7 Places You Can Move to When You're Ready to Downsize
When you consider downsizing -- or rightsizing, as I call it -- you have to think about what really is the right size for you, not just based upon where you are, but where you’re going. The average person uses about 1100 square feet of any home they live in, unless they have a special hobby. So if you have five children, and you have a house that’s about 6000 square feet, you have more than enough room for everybody.
But when the kids leave, and there’s only two or three of you, because of crossover in the square footage you only need about 2200 to 2300 square feet. If you know your children are going to leave and soon you’ll be an empty nester, then preparing for a big change makes a lot of sense. So if that time of life for right-sizing has come, then what are your best options?
Move Without MovingBy this I mean that you could transform your existing home into a space that would work for you. You could potentially rent out spaces that you no longer use, creating income for yourself as you’re getting older. If you prefer to not have anybody else living in your home, you can simply cordon off spaces and not heat or cool them. If stairs are a problem you could put in ramps. You could put in a first floor full bath and turn your living room into a bedroom. There are lots of potential transitional changes you could make to your current home so that you can age in place. Based on everything I've read, almost everybody would prefer just to stay in their home when they’re getting older than to move. But if for some reason that isn't what's best, then what are your other options?
Buy a Smaller HomeIf owning a house is still important to you but you want to get away from the maintenance and excess space of a bigger property, this might be the right choice for you. Whenever purchasing real estate I recommend thinking about living in that home for at least seven years before deciding to move again. So it’s best to think about not only where you are and what you need now, but what might change in the near future. If stairs are starting to become a problem, look for a single floor residence. If travelling is getting more difficult, look for a home with plenty of shopping locations nearby so you can get everything you need with ease.
Move Into a Multi-Generational Home..with your family where you might have a pod space to give you privacy, but that’s still attached to the common elements of the large house like a kitchen dining room or workout room. What's nice about that is that your kids will be able to pass on your knowledge to their children just by virtue of you being in the home. I like that saying that it is “better caught than taught.” You can teach your children all you want, but it's what they see that really teaches them.
Buy a CondoYou can enjoy one level living but have the common area that a condominium building offers, potentially including outdoor cooking grills, workout spaces, and ease of access to restaurants if the condominium is in a nice location. If the condominium fee is reasonable then this might be the choice for you. Sometimes, condos offer commonly-metered utilities, which means that you’re condominium fee would include the cost of water or power. In that case you wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with separate utilities companies.
Rent an ApartmentYou don't control whether prices will go up for living in that property, but if you're not sure about staying in some place for the long term that's probably a good temporary option. As I mentioned before, if you’re going to buy real estate, think about living there a minimum of seven years. A big reason for this is due to the frictional costs of buying, selling, and moving to a new property. If you aren’t 100% sure where you want to go next, renting could be the right choice for you.
Move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community or Life Plan Community.These names are synonymous. Essentially a community like this will offer you independent living, assisted living as needed, and then a full term continuum of care if you have Alzheimer’s or are not able to take care of yourself. This gives comfort to us as we get older, having confidence that even if we are not doing well at the moment, we have the support where we live to help us recover our strength, and get back to independent living.
Move Into a Full-Time Assisted Living FacilityIf independent living is not for you and you need assistance in your daily living, you could also move to a full-time assisted living facility. Specifically, if full term memory care is an issue, then there are full-term memory care locations around the U.S.
These are your options. There is no right or wrong. It really depends on what you can afford and what best compromise you can find. If you're looking for a real estate agent who understands these seven options and how to guide you through identifying the best one for you, then consider calling us at The Eric Stewart Group. We will help you search and qualify real estate agents that will serve you where you are in accomplishing your goals.
Our toll free number is 1 800-900-9104, or you can submit your information online at EricStewartGroup.com.
About Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart started his real estate career in 1987 and each year he and his group sell over 150 homes in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The Eric Stewart Group has completed more than 3,000 real estate transactions, placing Eric in the top 1% of Realtors® in the nation. With a comprehensive approach to marketing and a knack for negotiation, the Eric Stewart Group has built a reputation of trust and tireless persistence throughout the area.