Parts II and III. Growing Older: Your Guide to Downsizing and Making the Big Move.

Part II: Buying and Selling

Now that you have your plan in hand (see Part 1 of Downsizing and Making the Big Move), you can move on to the fun part:  finding a new home.  And the not-so-fun part:  selling your old one.

You really need to do both of these things at once because there are more houses on the market now than there were three months ago, and interest rates are going up.

If you're getting rid of a lot of furniture and accumulated stuff, you'll want to begin your downsizing process, too.  Does this sound like one too many things on your plate?  It can be unless you get some help.

First, find a good realtor.  Buying and selling real estate isn't like it was 20 years ago.  You need a professional to guide you through the inspection, the appraisal, and the loan approval processes.  And the realtor will help you price your current home to sell while negotiating with the sellers of your new property.

We sold our house in 10 days.  And when a signed contract was imminent, we hurried over to this wonderful condo building we'd fallen in love with and put in an offer on a 5th floor condo.  We were lucky because units in this building were going very quickly.  Our realtor negotiated an agreement overnight, and we wrote a check for the earnest money the next day.  We still didn't have a signed contract with our own buyers, but we gambled that they would come through, and they did.

It can be tricky to buy and sell at the same time, but that's why you need someone who knows the market, can gage your buyers' ability to purchase, and pull together a deal on your new place that works for you.  After our recent buying and selling experiences, I'm convinced realtors earn every penny of their commission.

Part III:  Downsizing

This can be the toughest part of your moving adventure.  Our new place is about half the size of our old one, so we had to sell a lot of furniture, some art objects, several small kitchen appliances, a few antiques and a mammoth, large-screen TV that was in our basement.  Here, again, we didn't fool around:  we called in the pros.

Our realtor suggested several estate sales companies, and I ended up contacting two wonderful women who advised me what to sell on craigslist or eBay, what to consign to antique or furniture shops, what to give away, and what to have the estate sales company itself consign and sell.  If you live in the Denver area, I highly recommend 5280 Estate Solutions. (

Not any one source can handle all of your downsizing needs, but an estate sales professional can direct you to the resources in your community that can buy your things outright or consign them at 50% commission.  It's a relief to know your soon-to-be former possessions will be in good hands.

Next up, Part IV:  The Big Move.  Now the real fun begins.