Downsizing your home: For empty nesters, less is more


There comes a time in everyone’s life when your children grow into adults. They move away and create a life of their own. At this point, the house where you created a loving family becomes a burden. Empty bedrooms and still hallways. A sizeable mortgage and endless lawn care.

It is time to make that big decision, the chance to relieve the burden of HOA fees and climbing flights of stairs. It’s time to downsize.

Downsizing is a way to live simpler – an idea that less is more. You may want to move closer to children or grandchildren, say goodbye to large neighborhoods and move to a condo on the beach. Many adults 55 and over are choosing to live simpler lives in smaller homes. Communities for those 55 and over are extremely popular, with exciting amenities, restaurants nearby and neighborhoods accessible by walking.

A large house may represent many things to you. Many homebuyers believe that bigger is better. Your current home may act as a place for family get-togethers. It can be a status symbol, a visual representation of your place in the community. By downsizing, you are not eliminating these parts of your life; you are simply re-prioritizing.

You can create a life where you will no longer spend an entire day cleaning empty rooms, or endlessly mowing the lawn. You will have more time and money to spend on fun activities and dining, and the creative power to reorganize and redecorate.

Choosing the right area to downsize is very important. Would you like a change of scenery? Warmer weather? Choosing the right house is equally significant.

When planning to live smaller, a list is a great way to start your move. Break the list into three parts: must haves, would like to haves, and don’t need. A must have is an excellent opportunity to prioritize what is meaningful in your home. For example, a house you are looking for must have a first-floor master bedroom. Running up and down stairs is a burden that you do not need later in life. Another must have could be location based: close to family or in a community with access to tennis courts.

Your must haves drive the search for the perfect house.

The second part of your list, would like to have, could include granite countertops, or wood floors. They are something that would be nice to have, but wouldn’t make or break a deal. The last part of your list, don’t need, are things that you want to give up. Popular list items include pool maintenance and HOA fees. Having a reference point of what is important to you will help you find the perfect match for your move.

When you find your new house, the most important key is that you find happiness in the location and new creative space that you call home. Downsizing can be a stressful process if you don’t ask for help. With a great Realtor, access to senior move-in specialists and a clear vision of what you are looking for, the greatest stress of moving can be lifted.

Marsha Keller is a designated Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).