Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Downsizing or upsizing your house is one of the tougher challenges baby boomers and seniors
need to grapple with. Start by asking yourself these five questions:
- Is maintaining your house starting to wear you down?
- Are you comfortable managing your daily routines?
- Can you get around to stores, restaurants, and social activities?
- How much support would you have in an emergency?
- Will loved ones worry about you and do your children need peace of mind that you’re
Upsizing, not downsizing
Here’s a surprise. Most assume that the bulk of retirees move to downsize. In fact, 49% actually
upsize. Some do it to comfortably accommodate visitors, including children and grandchildren,
Others retirees find themselves in a boomerang situation (16%) with adult children returning to
live with them. Between 1980 and 2010 the number of multigenerational households doubled
from 11% to 22%.
Emotional connections to home
And while the move, frequently to a sunshine state, is thought to be a norm, one-third of
respondents expect to stay where they are throughout retirement both because of emotional
connections with their home and town and because the house is a financial asset.
Many opt to renovate their existing home to make it more attractive, comfortable, and friendlier
for aging in place.
Remodeling also entails technology upgrades to make homes more connected and secure and
less costly to maintain.
Some of those upgrades include apps that control appliances and smart thermostats to reduce
utility bills. Three-quarters look to technology for monitoring their health through sensors, alerts,
and medication reminders, and 64% are interested in technology that lets them better connect
with family and friends through video chat, for example.
Preparing for the future
Some topics to consider when you’re thinking about the future and making housing decisions.
Here are five items.
- When deciding where to live in retirement or whether to move, think of future life stages and
priorities regarding things like affordability, climate, proximity to family and friends, recreational
or cultural activities, and opportunities for continued work. Test-drive potential relocation areas
by making long visits or doing short-term rentals.
- Weigh the expenses associated with all of your options. Those include things like income,
mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, relocation expenses, along with any renovations
you’d like to make for aesthetics or for aging-in-place purposes.
- Determine whether paying off your mortgage before retirement would be beneficial to your
- Have a strategy for long-term care and determine the options that would let you receive care
where you most prefer, whether that’s is at home or in assisted living.
- Consider the home modifications – both physical ones, like installing ramp, and technological
ones for, say, remote health monitoring – along with the services needed for you to remain in
your own house should you face health challenges.
Arati Hammond is a Senior Real Estate Specialist at Keller Williams Treasure Coast. You can reach Arati Hammond at 772-342-5599 or