The Kids Have Left the Nest: Is it Time to Downsize?

By on November 21, 2017

4 things to think about in your next home

By Rebecca Lundberg—

All the kids have finally left the nest or maybe you’re retiring soon. Now what? Chances are you’ve thought about downsizing from that 3,000-square-foot house. 

But the home choices and location options can seem endless. At Del Webb, the largest builder for 55+ communities with more than 50+ neighborhoods across the country, we see baby boomers start the home shopping process early, yet it may take them a while to make the decision. 

The home shopping process should be an exciting one. Just think about all the new adventures that await in your new abode. With 38 percent of boomers considering a purchase of a new home within the next three years, I’ve put together a top list of considerations when looking for your next home. 

  1. Destination desires: Stay Close or Venture Out

Know your deal breakers when it comes to the destination. For some, the pull of the grandchildren and family is a key factor regarding where to move into retirement while for others the weather prompts a change, leaving the harsh Northeast winter, for example, to escape to the Sun Belt states

Through our research, we found that some boomers were willing to pack up and go to a different climate, a different state, and leave everything behind. There’s another group that will do that during the winter months – the snowbirds, but will come back during the summer months. We also found that some of them do not want to leave their family, their church, and their friends. For empty-nesters, the key is determining what a stronger pull is: closeness to family or starting a new adventure in a new location.

Speaking of family. Did you know that grandchildren is the number one community “amenity” boomers want within walking distance, followed by access to water (beach/river/lake) and park or green open space, according to our most recent Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey

  1. Working in retirement? 

Many boomers are looking to retire earlier than in the past with the average age at 63.7. But others still continue to work in some capacity in retirement either part-time or starting a new business, so being near employment corridors is a key consideration. That’s why you see growth in the number of Del Webb communities near metropolitan cities, like Nashville and Raleigh.

When looking for your next home in retirement, consider healthy job markets or locations near work centers and employment corridors that allow you to work and also enjoy a round of golf, movie night or a theater group performance.  

  1. Are you an Entertainer? A Collector? A Foodie?

Knowing how you live in your home helps you choose the right features that make your home more fun and functional. Boomers surveyed said their top five home amenities are: a multi-car garage with storage, an open deck or patio, an open floor plan, an eat-in kitchen and a small, private yard. Boomer women are especially drawn to large master bedrooms and spa-like bathrooms. The key themes here are storage and green spaces. 

If you’re an entertainer and someone who loves to host parties, an open floor plan make sense – making the space feel bigger, facilitating larger groups from a big holiday dinner or the community’s book club.

For some, the aggravation of updating resale homes or having to be handy are no longer worth the hassle. New construction is a great option with its low-maintenance living, warranty, contemporary finishes, energy-efficiency, and ageless living features, which include first-floor owners suite or all single-story living, open kitchen and gathering rooms, a fixed stairway to the attic for your collection of memories, a bedroom or loft space for the grandkids or a zero-entry into the home.

  1. Test Drive Your New Home

If you’re looking for a new location in your next home, what better way to make sure a community is the right fit than to “test drive” it. At Del Webb, the Explore Del Webb program allows consumers to stay at a fully-furnished home in the community, have access to a golf cart and the amenity center, attend a fitness class or enjoy the outdoor swimming pool.

The bottom line is, take some time to consider what you want out of your home before you even start looking for a new one.  Everyone has their unique preferences. By understanding what your must-haves are and what you’re willing to compromise on, it can make the home buying process go much smoother.  

About Rebecca Lundberg

Rebecca Lundberg is the vice president of field operations at PulteGroup. Currently based in California, Lundberg has been part of the Pulte team for 12 years, serving in various positions from a sales consultant, to general sales manager. Lundberg earned bachelor’s degrees with honors in marketing, entrepreneurship and dance from the University of Arizona.

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The Kids Have Left the Nest: Is it Time to Downsize?