As the general population grows older, many folks start thinking about downsizing into a smaller home. But those of us with children may not want something that doesn’t have room for the kids (and their children) to visit. There’s something to be said about big family dinners, long talks on the porch as the sun goes down, and waking up to a cup of coffee and quiet time with the daughter or son you haven’t seen in a long while.
Perhaps what should really be the focus on picking out that new place to live is a more appropriate home; one that offers the special things you’ve always wanted and takes into account the needs of the couple as they grow older.
Let’s talk about the fun things first. Does the home you purchased in the 80’s have a good layout for entertaining? Have you always wanted a Great Room where everyone can mingle? Are you now stuck in the kitchen while everyone is having a great time in the living room? It doesn’t have to be that way if you choose the right new home.
Do you really need an isolated room that serves only one purpose -- dining? Modern living is all about making the most productive use of all the rooms in your home. Think about how much bigger your living room would be if you could annex that dining room into a space that is much more adaptable to the way you’d like to live. Built-in cabinets and shelves can free up floor space for the conversation circles you really want. Newly built homes often have these features right in their plans. Do you still need a five-bedroom house? Perhaps three will do just fine, as long as the Great Room/Living Area is large enough to accommodate all the things you want to do. Trading around space in an existing home can be an expensive enterprise; a new home could be the answer.
A consideration that wasn’t on the radar in the 80’s is living green or environmentally friendly. New homes often come equipped with green, energy saving appliances, sidings, and insulation. The products used can be manufactured from renewable resources. Is it time for you to think about the legacy you’re leaving your children? Will it include a cleaner, greener earth?
Older folks have trouble with stairs. It’s a fact of life, and a safety consideration. Would you be more comfortable in a house that has all rooms on one level? Do you want an attached garage so you can avoid slipping on wet or icy pavement in bad weather? Are round doorknobs a problem for you? Now’s the time to choose the hardware that you can handle easily as your new home is built.
It may be time to think about a place that is more convenient to shopping, transportation, the airport, highways, and restaurants. You may also want a little help in maintaining your home’s grounds; many developments now offer services that will take some of the burden off you.
Answering the Question: It's Easy!
To answer the downsizing question for yourself, begin to visit some model homes in your area. Sit down in the Great Room and envision how you would use that space. If occasions come to mind where you know it might be perfect, then you’re on your way to an answer. How easy was that?