On our home page, we cover the four stages of home ownership: first home, growing needs, an escape and then downsizing. Some choose not to downsize for a variety of reasons, including having the extra space to help a grown child with a place to live or to take care of aging parents. However, sometimes the need for change and simplifying is the best option. Your family may have a ton of memories in that house; those won’t change. Your kids may be a bit emotional about your decision to sell their childhood home, but ultimately you have to make this decision based on what your current needs and wants are. We’ve put together a list of things to consider and questions to ask yourself when deciding on whether it’s time for you to downsize.

10 Things to Consider When Downsizing in or to Louisiana:

  1. What are your reasons for downsizing? Too big, too empty? Too expensive? Too many bad memories? Too lonely? Just want a change? Want to be closer to family? When setting the price for this change, be sure to have a professional realtor who can guide you and take some of the emotion out of it so that you stay on track with your financial goals. Are you in a hurry or can you take your time to find the best solution after researching based on the tips below? If you’re in a hurry, perhaps you need an interim solution or to test out the new area. We strongly suggest spending time in the areas you are considering – not just for a weekend in the ideal season but for a week or so in the worst season. In Louisiana, that would be hurricane season. You don’t want to go into this with big rose-colored glasses only to be sorely disappointed when it’s too late and the moving van has driven away.
  2. Are there new or upcoming health concerns? This would include mobility, respiratory, extra equipment required in your home, vision issues. This will greatly affect the required layout and features of your home. You may need to only consider homes with a single level. Perhaps you need to have an attached garage to make it easy to get to your car in any weather. What about ventilation, air filtration? Would you need a room for a caregiver – part-time or full time? Flooring – will a wood floor be too slippery? Will carpet cause respiratory issues or aggravate them? How about steps up to the porch? Sun porch access? Does it all need to be level or ramped? Are the showers, doorways, and halls friendly for wheelchairs if you need them?  Will you need filtered air and are you prepared to add it yourself? Older homes have older foundations, windows, and doors and may need repair or replacement. There is a price for heritage, vintage and historical.
  3. Your physical and mental health needs. I hear so many people say they just want to get away from it all – get out with some space, some land. But it’s not for everyone. Wilderness mode doesn’t suit the majority of people. It can be far from relaxing when you have to seriously consider every trip to the store to make sure you don’t forget anything and have to go back if that drive is an hour both ways. What about doctors, hospitals, mental therapy, support groups, church, clubs? Those are all part of your mental well-being. How far do you want to be from them? Are you OK starting from scratch to build these, or do you need to stay near all of your existing doctors and groups? These things will greatly affect the distance of your move.
  4. Out of state considerations. Unless you are moving “back” to Louisiana to be with family or to be near family and friends, this can be exciting and very scary. Taking the time to assess things beyond the dreams of your new locale – it’s important to take a look at the practical as well. How is driving/commuting? The political climate? What are the state and local tax situations? These can affect your daily life in unanticipated ways. It’s important to get a complete picture beyond your hopes.
  5. Proximity & Climate. How close is the airport if you have to get to family quickly? How expensive are the flights? Same time zone as those you do business with or family you want to talk to? Will you need a lot of “weather” equipment you didn’t need before? Winter clothes beyond what you’ve ever needed just to function in your day to day life? Moving to Louisiana, cotton and linen are your friends.
  6. Are four-legged family members coming along for the move? Is it an area prone to ticks, animal attacks? Do your cats need to plan on becoming indoor cats only? Will you be able to walk your dog on short notice, or do you have to make a big effort? I’m always stunned by people who want that “downtown” experience and move to a high-rise from a suburban home with a yard and sidewalks. Now, just for Fluffy to go pee it’s a trip in the elevator hoping he holds it to get to the sectioned-off patch of gravel or turf just outside.
  7. Check the reviews for the common business services you’ll need. When you move to a new area that means new grocery stores, mechanics, HVAC servicer, gardeners, hardware stores, hair salons, dentists, doctors, restaurants and more. If you are considering an older home, you’ll really want your on-call repair team vetted. Stop by some of the businesses when you are there exploring. Meet the owners. They may have additional insights into common problems in that specific area that you can avoid armed with this knowledge.
  8. Perhaps people will visit you here, including your family. Where will they stay? Is there enough parking? Do you have enough beds for them or are you relying on air mattresses and your RV stored on-premise? While that could be handy, make sure they know it ahead of time. What about local inns or hotels? What would you do with them when they visit? Map this out for the active and the not-so-active friends and family who come to visit.
  9. Local rules and laws. What are the quirky laws unique to the area you are considering? City/County laws do vary and if you are moving to another state, really be aware. It’s on you to know the laws of the land. This includes CCRs – those associations that we love and hate. Are there visitor and additional car limits? Quiet hours? If you want to make changes to your new home, how difficult is it to get it approved? What’s the permit process? While you’re at it, check the crime rate in the area. Bars on the windows and doors aren’t a local custom or decorating style, really.
  10. If you are downsizing, isn’t it also time to hire a mover? Can you count on your kids to help you pack? They may not be super helpful if they are bringing a lot of emotion to your decision. You need to be prepared to do this on your own. Set aside money to hire movers. There is an age we get to when it’s no longer a fun day helping your pals and laughing over pizza and beer after. When we’re ready to downsize, we know the value of a professional mover. We can’t stress enough to thoroughly check references, reviews, call past clients, talk to people who have moved in recently. Your local realtor may be able to point you to a few. It can go seriously wrong. Don’t let your story be the one shared by well-meaning friends grateful it didn’t happen to them.

Are you considering downsizing in Louisiana or moving to our beautiful state from somewhere else? Let’s talk first. We want your next move to be a happy experience all the way around.

BONUS – some of the strange laws you need to know are still valid in Louisiana:

Sticking with animals, this law is all-around odd. In sum, you can’t have your pigeons run wild, unless they are racing Antwerp or homing pigeons. Perhaps this has to do with one of the local pigeon racing clubs? Here’s the text:

“It shall be unlawful for any person owning or harboring pigeons to allow them to go at large within the city. But this section shall not be construed to prohibit the flying, racing or exercising of the Antwerp or homing pigeon at such time that such flying, racing or exercising shall be under the continuous person supervision of a person or the agent of a person owning or harboring such Antwerp or homing pigeons.”

Read the full law here.

“No reptiles shall be allowed within 200 yards of a Mardi Gras parade route not less than two hours before the published scheduled start of a parade, nor within 200 yards of the actual end of a parade for not less than one hour after the actual end of the parade measured from each continuing area of parade termination.”

Campanella’s response?

“If only!” he says.

Read the full law here, where you can also peruse the lengthy list of codes dealing specifically with Mardi Gras.

For GenZ, I suppose the “ultimate test” is how does it feel to lay down on it while looking at their phones.

A. Theft of an alligator is the misappropriation or taking of an alligator, an alligator’s skin, or a part of an alligator, whether dead or alive, belonging to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations. An intent to deprive the other permanently of the alligator, the alligator’s skin, or a part of an alligator is essential.

B.(1) Whoever commits the crime of theft of an alligator when the misappropriation or taking amounts to a value of one thousand five hundred dollars or more shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.

Full details here >

Lastly, this Crescent City law banning a wide range of fortunetelling practices made the cut for this odd-law list more so for the way it’s written than for the content. Like the Endymion parade, it just keeps going on and on, each new clause more lavish than the last. Here’s the text:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to advertise for or engage in, for a monied consideration, the business of (chronology, phrenology, astrology, palmistry), telling or pretending to tell fortunes, either with cards, hands, water, letters or other devices or methods, or to hold out inducements, either through the press or otherwise, or to set forth his power to settle lovers’ quarrels, to bring together the separated, to locate buried or hidden treasures, jewels, wills, bonds or other valuables, to remove evil influences, to give luck, to effect marriages, to heal sickness, to reveal secrets, to foretell the results of lawsuits, business transactions, investments of whatsoever nature, wills, deeds, and/or mortgages, to locate lost or absent friends or relatives, to reveal, remove and avoid domestic troubles or to bring together the bitterest enemies converting them into staunchest friends.”

Read the full law here.