After years of living under the same roof, your kids have finally moved out to start their lives as independent young adults. It’s a bittersweet time for any parent: the pride of seeing the fine young men and women you raised go out into the world to make their mark, coupled with the sadness of knowing that while you’ll always be family, things are different now.
If you’re like most new “empty nesters,” you may find yourself looking around your home and thinking: “What do I do now?”
The home that always seemed to be in motion, bustling with your kids coming in and out, playing in the yard or borrowing the car or playing their music just a little too loud…
…that house is now quiet.
And too big.
We’ve worked with dozens of parents who decided to downsize their home after their children left the nest, and for a variety of reasons. Based on our experiences and conversations over the last 25+ years, here are some questions to ask yourself and your spouse to determine if it’s time to downsize your empty nest:
1. Does your home currently fit your lifestyle?
With the kids gone, your home simply has a different vibe. There may be entire rooms dedicated to your children’s activities, but now they are just taking up space. Sure, you could turn your child’s room into another guest room or a home gym, but is that really a good use of space?
If you can look around your house and find several unused (and unnecessary) rooms, it may be time to consider building a smaller house that is custom-designed to fit your needs and wants.
You see, “downsizing” doesn’t equate to “going without.” It’s simply taking stock of what’s most important to you, maximizing those things, and minimizing or removing the unimportant stuff. This way, your home has everything you want, and nothing you don’t!
2. Does the home support a senior lifestyle if you have health issues?
It’s inevitable: as we age, it becomes more challenging to do things that were easy in our youth. There may come a time when you no longer want to navigate staircases, for example.
This is a major reason we see many empty nesters selling their homes and building one-level ranch style homes (like these). Ranch style homes have all the necessary living spaces on a single level, allowing those with limited mobility to access every major area of their home.
3. Are you starting to fall behind on maintenance projects?
If you find yourself putting off those repair and maintenance jobs, then your home may be too big or too old to keep up with. Not properly maintaining your home can cause big (and expensive!) problems later, and that’s not something you’ll be happy about as you get older.
By building a brand new, smaller home, you will give yourself 10-20 years before any major repairs are needed. And maintaining a smaller home is so much easier!
4. Can you save money by downsizing?
A smaller new home simply costs less to maintain than a large, old home. There is less space to heat in the winter and cool in the summer, plus new construction homes are generally much less “leaky” than older homes. This is because the construction is more precise and “tighter” and newer insulation is more efficient, making it more difficult for outside air to get in and inside air to get out.
On top of that, new homes have new appliances, which are made to be more efficient and use less energy.
What does all this mean to your pocketbook? Your utility costs will likely be significantly less in a newer smaller home that in the older home you’re currently paying for.
5. How often do you have visitors?
Raising children often felt like helping to raise your children’s friends as well. It seemed like there were always kids running in and out of the house, but now you no longer have regular visitors. So why keep up with all those spaces designed to entertain when you no longer entertain in those spaces?
Downsizing to a “right-size” home can eliminate or reduce those rooms and spaces designed to entertain guests that you no longer invite over, making more living room for you and your spouse to be comfortable.
If you’ve answered these questions and are considering the idea of downsizing, contact the homebuilding experts at Vision Homes first. We’ll talk to you about your situation, your needs, style, wants, “must-haves,” budget, and more. Then if we decide to work together, we’ll design a custom home plan that is just right for you. We can even help you find property on which to build your new home, introduce you to great local mortgage lenders, and make sure everything is just right.
Click here to set up a no-obligation phone call, and see how easy it is to let us build you a house you’re proud to call home!