line is what an agent brings for a buyer is protection and knowledge and negotiation skills and it's you know you the data has talked about the fact that that like for sale by owner transactions are three to four times more likely to end up in court and that's what you want to avoid is a lawsuit because nobody wins but the the attorneys so at this point in time there is a lot of misinformation that's leading people to believe that they don't have to pay real estate agents real tours in particularly which are people who are part of the

the Association of Real Estate, they abide by a code of ethics that they can be called out by the National Association of Real Estate of realtors, as well as the Department of Licensing.

So there is a difference between a realtor and a real estate agent. But I think both everybody is going to be affected by this and how buyers agents get paid and by whom.


@30:28 - Dennis Day 

And it kind of scary, in my opinion, little scary for buyers because they're going to be they're going to be in circumstances that it's possible that they will be expected to pay the commission and it's not something that can be financed at this time.


@30:46 - Judy Gratton

No, it can't be financed so the the options available for that are again to ask the seller for concessions to pay

allowable closing costs and commissions. And it will be basically done the same way it's always been done, but it will be worded differently.

I think, again, I don't know for certain how this is all going to come out. In Washington state, we are already by law required to have a BIRES agency agreement, and it already discusses the payment and how it's going to look for, and so there are choices and whatever the buyer does, the buyer is going into it fully aware of how this works.

So there won't be any surprises. That is the really good news, is that the transparency is, I mean, you can see right through it now, but the questions that have been left as a result of this are tremendous.

And people are scrambling right now to figure out how better us to approach it in the fairest manner for everybody involved.


@32:06 - Dennis Day 

Yeah, I was presented in the media as a done deal and it's really not. No.


@32:11 - Judy Gratton

I mean, there's still many steps to go that it would save you thousands of dollars and that is not necessarily the case.

You get what you pay for. That's always so, you know, if you want to get somebody who's willing to work for minimum wage, well, all I can say is before you choose an agent, you should be aware of the fact that anything you say can be used against you in a contract.

So you have an agent who is 100% ethical and who is knowledgeable and who knows how to work the contract for you.

I'll give you an example. You go into an open house. and you tell the agent there that you just won the lotto, you just won the lotto, you're thrilled, you're excited, and so you're going to buy a house.

And the house is $150,000. And you don't want to offer that much. Who cares if you won the lotto, you want to offer $95,000 or whatever.

And that agent, if they're thinking about what they're going to make, and they make money based on a percentage of the sale price, they may try and encourage you that you need to offer more versus what you're asking for.

And that's where your words could be held against you. You're disclosing things to your agent and you need to know that your agent is ethical and has your back and will protect you to the rest of their ability.


@34:00 - Dennis Day 

Try and keep your listeners informed as this works out. lot has to be done. It's not even supposed to be fully settled until July.

So there's more to come and then it's going to take some time to figure out how it all works.

We've depended on the model that has been kind of crumbled to where the seller pays both fire and seller commissions.

that's just it's in what happens now is unknown.


@34:37 - Judy Gratton

Correct. I'm hoping that we will have a lender on because it also affects certain loans, like FHA loans and VA loans.

They have to approve of whatever goes through. It's my understanding. Again, I don't know for certain. So we will be having a lender on in the near future and discussing this more thoroughly when we know more.



@35:00 - Dennis Day 

And we'll keep an eye out. Go to to look at Judy's what's the blog and see how her please see the progress or not progress.


@35:15 - Judy Gratton

Thank you.


@35:17 - Dennis Day 

It is a journey. So thanks so much for coming in. We appreciate you as listeners. You can always find us at if you have questions concerned.

And we've got kind of a new motto. Let's talk about that. How about more home? Oh, no, sorry. Wrong.

I got to get right. Less house, more home. Discover downsizing with us. Because we are the down. You will be the downsizing expert because you're going through it.

And you'll be chronicling it. how people about their feelings and your feelings and struggles and so forth. Thanks, Judy.

You have a great rest of your week and we'll see you next time. Bye.


@36:13 - Judy Gratton

Bye. All right.



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