1. Do research. When approaching retirement, many people focus on saving money, estate planning, managing family dynamics, and finishing up their bucket list. They often put off dealing with their future housing needs. It can be difficult to think about moving for sentimental reasons, but the happiest and most satisfied people in retirement have been those who included housing in their retirement research and tried to anticipate their future needs, study their options, and become well informed.

2. Develop a downsizing plan. We have all heard the saying “knowledge is power.” It should have the word “applied” added to it. What’s important is having a plan, even if the plan is to stay put.

3. Test a variety of options. When beginning your housing research, you will find a variety of choices — including patio homes, apartment-style flats, high-rises, gated communities, and even options you did not realize existed.

4. Consider future conveniences. Think ahead to what will become important to you in the future. Factor in needs and niceties that previously may not have been significant in your life. Is there a decent hospital in the area? Is there a drug store? These are innocuous considerations that could become quite significant if your circumstances change.

5. Don’t leap into cohabitation with new roommates. Friends and family may also be looking to downsize and they might suggest making the move together. But great friends and family are not always ideal roommates. Just as you would test out a new kind of housing or location, try temporarily renting with a potential roommate before making a purchase or permanent move that would be financially difficult to reverse.

6. Remember circumstances change. If you’re considering moving to be closer to family or friends, ensure that any move you make is one that you will be happy with long term regardless of how their lives may change.

7. Don’t wait until you have to move. Ignoring sound advice or waiting too long to act could take the decision out of your hands.

8. Stay put after a significant event. There is a tendency for people, not just seniors, to be influenced by certain events in their lives that will trigger a quick and emotionally driven decision; for example, divorce or the death of a significant other. Try to avoid making a major move when in the midst of such life events. Instead, wait at least a year and then revisit the decision.