Downsize-In-Place and Make Money!
By Art Barry

Are you grappling with the question whether you will age in place or downsize and move? There are many possibilities. I spent a lot of time researching what might be best for me, my wife, and the four-legged pack we affectionately refer to as "the mutt sisters." Our dilemma was that, if we downsized, we would spend nearly as much for a new, smaller home as we would receive for our existing home in the same city. Recent articles seem to indicate a "Silver Tsunami" is coming with regard to housing in the U.S. The author of one article pointed out that many seniors are opting to stay put because of the high cost of living in a retirement community. This phenomenon may have extreme effects on the housing market for the foreseeable future. This makes a downsize side hustle worthy of consideration as a way to age in place and increase retirement income.

It seemed to me that we might be able to downsize in place and turn the unused portion of our residence into a private guest quarters that we could lease out. The research that I did led me to believe that we could convert about 25 percent our home into a guest quarters. When we sell, the space would become a guest suite and add value to the property.

Further research revealed what we thought was an under-served market segment: traveling nurses and other medical personnel. There are over 25,000 traveling nurses in the U.S., and that doesn’t include the thousands of other medical technicians who work on short-term contracts at hospitals. Further research indicated that we would probably be able to lease the property for $1,000 or more per month.

The words “downsize” and “dilemma” start with the same letter of the alphabet. Downsizing presents opportunities, as well as dilemmas, for those about to retire and/or current retirees. Early in the process, I decided to publish a book about the project: The Downsize Side Hustle. It was my hope that the information would help others enjoy the success we had. It is one way to make money in an economic environment that is absolutely shifting away from, and creating real obstacles, for retirees and older homeowners.

What did it cost? How long did it take? Who should we lease to? Were we successful? I provide the details for everything we did in the book. Our first tenants, an ICU nurse and his wife, leased our property for $1,000 per month. Our second tenant, also an ICU nurse, is scheduled to stay with us until October. We have had positive cash flow from our first month in operation.

There is a saying attributed to the U.S. Marine Corps: improvise, adapt, overcome. The pandemic and the resulting chaos in our economy is going to require some fancy footwork on the part of baby boomers. Our experience taught us a lot about improvisation and adaptation. I believe that we are positioned to make it through the crisis and its aftermath. We learned a lot and continue to add to our knowledge about what can be done to leverage our existing assets.

Accountants will tell you that nothing is without cost. Lawyers will tell you that nothing is without risk. Somewhere beyond those two thoughts are profitable side hustles, nest eggs to protect, and businesses waiting to be born.



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