Empty Nesters: How to Downsize Your Home after Retiring
When you have kids and a good-paying job, it’s logical to buy a larger house to make everyone more comfortable. But once you retire and your kids move out, you may find that you no longer need (or can no longer afford) that much house.
Many people choose to downsize their homes after they retire or the kids leave, and it’s a smart decision for many. Whether it’s the right choice for you is dependent on several factors, and if you do choose to downsize, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Downsizing, and Why Do People Do It?
Downsizing is simply the act of moving into a smaller living space. You could buy a smaller house, a condo, an apartment, or any other home that’s smaller than the one you currently have.
Downsizing for retirement is often a reason people give, since most people are earning significantly less money after they retire and can no longer afford their expensive mortgage payments.
Many people also sell their house after their kids leave home, since they don’t need as much space anymore. Maintaining a house is hard work, especially as you get older, and many people don’t see the logic in taking care of a large house that, for the most part, remains unused.
What Type of Downsizing Is Right for You?
Your current needs from a home have likely changed since you bought your last house, so you’ll need to consider what your top priorities are in a home.
Are you looking for a home that doesn’t require any landscaping maintenance? Then an apartment or condo might be a good choice for you. Do you need a home without stairs? Then be sure to put that on your must-have list.
For empty nesters, real estate needs might still be dependent on your children. Do you need an extra guest room for when the kids come to visit? Are you planning on hosting large family gatherings and need a spacious kitchen or dining room?
Before you downsize, think about everything you need in a new home as well as all the features you can eliminate from your current home. Make a list of your top priorities, and try not to get carried away (the last thing you want is to end up buying another large house similar to your current one).
How to Get Started
Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, whether you’re downsizing your home for retirement, selling your home after the kids leave, or just realizing you don’t need so much space, your first step is to find the right real estate agent.
Finding the right agent is an important step, because some agents will try to sell you larger homes or homes with features you don’t want or need, so be sure to choose someone who respects your needs.
To find the right agent for you, be sure to check out your local real estate office and schedule an interview to discuss your situation and learn more information.