Although some retirement-age adults opt to downsize when their children move out, there are many great reasons to do the exact opposite. Upsizing allows you to host friends and family, have dedicated space for your hobbies, and age in place more easily.
Ultimately, you’re the only one that can decide whether upsizing is for you. Here are some of the ways a bigger house may actually improve your life as you get older.
More and more adults are attempting to age in place. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “aging in place” simply means that you plan to age in your own home rather than moving into an assisted living facility. In order to age in place, you’ll need certain features in your house as you age, like wider hallways that can fit a wheelchair or walker and limited stairs.
If aging in place is something you’re considering, or even if you simply want to live in your new house for many years, you might want a larger home. Larger houses are more likely to have open floor plans, wide hallways, and main floor bedrooms that will make it easier to stay when you get older and begin to experience mobility constraints.
One of the biggest benefits of upsizing when your kids move out is that you’ll have even more space than before for your family. This is great because it’s likely that your family is growing around the same time you become an empty nester.
Extra bedrooms will give your adult children, and their significant others and/or kids, the flexibility to come visit. Upsizing is especially nice because your kids and grandkids can visit all at once, or even bring friends.
It’s common for homeowners to convert old bedrooms into offices, craft rooms, or gyms once their kids move out. However, if you upsize, you’ll have enough square footage for both. You can have bedrooms available for friends and family and have plenty of room for hobbies or a home office. There's no reason why your retirement home can't be spacious.
Although it may sound obvious, larger homes have larger common spaces like dining rooms and living rooms. These spaces make it much easier to entertain and host large family gatherings. Coupled with the extra bedroom space, your home might just become the go-to for family holidays.
Plus, once your children move out, you’ll have more time and energy for friends. If you have the extra space, you can invite friends over for dinner parties, game nights, or backyard barbecues.
Depending on where you live, a bigger or more luxurious house is more likely to come with neighborhood amenities like tennis courts, a pool, a clubhouse, landscaping services, and an HOA.
Some of these services are especially helpful as you get older. For example, if you have a pool you can continue to stay active via aerobic workouts without straining your body. Additionally, landscaping services reduce the time, energy, and money you need to spend tending to your yard. Other amenities, like tennis courts and a clubhouse, are purely for your entertainment and enjoyment (which are specifically great if you plan to retire in your new home).
If you’re interested in these features, let your real estate agent know and consider looking at neighborhoods with bigger homes.
Since many adults move into smaller homes or retirement communities as they age, they end up getting rid of some of their belongings. Not only are these decisions difficult, but they often begin to involve other people. You may need to consult your children on what they’d like to keep or get help listing items for sale.
If you upsize instead, you’ll have plenty of room and storage to keep items and furniture that are valuable or sentimental to you.
The best part of moving? You get to start fresh. You can redesign and decorate your home on your own terms, rather than worrying about child-proofing or making sure your house is functional for kids. Instead of study desks and playrooms, you can focus on making space for your own hobbies.
Upsizing doesn’t always mean moving into a more expensive home. Once your children have moved out, you don’t need to consider school district lines or proximity to parks and activities. Since you won’t have as many restrictions, you can look at neighborhoods with larger homes that you can afford.
If, on the other hand, you aren’t concerned about spending more money on a larger home, consider areas you’ve always dreamed of living in. Upsizing when you move to a destination (like the beach, lake, or mountains), allows you to easily host your friends and family members, therefore incentivizing visits.
→ Learn what states pay you to move there
Empty nesters are typically in their 40s or 50s. However, the age you become an empty nester varies greatly based on your family situation.
Children often move out of their childhood homes in their late teens or twenties, so you’ll likely become an empty nester at whatever age that is for you. Right now, many parents in both the baby boomer and gen x generations are becoming empty nesters, depending on the ages and life stages of their children.
Keep in mind that your adult child may or may not move back in with you (as that is becoming more common for recent college graduates).
There is no “right” age for your children to move out of the house. The age they leave completely depends on your family situation (and your adult child’s career and/or education choices).
Many children leave the house between the age of 17 and 19 to attend college. Others choose to live at home while they get an education and move out after graduation. Other children live at home after high school and begin working.
Even if your children move out for school, it’s becoming more and more common for college graduates to move back in with their parents after while they look for a job and begin their careers.
Ultimately, their timing depends on your family’s financial situation, their education and career choices, and whether you continue to have room for them in your house.
The best way to decide whether or not to upsize is to evaluate your priorities and your current financial situation. If the most important thing to you as an empty nester is your lifestyle, then consider what you want for your future. If your vision includes hosting guests, having dedicated space for your hobbies, and aging in place (in a larger home), then upsizing is likely a great fit for you.
However, before you move, you’ll also need to evaluate your financial situation (regardless of whether you choose to upsize or not). Today’s interest rates might be higher than they were when you purchased your current home, so you’re likely to have a higher monthly mortgage payment. There are certainly ways to mitigate this (such as looking for a bigger house in a less expensive area), but if you’re set on a certain neighborhood or destination, it may simply cost more to move there.
Ultimately, you’re the only one that can decide whether the pros and cons of upsizing are right for you. Reflect on your ideal lifestyle and location, and consider speaking with an experienced real estate professional to help guide your decision-making.
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