The Ultimate Empty Nester Homebuying Checklist

A bird's nest with no eggs in it to symbolize the concept of an empty nester.

A bird's nest with no eggs in it to symbolize the concept of an empty nester.

The kids are grown up, moved out, and successfully adulting. Your house is too big, too old, or in the wrong location—or climate. You’re ready for fewer stairs, a more walkable community, access to outdoor recreation, a unique selection of cultural amenities—pick one or all. Is this you?

 

If you’ve answered “yes” faster than a run down one of Santa Fe’s primo mountain bike trails, you may be among the many empty nesters looking for a new home.

 

The Santa Fe real estate market attracts empty nesters from around the country, as well as area residents who may be thinking about moving to a home better suited to their empty-nester needs. With that in mind, we put together a homebuying checklist with this particular type of homebuyer in mind.

 

Not an empty nester? No worries. In future posts, we’ll provide checklists geared to the needs of homebuyers who telecommute and homeowners who want to stay in the area but move to a new home.

 

For any type of homebuyer, figuring out what type of home you want is one of the most important steps in the buying process. Determining your homebuying criteria can save you time during the search process. And it can help your Barker real estate broker zero in on the homes that fit your needs.

 

Benefits of Downsizing

For would-be downsizers, moving to a smaller home comes with many benefits, many of which are financial. Larger homes cost more to own and maintain. When you no longer need the space for a growing family, you can save significant money by downsizing. For some, moving into a more modern and up-to-date home is the ticket to a better lifestyle.

 

A flat roof Santa Fe home

While downsizing is a personal decision that may not work for everyone, let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of living smaller.

 

Less Effort to Maintain

Living in a smaller home means you’ll spend less time and energy on maintenance and cleaning. You can downsize to a smaller home on a larger or similar size lot, however. So keep in mind that landscaping and yard work may not shrink along with reduced square footage. Of course, if you downsize to a condo, landscaping and exterior maintenance will be covered by HOA fees.

 

Reduced Energy Use

A smaller home requires less power to heat and cool. The lower your utility usage, the lower your utility bills and your overall impact on the environment. If you’re interested in reducing your household’s carbon footprint—and saving money on utilities at the same time—moving to a smaller home will do it.

 

Enhanced Lifestyle Amenities

Many people downsize to take advantage of the amenities that better suit their lifestyle. These are strictly personal and can include a whole host of things—a walkable community, a more urban or rural location, and close proximity to outdoor recreation, for example.

 

An Upgraded or Newer Home

A downsized home with a downsized price can be newly built or newer and come with upgraded and even luxury features. If you sell your home for more money than it costs to buy another, you may be able to invest in upgrades of your own.

 

Your Downsizing Checklist

We tailored this checklist to include criteria that are often important to empty-nester buyers. You can and should add your own criteria. Then place each item in one of the following categories: “must have” and “would like to have.” The purpose here is twofold: to start thinking about your needs and to use your checklist to save time when you’re ready to start looking at homes.

 

 

Criteria Must Have Would Like to Have
Turnkey home

First-floor master suite

Master walk-in shower

Casita for guests/rental

Extra bedrooms

First-floor laundry

Home office

Storage space

Garage

Low maintenance exterior

Low maintenance lot

Gated community

Proximity to recreation

Easy access to shopping

Easy access to entertainment

Easy access to health care

Walkable neighborhood

Outdoor living spaces

Fewer stairs and steps

Stairs with railings

Other (add your own)

 

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Once you’ve completed your checklist, you and your Barker Realty broker can use it as a guide to finding the homes that best meet your needs.

 

Making a decision to downsize can take many turns, and it’s likely that you may revise your checklist at least once. Consider it a tool to help you navigate your next home purchase. Contact us anytime to get started. We look forward to working with you!

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