Of all the lessons learned the past two years, the reality is that homes have taken center stage in our lives. There has been a rather sudden reversal to the conventional wisdom that as couples age they downsize their home into something smaller and lower maintenance for their retirement years. While the theory of downsizing to make life simpler remains valid, a greater number of aging couples are upsizing. According to the National Association of Realtors, 35% of people aged 65 or above bought a 3,000-square-foot or larger home in 2020, compared with only 23% in 2017. So, what is fueling this trend for empty nesters?
Now that older couples are no longer using their earnings to raise their children, there’s more money to spend. And not having to worry about the quality of school districts they have more flexibility to move to areas where they can get more for their money.
Wants, Desires, and Hobbies
Spending so much time indoors during the pandemic had the surprising effect of strengthening our Retirement lends itself to pursuing interests that time and commitments never allowed while working. Whether it was always wanting a home with a pool or a new interest in distilling balsamic vinegar (or any other hobby), older couples are giving their wants and desires a high priority.
Purchasing a larger property with attractions to entice grown children and grandchildren is a surefire way to have them visit more often. Of the many lessons learned, the pandemic magnified the importance of creating a haven and having room for extended family within that space.
Living in Place
While upsizing, couples are taking the aging process into consideration. Wider doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or a room for a live-in caregiver, should that become necessary, are desirable. If a primary bedroom and bath on the first floor is not already in the home, some homeowners are building additions to have the space in place.
Failed at Downsizing
The home is the center of everything. Many couples start with the typical storyline planning to downsize into a smaller house but realize during the search that a smaller home does not fulfill their needs. And then there’s the phenomena of isolation if the downsized home is not conducive to visitors. So, what’s the solution? Upsizing, of course.