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03/12/2014 11:15 am ET Updated Mar 12, 2014

The Upside Of Downsizing

Martin Barraud via Getty Images

It can happen when the kids leave home or retirement looms or your first grandchild is born hundreds of miles away. You start to think about downsizing to a smaller house or condo or a retirement community. But clearing out and selling a home, buying a new one and relocating is a major transition that takes careful planning. It could pay to find a real estate agent who works with seniors, such as an agent who has earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) credential.

Less space won't necessarily translate into less money. Seattle agent Greg Bartell says many homeowners sell their homes for, say, $400,000 to $500,000 but find that they will have to spend at least that much for a condo in the city. He suggests that they look at newly redeveloped suburban town centers that offer urban amenities.

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