Column: Should empty nesters remodel or move?


Well, the last one is in college, on their first job or they’ve moved out a few years ago. Now it’s you two or it’s just you alone and are now contemplating what to do.

Should we stay in place and remodel for the future or is it time to think about putting the place on the market and downsize?

It’s a huge decision to make and comes with a lot of questions to be answered and solid strategic planning. If we are going to remodel, what is our (my) plan and what will the total cost be?

You need to set a budget and decide what are the most important renovations and upgrades that need to be completed; and will you get your investment back, if you all of a sudden had to sell.

Is there currently a handicap situation or do you anticipate one?

My suggestion is to make your home as comfortable and easy to get around in and as maintenance free as possible. Will you need a ramp to gain access to your home by a wheelchair?

Are your doors wide enough (34”) toenable current or future access? Is your kitchen and bathrooms setup properly as you age and will a renovation/remodel make your life easier?

If you will be in a wheel chair on a more permanent basis, is there enough clearance to slide underneath tables?

Depending on the style of home that you presently live in; if your master bedroom is on the  floor, will this be where you will be sleeping in the future or should you make a bedroom on the first floor (for now, use it as a sitting area/family or guest room) just to anticipate your needs later on?

Yes, you can always install a stair lift to get you upstairs. Prices can range from $1,300-$5,000 and in most instances installed in one day.

I would go room by room and anticipate what you might need to do. Especially if your kitchen and bathrooms have not been renovated in many years, then this would be an excellent opportunity to project what you might need going forward.

Today we are in excellent health and physically fit; but you never know what tomorrow will hold. If you were to fall down and can’t get up and no one was around, and your cell phone, is not near you, do you have any device that will summon police or emergency? These are little, but critical and crucial things to ponder.

If you are not ready to do anything right now, you can always wait, and have a discussion with your adult children and devise a plan for later.

However, if you are older and getting on in years, don’t procrastinate; definitely talk with your children or someone that will assist you in making the important decisions about remodeling.

However, if remodeling and renovating is not what you want or can do, then you still should have a conversation with your kids or whomever is closest to you and see whether downsizing to a smaller home, maybe a ranch without stairs or a home with a master on the first floor or even purchase a co-op or condo in your town or nearby.

Maybe your married children want you to move nearby where they live so it will be easier for them to assist and take care of you when you need help or in an emergency.

In some ways, moving could be easier; but then you have to decide what to do with all of your accumulation over the years and decide what you are throwing away, garage or professional tag sale or are taking with you.

Give yourself at least three to six months or more depending on what you may have to do, so your move will produce as little stress and aggravation as possible.

Create to-do-lists to make your tasks and chores as easy as possible. Give yourself time to decide on your budget to purchase (or rent) as well as how many bedrooms, baths and style of your next place to call home.

Don’t rush, take your time and If you need any assistance and advice, you are only as far away as a phone call!

P.S. When is the last time you looked at your will and updated it for any changes that may have occurred over the years?

Phil Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate @ 7 Bond St in Great Neck. He has earned the designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute and is a Certified International Property Specialist. He can be reached by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com or by cell (516) 647-4289 to answer any of your questions or article suggestions or provide you a free Comparative Market Analysis on your property. See what your home is worth: WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com


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