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Downsizing Your Home

By Anna Beigelman, Licensed Broker Associate

As people go through various life stages, their housing needs change. It is very typical for a household to start in a smaller dwelling and to move to larger one(s) as their household grows. Over the years, when children grow up and start to leave the nest, the parents become empty nesters and often realize their housing needs and priorities are no longer the same. This is what we call, downsizing your home. There are a number of different considerations that come into focus when people are at this stage of their life, and I think it is a good idea to review them.

Top Considerations for Potential Downsizers:

Size of home: This is probably the first thing that comes to mind, the empty bedrooms, unused bathrooms and other rooms or parts of house that are no longer needed are quickly identified. It is with this consideration that homeowners might first consider right-sizing.

Cost of running the home: The mortgage may be fully paid off at that point, but the insurance, ground care, cleaning and utilities costs are high and are only going to rise with inflation. It makes no sense to pay to maintain a home of that size, without using it fully. In addition, as people approach retirement their income may drop so their monthly budgets begin to look different than at full employment.

Maintenance of the home: Over time, all homes experience wear and tear. Mechanical systems get old and need replacement or upgrades, roof, gutters, and lawn/trees need to be watched for any possible hazards and or simply maintained on an ongoing basis at a minimum. Climate control systems must be checked for efficiency and safety and sooner or later replaced as they become obsolete. Also, plumbing, and electric need regular attention - you get the picture!

Layout of the home: As people get older, stairs may become a challenge, and with health and mobility issues, the home they have lived in for 25 years plus may no longer be practical for daily tasks given the new physical challenges.

So Where Do Downsizers Go from Here?

On Long Island there are several options for downsizers, such as condo and co-ops, condominiums, gated communities and more. Let’s explore them:

Gated communities: These are typically newer or brand-new planned communities with gated security, a pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts and other amenities for residents. Residences are one or two story, and second floor units often come with an elevator. Most are built by well-known Long Island builders with many years of experience building such communities. They typically have a minimum age restriction, starting at 55 years of age (if purchased by more than one person, only one needs to meet the age requirement). They offer a reduced school property tax since the residents do not use the school system.

Age 55+ communities and buildings: These are not gated but have building security, and often offer amenities such as gyms and pools for residents. They are often low-rise buildings up to 4-5 stories high. They also have the benefit of paying a reduced school property tax.

Condominiums and co-ops: These are buildings that are not age restricted, they are typically priced below the age-specific units and tend to be older in age of the structure itself. Like the age restricted dwellings, they include all outside maintenance and maintenance of common areas. Some offer amenities.

Small private homes: This is a good option for folks that value their privacy and do not want to hear or see neighbors. It is also for those that still want the feeling of a private home and yard on a residential street like the one they are coming from. To save money, I recommend reviewing homes in nearby school districts where the school tax is less than the one, they are living in now. Most of the time my clients buy a smaller home with a primary bedroom and a full bathroom on the main level.

Let Me Help You When You are Considering Downsizing Your Home

Deciding what direction to go in when downsizing is a personal choice, and it depends on many factors. I have worked with countless clients who were precisely in this position, and I find it rewarding to help them navigate these choices and stage in their life. Let’s sit down to understand what type of next home will best suit your needs. Call me at 516-641-0754 to get started.

Call Anna at 516-641-0754