Downsizing: When is the time right?

Downsizing: When is the time right?

Heather-Robbins-PNG Downsizing is different for everyone and is often bittersweet. 39% of home buyers in 2019 were seniors: seniors are moving and their goal is often to find a more manageable living situation that will allow them freedom in retirement. With that can come a lot of big decisions and the possibility of some stressful moments. The choices that seniors face can seem daunting: Should they buy a smaller house in a neighborhood? Maybe a condo in the city? Do they move to assisted living or would they rather consider in home care when the time comes? And one of the biggest things to consider: How are they going to afford to move. The best way to navigate this part of life is to have a team of experts and advisors to guide you.

One of our trusted advisers is Heather Robbins with Robbins Realty Group. Her heart lies in finding people their perfect home; where they can find comfort and peace in retirement. We inquired with Heather about downsizing as she is on the front lines working daily with people who are navigating this journey. Heather has some fantastic insights into this world and we are delighted to share them with you:

Hi, I’m Heather Robbins! I love my family, adventure/athletics, and real estate.  I have a passion for helping people find home, and being their life long trusted advisor in real estate.  Happily married for 20 years, and so blessed to be a mother to four, and own a boutique real estate brokerage in West Linn. I have been in the industry for 20 years, and 5 years ago me and my business partner(and mom) Tamie Brown, started Robbins Realty Group.  I have a degree in marketing and love to be able to showcase the homes of clients I have the honor to work with.

Are you seeing any changes in the amount of seniors moving in retirement?

Yes, quite a bit of change has been happening in the last few years, with baby boomers downsizing or looking at long term housing options.

What do they desire in their next home?

ONE LEVELS, this is the unicorn of real estate a one level home with low maintenance yard.  They are also looking for long term housing/health care options.  Mary’s Woods has been a great option locally and our company assisted helping many clients sell their homes and move there. There are a few more senior living facilities being built and we are assisting with those moves too.  We have a fantastic team that takes the worry, stress, and work off of the clients so this transaction is smooth and easy.

Traditionally, people are averse to taking on more debt during retirement and statistically, most seniors who go into retirement with a mortgage never pay it off. What would you say to seniors who would like to move but are struggling to find a home they can afford and are concerned about paying a monthly mortgage payment during retirement?

I always like to offer  “outside the box” options, a reverse mortgage is a wonderful way to make housing in your senior years more affordable and less stressful.

What are some troubles seniors have during a move?

Finding people to help them, letting go of material possessions that they don’t need but have sentimental value, the change of space, and affordability.

Is there anything a senior -in particular- should take into consideration before purchasing their next home?

Who they are working with is crucial, is this real estate broker local, experienced, has the bandwidth and TLC to assist them, and do they have a proven strategy to make this transition smooth?  This is an overwhelming experience for many selling and moving, having someone who has a caring heart and advising on best steps to make this transition is crucial.  RRG has an entire marketing plan, strategy for moving, and team to support seniors in this transition.

 How can a senior find a good realtor that will understand their needs?

Call me, I can help with this, I have a proven strategy of making this smooth and easy.  However, another option is asking their reverse mortgage broker for a few good real estate referrals who specialize in helping seniors.  Also, chatting with friends in their age group that have made this transition and getting their suggestions.  

Buying a house is included in the top 3 most stressful things in life. Are there any steps a senior can take to make the situation less stressful?

Finding a team who really knows the needs of seniors is crucial.  Someone with experience, a gentle and tender heart, and the ability to navigate the transition is huge.  A solid real estate/ reverse mortgage team will know exactly how to make this transition easy and low stress.

Could you share an anecdote with us about a time you helped a senior buy or sell a cherished home?

Yes, I just helped a couple sell their custom built home of 40+ years. They loved their home, but knew it was time to downsize; their current home and yard was too much for them and their health was failing.  I helped them get an evaluation on what their home was worth and get their home ready for market.  Then we went out shopping for a new home.  When they found it we wrote an offer, got mutual agreement with the seller and then got their house on the market two days later to sell.  These sellers were able to move once, not do any repairs on their home, and have a newer, smaller home to move into.  They are so happy with their new space, they wished they had done this years ago! They were so worried about the process they prolonged it until they had to move for health reasons.  I loved working with them, it was such a joy and truly an honor to help with their transition.

The transition into retirement can be fraught with worry but having trusted people who are experienced with this season of life can help throughout the process.  For more info on buying or selling a home, please visit Robbins Realty Group website at:

Northwest Reverse Mortgage is thoroughly experienced in helping people find the resources to guide them to a more secure future. Call us today at 503-427-1667 or visit our website at: to find out how you or your clients can purchase a new home with no monthly mortgage payments!

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Northwest Reverse Mortgage
10121 SE Sunnyside Rd
Ste 300
Clackamas, OR 97015

(503) 427-1667


Northwest Reverse Mortgage, LLC. NMLS 183-4787. Equal Housing Lender. Credit on approval. Terms subject to change without notice. Not a commitment to lend. Contents not provided by, or approved by FHA, HUD or any other government agency. All potential tax benefits should be verified with a professional licensed tax advisor. NMLS Consumer Access

At the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds; charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees; the loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance; the borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home; interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax deductible until the borrower makes partial or full re-payment.