6 Features Empty-Nesters Should Look For in Their Next Home Purchase

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/16/17 10:00 AM

Topics: Home Buying Home Ownership

The kids have flown the nest and you’re faced with the proverbial decision on your lifelong home – do you stay or do you go? While it’s never an easy decision to sell and buy again, “downsizing” paves the way for a new style of homeownership. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new home as an empty-nester here are a few things to consider in your search.


iStockPhoto/Johnny Greig


An Illinois homebuilder recently found that empty-nesters are flocking to ranch-style homes. If a ranch is not your preferred style of home, look for options with a main floor master bedroom, main floor laundry room and extra bedrooms on the second level.

Recreation & Amenities

While location should always be a key factor in the homebuying process, if you’re nearing or are in retirement, quick access to the things you like to do moves up the list.

Reconfiguration of Space

Not necessarily all empty-nesters are looking for less square footage – they’re looking for a better configuration of their homes. Open floor plans fit this need well by allowing a more casual lifestyle but with the space to still host family gatherings.

You should also look for a home with “flex” rooms that can double as a home office and a guest bedroom or a hobby room and a play area for when grandchildren come to visit.


If you plan to downsize significantly on square footage, you’ll need to weed out at least some of your belongings. Look for a home that simplifies your lifestyle yet still allows you to conveniently store what you plan to keep.

Social Areas

Though your children are off to college or have started their own families, you know they’ll be returning for holidays and weekends. Just because you’re downsizing doesn’t mean every room in your home has to be smaller. Think of where your family and friends like to gather in your current home, whether that’s the kitchen or an outdoor living area, and look for a home that will provide that seamlessly.

Low Maintenance Living

Though you may have more time on your hands for DIY home maintenance or home improvements, whether you like to do that maintenance is another story. While you don’t have to purchase a new build, look for a home, yard and landscaping that isn’t going to require you to put in near as much work to upkeep.

Leaving your longtime family home can seem overwhelming, but the excitement of downsizing is that you now get to cater your home to your new stage of life. Still not sure if it’s right for you? Download our free Upsizing & Downsizing Guide for everything you need to know about the pros, cons and things to consider.

Download: Upsizing/Downsizing Guide

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