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Condos not the only downsizing options

Condos not the only downsizing options

 
May 20, 2011
 
It's not uncommon for baby boomers to trade in their current property for a smaller one after their kids have left the nest. A smaller, cozier home can be both cheaper in price and more cost-effective to maintain. 
 
In fact, it's that desire to escape maintenance work and upkeep that has many boomers looking to purchase condominiums.
 
However, as a report by the Boston Globe notes, not all empty nesters want to limit themselves to those properties. In fact, many prefer life in a single-family home and just want to find one that suits their taste and size. For those people, there are a few ways to find an ideal single-family home to settle down in after the children have grown up.
 
Set some initial goals
 
Experts told the Boston Globe that downsizers need to have a few goals and desires in mind before they decide on buying a home. For instance, are they looking for a country-style ranch with plenty of wide-open landscaping, or a neat and tidy cottage that requires minimal yard work? 
 
Are they comfortable with a home that feels "lived-in" or would they prefer a more contemporary home?
 
These decisions will frame what type of homes couples can look at before they hit the market. Oftentimes, that can have a big impact on the size and price of the homes available. It may end up that the home they have in mind won't be cost-effective at all.
 
Consider older homes
 
The Boston Globe noted it could be more difficult to find a small and affordable single-family home among newly-built properties. Many older home buyers struggle to find new homes that aren't built for families of four to five people, and many properties are out of their price range.
 
As a result, it might help to broaden the search to older properties that are still in good condition. There are generally many existing homes on the market suited toward families of two or three, and they may come at costs more amenable compared to newer ones.
 
Be prepared for work
 
Most empty nesters looking to buy aren't likely interested in fixer-uppers if they're downsizing, said the report, though it may be prudent to take a realistic approach to home buying. Many homes will need at least some work, though it may be best to shy away from major projects.
 
Home buyers may personalize their new house when moving anyway, so the Boston Globe suggests taking that into account. Ones that are ready for some fresh paint or an updated kitchen could be the chance for a couple to downsize to the home of their dreams.
 
 

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