Kids Have Left the Nest: Should You Sell Your House and Downgrade?
Ahhh, the empty nest. Some couples are ready while others buy stock in tissues and wine. No matter what camp you fall into, you’ve likely got other decisions left to be made. One of those is whether you should sell your house and perhaps downsize now that you’re on your own. Our houses often seem unnecessarily large after the kids are gone. Not only can that contribute to loneliness, but it can also be a lot to manage (read: clean). But are you ready to make the move? Getting your Medicard isn’t the only thing to think about it as you get older. It’s time to do some soul searching. If your kids have left the nest and you’re wondering whether to sell your house and downgrade or downsize, read on, as we’ve shared some thoughts on that below.
How Old Are You?
Yes, we know that’s forward but, hey, it factors into the equation. If you had children fairly young and are, thus, still young when your kids have flown the coop, then you’re more likely to still have roots and ties to your community. You’re also more likely to feel healthy enough to handle the tasks that come with a big house (if that’s your situation). Age is just a number, though, so this is obviously quite subjective. But if you’re getting older and don’t want to handle the duties that come with maintaining your home, then your decision is likely made for you.
Where Do You Live?
This one is tied to the first one. For example, if you’re getting older and you live in the Midwest or Northeast (aka the frozen tundra during the winter), you’re likely over the harsh weather that comes with living in these places. As CEO of We Buy Houses Denver says, “I would sell my house if I were close to retirement and lived somewhere cold. I hope to live out my golden years somewhere balmy and with a tropical cocktail in my hand, as I’m sure most hope to do.” Of course, this all depends again on how tied you are to your community, relatives that live there, etc. But if you’re free to fly, we say go for it.
How Big Is Your Home?
If you live in a mansion or close to it and it’s just you and your spouse, you’re probably living in three or four rooms of that gigantic house. It’s kind of silly when it comes down to it. Of course, you can shut the unused rooms off to keep them clean, but what’s the point of that? Alternatively, if you have a lot of kids and hope to “house” them when they come for school breaks (or, ahem, for longer breaks), then you might want to hold onto that house. If it’s paid off and you’d like to provide a home base, then perhaps now is not the time to sell.
How is the Market?
Perhaps we should have mentioned this first, as you obviously don’t want to sell in a buyer’s market if you have the flexibility not to do so. If you’re in no hurry and have the means and time to ride it out, it’s best to do so. Then again, if you have the savings to take a bit less than you’d hoped for and a sincere itch to move south (or wherever you’ve been eyeing!), the more power to you.
How is Your Health?
This is a factor in many ways. If you’re in bad health but your spouse is not or vice versa, it could make a huge difference to downsize and have less house to manage. And warmer weather might be just what the doctor ordered, too. Of course, if you are currently struggling health-wise, a huge move across country could be ill advised, too. Assess yours and your partner’s health and how the place you envision moving would affect this—for better or worse. The mental health benefits of moving somewhere you love should count, too!
Thinking of selling your home and moving now that the kids have flown the nest? Consider these factors, do some soul searching, and pull the trigger. One way or the other, it’s often good to simply know what the future holds.