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Downsizing within the golden years? Not so quick

Cordova, Tennessee residents Suzanne and Mark White upsized after their children left the nest. (Courtesy Suzanne White)

One of many occupational hazards of being an actual property agent is which you could stroll into a house you have been scouting for a consumer and all of a sudden need it for your self.

“We weren’t trying to transfer,” mentioned Suzanne White, a 58-year-old Realtor from Memphis. “My husband and I had by no means mentioned it.”

She’d all the time wished a pool and the house to host large events. He wished a music room and a wooden store. “However these have been informal needs,” Suzanne mentioned. Not sufficient to drive them from their 2,800-square-foot residence of 17 years, the place that they had raised their blended household of 4 now-grown youngsters, and from a neighborhood and neighbors they liked.

However in 2020, when Suzanne walked right into a 4,225-square-foot residence in Cordova, Tenn., a 15-minute drive from her East Memphis residence, she noticed that it checked all of the containers.

The brick home had a pool, a indifferent storage excellent for a wooden store, downstairs bedrooms, a lined porch, loads of room for entertaining and loads of yard for his or her two giant Sheepadoodles to romp.

She went residence and advised her husband, now age 60, “It is advisable have a look at this home. However don’t fear, we’re not shifting.”

By that afternoon they have been writing a proposal.

Suzanne and Mark White are amongst a rising variety of adults over age 55 who’re bucking custom. Usually, when the children go away residence, dad and mom downsize. Nevertheless, extra {couples} at this stage of life are selecting to upsize or same-size to a house that gives extra of what they need, based on a brand new report out this week from the Nationwide Realtors Affiliation.

“One of many persistent myths now we have about retirees is that they wish to downsize, however that’s not true at the moment,” mentioned Dr. Jessica Lautz, an economist and a lead researcher behind the 2023 Dwelling Patrons and Sellers Generational Developments Report. Of these between the ages of 58 and 76 who purchased properties final 12 months, most have been same-sizing, and almost one in 5 purchased properties over 3,000 sq. ft.

White sees the development in her enterprise, too. “Along with a need to reside bigger, what I additionally see in my retired purchasers is they aren’t as prepared to settle. The place prior to now, they’d have sacrificed getting the home they wished, so they may get in the correct college district, now they know what they need and are getting it.”

Frequent objects on the want checklist: distance from neighbors, an upgraded kitchen, a soaker bathtub, a stitching or craft room, a lined porch and a giant pantry.

As we speak, the Whites get pleasure from each little bit of their home, yard and particularly the pool. “We liked our different home, however this one provides us a lot extra room to have the life-style we wish,” Suzanne White mentioned. “Two-and-a-half years later, we nonetheless drive up and might’t consider that is our home. It’s like now we have our personal retreat. I don’t know what 80 seems like, however that is the place we plan to remain.”

Listed below are just a few extra findings the brand new report revealed about older residence patrons, which they break into three teams: youthful child boomers, ages 58-67; older child boomers, ages 68 to 76; and the silent era, ages 77 and up.

Identical-sizing: Amongst residence patrons between the ages of 58 and 76, most purchased properties that have been the identical dimension (or inside 100 sq. ft) as the house they offered.

Weighty demographic: 43 % of all U.S. residence patrons are 58 or older.

The candy spot: Greater than half of residence patrons over age 58 purchased a house that was between 1,501 and a couple of,500 sq. ft. Nevertheless, 17 % of youthful boomers, 19 % of older boomers and 13 % of the silent era purchased properties over 3,000 sq. ft.

Homes not condos: Amongst these patrons 58 and older, three-fourths purchased single household properties.

Unbiased dwelling: Solely 7 % of patrons over 60 purchased housing in senior communities. “That quantity actually speaks to the decline seen in older patrons in search of senior-related housing,” Lautz mentioned. “It appears at the moment’s seniors more and more wish to reside independently.”

Bargaining energy: Many on this age group have had a run up of their residence fairness, so have extra leverage when shopping for a house, Lautz mentioned, and so they’re holding the playing cards. “They usually come to the desk with no contingencies, so within the case of a bidding battle, they’ll win.” Amongst youthful Boomers, 43 % paid all money for his or her residence, and amongst older Boomers, 51 % did, in contrast with solely 7 % of these ages 33 to 42.

Marni Jameson is the creator of six residence and life-style books, together with “Downsizing the Blended Dwelling – When Two Households Turn out to be One.” Attain her at

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