The Buying a house is always a large commitment, no matter what age. However, in each stage of life, buying a house can mean different things. It an be your first, your last, your family vacation home. So we decided to put together a series of posts on tips to buying a house at various life stages: first home, growing families and empty nesters. We know there are other stages to life, but these are the ones we are talking about.
Today, we talk about the empty-nesters.
The kids are grown and moved out. That 3,000-square foot three-story home with 1.5 acres is just too much to maintain. No one even uses the yard. The basement has dust everywhere, except for a path to the storage closet. You haven’t been in most rooms in years.
There are a couple things to consider. Can you really and truly part with the house that your children grew up in? Do you want them to inherit it? Where will you go?
IF you stay
Turning a bedroom into an office, hobby room or den is easy. Spare bedrooms are great when the children and grandchildren come to visit. Can the laundry be moved to the main floor? There are easy ways to retire in place. You have to maintain the home, but as long as you can renovate it to meet your needs, things will work out.
IF you go
It is back to the same mentality of when you were buying your first home, but with more experience and a different budget. You aren’t really thinking about the needs of your now-grown children. Just yourself and your partner and whatever you want. You also have a lot more stuff that you might not be willing to part with, so keep in mind how much storage space you will need.
Think about convenience and simplicity.
Do you want to be climbing stairs while your knees beg for a break? One level homes are great because they avoid a ton of stairs and everything you need is convenient. No more going to the other end of the house to get the calendar. A well laid out kitchen and floor plan, for instance, are a must. Counter space and storage space are also things to consider. A big yard needs to be mowed. Sidewalks need to be shoveled.
Think about downsizing if possible. Do you need four bedrooms? When the grandchildren and children visit, do they spend the night? What space do you really need? If you have a lot of stuff, then it may be time to either get rid of some or look for a house that can accommodate all of it.
It’s time to think about where you really want to be. Is it in a community of people your age? Is it near the water? Is it near your family? This is the time to pick where you want to be and go there.
Measure, measure, measure
That king sized bed goes great in the 18 x 16 master suite you have now, but will it fit into a smaller space? You will need to know how your furniture will (or won’t) fit into your new space – particularly large items such as your sofa and your bed – so measure everything and know what you are willing to part with.