Right-sizing for Retirement

I heard a statistic recently that just astounded me. Between now and 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age every single day. Within the next 8 years, the largest cohort (those born between 1946-54) will be nearing octogenarian status.

This means that the next 20 years could potentially see massive shifts in home-ownership, as Boomers start to re-evaluate their housing needs. How do you decide what’s right for you?

Options for Retirees

One of the advantages of living in our modern world is that retirees now have many options. Gone are the days when the only option was for Grandma to go live with a relative. While multi-generational living arrangements certainly have their advantages (and are rising in popularity – what goes around, comes around!), it’s just one of the many options that retirees have.

  • Age in place – Technology and building/remodeling practices can allow retirees to stay in their current homes if they desire. Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the large Baby Boomer market to provide innovative services that assist retirees with anything from light housekeeping and running errands, to in-home nursing services.
  • Downsize – Downsizing has gotten a bit of negative connotation over the years. But what it really means is “right-sizing”. Does it make sense to go through all the hassle to maintain a 5 bedroom house when you are traveling 5 months out of  the year? Right-sizing involves taking a good hard look at what your needs really are, and finding a home that fits those needs…whether it means finding a single-level home to eliminate navigating stairs, or moving to a condo to eliminate mowing and shoveling snow.
  • Retirement community – there are SO many options here now. Elegant and high-end retirement communities have been developed over the years that really allow seniors to live in style. And an added bonus: because of the restriction on the age of residents (generally over 55), residents deal with less traffic and less noise than a typical subdivision. Many offer garden-style patio homes, with on-site services and amenities. Some even offer graduated assistance, so as needs change, residents have the option to transition to a more traditional assisted-living arrangement.

These are just a few of the many options currently awaiting the Baby Boomers as they advance in years, in addition to the growing multi-generational arrangements. Others are constantly being developed.  But how do you know what’s right for you?

Evaluate your needs

There are a few key areas that you need to evaluate to help you identify whether a move is right for you. For instance:

  • Entertainment needs – if you find that the extra bedrooms in your 4-bedroom home are growing dusty with disuse, then it may be a good indication that you are not living in the right size home. If you are a big entertainer, with frequent overnight guests, then you may be better off staying put. You can always find a garden home or condo with a large living and dining room for your Thanksgiving family dinner. The real key to determining your space needs is in how often your are hosting overnight guests (yes, grandkids count!).
  • Outdoor spaces – a young growing family may need a huge back yard to turn the kids loose for play. But after your chicks have flown the nest, do you really need all that space? Avid gardeners may balk at this question – yes, we know that dirt is your canvas and flowers are your art. But as your abilities and interests shift, will you need a 1/2 acre of flower beds to tend? Could you volunteer your time with a community garden to put your green-thumb to use? The large yard you love may become difficult to maintain as the years progress.
  • Effort to maintain – Speaking of maintenance…your gardens are not the only things that need tending. If you are having trouble getting up to the 2nd level to clean, or general upkeep of the home is proving difficult, you need to evaluate if the effort to maintain your home is outweighing the value. Would you want to hire someone to come into help? Or would you rather not have the hassle at all?
  • Travel expectations – Snowbirds tend to fly to warmer climes in the cold winter months, only venturing back when the last frost has melted away. Or perhaps you intend to engage in your dream to travel the world, and will be taking extended trips abroad. What happens with your home while you are gone? Who is going to look after it for you? If you find you will be in your home only a few months out of the year, maintaining a large family home while you travel could put a crimp in your travel style.

What do you love about your home? What do you wish you could change? For most people, there is a lot of sentiment tying them to their home (not to mention the 30 years of accumulated belongings that send homeowners into nightmares at the thought of cleaning and purging). You have to put your pragmatic and practical hat to effectively evaluate your needs. If you need the space, but perhaps a better layout would suit you better for aging in place, then you might consider remodeling your present home. If you don’t need the space, or you find it becoming increasingly difficult to care for the space, then right-sizing may make the most sense.

We are here to help! We can help you objectively evaluate your space needs, recommend contractors or services, and get your home sold for the best possible price.  As always, if you or someone you know need help selling or finding a dream home in 2018, please do not hesitate to call us. Contact Jason at 703-298-7037 or Jason@JasonAndBonnie.com.