Empty Nesters: Best to Remodel or Time to Sell?

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Your children have finally moved out and you and your spouse now live alone in a four-bedroom colonial (or a similar type of house). You have two choices to make:

  1. Remodel your house to fit your current lifestyle and needs
  2. Sell your house and purchase the perfect home

Based on the record of dollars spent on remodeling and renovations, it appears that many homeowners are deciding on number one. But, is that the best long-term solution?

If you currently live in a 3-4-bedroom home, you probably bought it at a time when your children were the major consideration in determining family housing needs. Along with a large home, you more than likely also considered school district, the size of the property and the makeup of other families living in the neighborhood (example: you wanted a block with other kids your children could play with and a backyard large enough to accommodate that).

Remodeling your home to meet your current needs might mean combining two bedrooms to make one beautiful master suite and changing another bedroom into the massive walk-in closet you always wanted. However, if you live in a neighborhood that historically attracts young families, you may be dramatically undermining the value of your house by cutting down the number of bedrooms and making it less desirable to the typical family moving onto your block.

And, according to a recent study, you will recoup only 64.4% of a remodeling project’s investment dollars if you sell in the future.

Your home is probably at its highest value as it stands right now. Instead of remodeling your house, it may make better financial sense to sell your current home and purchase a home that was built specifically to meet your current lifestyle and desires.

In many cases, this well-designed home will give you exactly what you want in less square footage (read less real estate taxes!) than your current home.

Bottom Line

If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, at least consider checking out other homes in your area that would meet your lifestyle needs before taking on the cost and hassle of remodeling your current house.

Top 3 Things Second-Wave Baby Boomers Look for in a Home

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According to data from the U.S Census bureau, there are approximately 76.4 million baby boomers living in the United States today. Contrary to what many think, there are very different segments within this generation, and one piece that sets them apart are their housing needs.

John McManus, editorial director of Hanley Wood’s Residential Group says his company “is focusing on the preferences of the younger half, or second-wave baby boomers, as they exhibit different needs than the older boomers.”

What are ‘second-wave baby boomers’ looking for?

McManus says, “They are seeking a fun, dynamic lifestyle with a home that can also adjust to their changing needs in the future. Living space should either include accessibility features, such as doorway space, lower shelves, and nonslip surfaces, or be easily adjustable when the time comes.

In a homebuyer study performed by The Farnsworth Group, the participants revealed their reasons for purchasing a new home. The top three factors that influence their purchase include area/location (50.2%), price/affordability (37.4%), and the layout of the home (19%) (as shown in the graph below).

Top 3 Things Second-Wave Baby Boomers Look for in a Home | MyKCM

The report also found that when buying a new home, there were other concerns like quality of construction (9%), a safer neighborhood (8.4%), better floor plans (8.25%). The most important rooms or areas are the kitchen (82.8%), master bedroom (59.2%), and great room (36%).

Technology also plays an important role! Second-wave baby boomers prefer wireless security systems (7.1%), lighting that senses and adapts to them (6.3%) and integrated home technology, including “smart” thermostats and lighting controlled by a smartphone (6.2%).

Grey Matter Research and Consulting points to a sense of community as a major factor in wanting to purchase:

The first impressions are important when entering a new community, as is feeling welcome in the community. Amenities such as clubhouses, pools, and walking trails featured prominently in the decision to purchase in a community. Location was key, as residents want their new homes to be near shopping, dining, medical services and entertainment.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many ‘second-wave’ baby boomers who is starting to feel like their current homes no longer fits their needs, take advantage of the low inventory of existing homes in today’s market by selling your current home and moving on to one that truly fits your new lifestyle.

Baby Boomers Are On the Move

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According to a Merrill Lynch study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.”

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses” at 26%.

A recent Freddie Mac study found similar results, as “nearly 20 percent of Boomers said they would move closer to their grandchildren/children compared to 13 percent who said they would move to a warmer climate.”

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them. According to Merrill Lynch:

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed, or are about to change, let’s get together to discuss your next steps.

Baby Boomers Finding Freedom in Retirement

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Within the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…

In a recent Merrill Lynch study“Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing. 

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.

The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)
Crossing The Freedom Threshold | Keeping Current Matters

As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.” 

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.

Merrill-Lynch-Study-Graphics

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, call Linda so I can help with deciding your next step.