What Empty Nesters are Looking for in a New Home When they Downsize

The Baby Boomer Generation is the largest age group of today's population. These retirees or soon to be retirees, are also looking to downsize from their current homes, and looking to purchase or build ones that are specific to their new needs and lifestyle. These buyers are very specific in their desires and needs.

As these retirees pack up their large homes, many of which have seen the arrival of their children as well as the departure of these same children, now all grown up and off to college or with families of their own, they will be wanting many of their own material possessions that will be traveling with them. For this group, storage space is of the utmost importance. In this part of Canada, a Toronto suburb, the average size home desired by these retirees is roughly 2,500-3,000 square feet. The number does vary in different parts of the country. This generation wants their space to feel contained, but manageable.

This is a wealthy generation. They have worked hard and saved well. Their retirement funds are healthy and they have money to spend on their new homes. Any income, generated from the sale of their past home, will not go towards the purchase of their new home. Instead it will be put towards their retirement accounts. For this generation of buyers, this home purchase is no longer for investment purposes. They want convenience and simplicity. They are looking for high end, turnkey homes.

A well laid out kitchen and floor plan, for example, are a must. Baby boomers want updated homes, with a new kitchen that has high end finishes, and lots of counter and storage space. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are hugely popular, as are open floor plans, where kitchens are open to the family room. Because this generation grew up with dining rooms, they prefer those homes that have them.

Master bedrooms on the first level, which is quite rare these days, are a must. Master bathrooms, as well as guest rooms and bathrooms on the main floor are in demand. Grandparents or soon to be grandparents are also looking to buy a home that can accommodate their children and grandchildren, therefore they are still looking for the perfect 3 to 4 bedroom home, with the guest rooms on the second floor. Often a spare room is converted into a home office. Finished basements are also popular as a means for storage and for a space for grandchildren to play. Basements tend to be much more popular than attics.

Bathrooms need to be bright and showers are a must. As these retirees get older, getting in and out of bathtubs pose a challenge. A bathtub is needed in one of the bathrooms for younger grandchildren. Master bathrooms should be equipped with walk-in showers, the larger the better. Homebuilders might think about adding railings or handle bars. Storage space for linens and medication is equally important. Bathrooms should also have generously sized linen closets, and as much above the sink storage as possible to alleviate the need to bend down, which gets harder with age.

This generation wants their homes to be problem free; no mould, water or other potential significant issues. Efficiency is also extremely important. Roofs should be new, as should windows, and the home should be well insulated. Where many do not want to carpeting in their home, the baby boomer generation does. It provides softness, warmth and is safer than the harder surfaces. Wider hallways and doors, allowing for wheelchairs, are also a helpful feature. The fewer stairs, the better. And, unless a condo or townhouse is new, with an elevator, will not work due to all the stairs required to get to the upper floors. This generation wants a garage, but doesn't want or need a long driveway.

Gated communities are quite popular. Homes within these communities typically have less property to maintain, which is helpful for this age group. They often look for properties that will be maintained for them. These communities offer spacious living with enough privacy but without feeling too alienated. Patios and verandas are desired. In these communities, they can be with people of a similar age and maintain a social life. These communities often have swimming pools, tennis courts and gymnasiums for those who find keeping fit important. 

Another important factor is location. Empty nesters prefer to be in or close to town. They want easy access to culture and restaurants. They want to get out and enjoy themselves and live an active lifestyle without having to drive too far. School systems are no longer as important as having access to medical institutions and hospitals.                                           

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Hans Taal  

Hans Taal

The name people recommend in Real Estate...

Sales Representative 
467 Speers Road
Ontario, L6K 3S4
Direct Line: 905.339.5270  E-Mail: hans.taal@century21.

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Hans Taal

Hans Taal

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage*
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