Empty nest: size up, size down, or stay put?

Posted by  on Oct 26, 2011

When considering options for your empty nest, evaluate your current and future needs, lifestyle, and budget. Checking out all options can help you decide to stay in your empty nest or move into a home better suited to your new lifestyle. Here are advantages associated with each choice:

Moving up: building or buying your dream home

  1. Now that the kids are grown and gone, you can customize a new home to your interests and lifestyle.
  2. Tapping the equity in your current home may yield the down payment on your next one.
  3. Thanks to current low mortgage rates, you may qualify to buy a more expensive house.
  4. Relocating to a state with a lower cost-of-living and fewer taxes can help you afford a nicer home.
  5. Done paying for college? If a larger home is important to you, trading up might be possible.

Downsizing: reducing cost and clutter

Homeowners who've finished raising their families may look forward to living in a smaller home. Here's why:

  1. Reduce housework and maintenance. Why dust and vacuum empty rooms when you can spend the afternoon on the golf course or visiting with friends?
  2. Reduce housing expenses, utilities and property taxes, In many cases a smaller home means smaller bills. Depending on the location of your smaller "nest," you may enjoy lower mortgage payments, home energy costs and property taxes. This won't apply if you're moving from the Midwest to Malibu; compare regional differences in home values, cost of living, and taxation rates when home shopping.
  3. Go green. A smaller home requires less energy and consumption.
  4. Lower mortgage payments: Reducing your home size may mean paying less. Today's mortgage rates offer home buyers an excellent opportunity for buying new homes at affordable prices.

Home sweet home: family traditions and community roots

Not everyone wants to leave their family home after the family is grown and gone. Reasons for staying include:

  1. You love your place: Your nest may be empty, but it's also the center of family celebrations and memories. You like where you live and don't need to move.
  2. Location, location, location: Your home is in a community or locale that you enjoy and consider your permanent home.
  3. You've recently refinanced your mortgage: Selling your home soon after refinancing means you may not recoup the refinancing costs.
  4. Low cost mortgages and home equity loans: Take advantage of a refinance mortgage or home equity loan to remodel and update your existing home.

Weighing and comparing your options and discussing them with your family and financial advisor helps you make the right decision for you and your loved ones.


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