Empty nester homes: What to consider as you plan your future

Published Date: September 6, 2023

Sleek, modern kitchen with large island
The only constant is change, and with each season of life, what you need in a home may evolve. If you’re one of the over 22 million empty nesters in the United States, you might be reconsidering your living situation now that your grown children have flown the nest.It’s a great time to focus on you: your goals, your interests and your future. That may mean renovating your family home, or selling it and buying a new place. Or you may want to invest in a vacation home where you can spend your newfound free time. 

Renovation dreams?

For many empty nesters, renovating simply makes more sense than moving. If you love your location, and don’t want the hassle and expense of selling a home and buying another, renovating may be the right solution. A great contractor and renovation crew can help you reconfigure your space to be ready for this new phase of your life. You might want to convert a child’s bedroom into a new craft space for yourself, add a sauna to your bathroom or create a wine cellar in your basement. The possibilities are nearly endless. 

What empty nesters look for in a home

If selling your existing home and buying something new sounds like a good option for you, consider these seven things that many empty nesters look for in a home.

1. Less square footage 

Downsizing into a smaller home is one of the most popular choices empty nesters make. After all, without children living at home, you may not need or want as much space. More square footage equals more cost and more maintenance, which is why many empty nesters decide to downsize. Downsizing can also free up home equity, which can be used to fund retirement expenses — or purchase that second home you’ve been dreaming of. 

2. More luxury

While many empty nesters choose to move to a home with a smaller floor plan, they don’t necessarily want to downsize the quality of finishes. In fact, buying a smaller home often leaves room in the budget for luxury touches. It may just be the perfect time of life to treat yourself to an upscale environment — think hardwood floors, gourmet kitchens, spa-like bathrooms and outdoor entertaining space. 

3. Single-floor living

Savvy empty nesters take a forward-looking approach to purchasing their home. If you plan on staying in the home for a long time, you may want to look at a ranch-style or rambler home — a property with a single story where the primary bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and laundry are all on the same floor. As you age, you may be glad you don’t have to navigate stairs as you move around the house. You may even want to take it a step further and look for a home that was built with accessibility in mind, featuring walk-in showers, wide doorways and plenty of natural light. 

4. Low maintenance 

Some people love having a to-do list around the home, whether that’s taking on everyday maintenance tasks or creating a beautiful garden. But if you would prefer to spend less time on home maintenance and more time enjoying pursuits outside the home, you might consider buying a home that will require less of your precious free time. This might mean buying a brand-new home with a warranty, choosing a home with a smaller yard or purchasing a condominium or townhouse where some maintenance tasks are handled on your behalf. 

5. Home office space

The majority of people become empty nesters between the ages of 40 and 60, which means most are still hard at work. With more people working remotely, a home with dedicated office space is on many empty nesters’ wish lists. Whether you simply convert an extra bedroom into an office or the home comes with a purpose-built home office space, having a quiet place to focus is a must for remote workers. 

6. Lifestyle-friendly

Empty nesters have more time to focus on their interests, and the home you choose should reflect how you like to spend your time. Maybe that means a chef-worthy kitchen for entertaining friends, a woodshop for crafting or a garage to hold all your toys. Hoping for grandkids? You may want to consider a home with an extra bedroom or two. 

7. Perfect location

Is a change of scenery in order? Entering the empty nester phase is the perfect time to reconsider your location. Perhaps you’d like to live closer to outdoor activities like golf, hiking or cycling. Or maybe you’d like to trade your car for a walkable neighborhood, where everything you need is just a stroll away. Speaking of location, the empty nesting time of life may just be the ideal time to buy a second home. Without the packed schedule of school events, sports practices and sleepovers, you just may be able to get out of town a bit more than you used to. Pacaso puts second home ownership blissfully within reach. Our unique co-ownership model allows you to buy your dream vacation home for a fraction of the cost, with up to eight shares available. We take care of the maintenance and management so you can just arrive and jump right into vacation mode.

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Jen Lyons

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