When I hear the term downsizing I often think of seniors, but I've noticed an interesting trend lately. My friends with kids who are headed to college are positively giddy about getting out of the burbs. They loved suburban life while the kids were young but now they're anxious for the next phase of their lives. Free of carpools and lawn care, they're excited about embarking on a new adventure. One friend excitedly whispered to me "we just have one year left before we put our plan into action!"
Where are "empty nesters" moving to?
Some couples I've spoken with are keen on moving to Boston and enjoying a more walkable, urban lifestyle, while others are headed to warmer climates. Many people work remotely so they have the freedom to choose so many more options than they would have been able to just a few years ago.
When is a good time to downsize?
In the Boston area, now is actually a great time to cash out of your house. With many communities experiencing significant increases in home values in the past year, it's an opportune time to sell your home, particularly in communities like Needham, Sudbury, Wayland, and Wellesley, which have each experienced a more than a 10 percent increase in median home prices of single-family homes in 2013.
How do I even begin to prepare to move?
The surge in baby boomers who are downsizing has actually spurred a new profession: downsizing consultants. It sounds funny, but I think it's really a novel idea. After living in our homes for many years, we all start to accumulate things, and the longer we're there, the harder it can be to figure out how to pare down our belongings. This part of the process can actually be the most stressful for some people.
Happily, you can now hire consultants, who'll come in and work with you to get it done. For relatively little money, you can bring someone in who'll make it a whole lot easier to figure out what to keep, what to sell, what to toss, and how to make it all happen.
What do I do with my car if I'm downsizing?
It really depends on where you're moving. Often I've seen people who moved from the Boston suburbs into the city decide to sell one car at first, and hold onto the other for the first year or two that they live in Boston. It seems to be an easier transition. Some couples end up selling the second car and others hang onto it if they're lucky enough to have a parking space, which is certainly at a premium in Boston.
What if I can't find a new home that I like?
This is a valid concern. The Boston real estate market is a little crazy right now. With limited inventory, there are plenty of bidding wars and it can be tough to find the right home. To alleviate this challenge, some people are choosing to sell their larger homes to take advantage of the seller's market in the Boston suburbs, and then lease an apartment for a year. That way they can try a new neighborhood on for size before they commit to buying, and hopefully by the time the lease is up there will be more homes coming on the market in Boston.
Have questions about downsizing or just want an idea of what your home in the Boston burbs is worth? Please drop us a line (cell 508-904-4967 or email.) We'd be glad to help!
[photo courtesy of J. Curtain]