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Thinking about houses in mid-life


Janie Grace
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I'm just curious how you'd think about buying a new house in your mid-40s. 

 

On one hand, our five kids are starting to leave home. Our family is "shrinking." I HATE moving, so maybe we should be thinking about that one-story house we can grow old in and that's easy to care for.

 

On the other hand, we want our kids to come home to visit! And bring spouses and children one day! Plus we are a long way away from being old.

 

How would you think about a new home at mid-life? Smaller/simpler as the kids leave for college? Or lots of space for the GROWTH that's bound to happen in the next 15 years?

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My dad and stepmom bought a monstrosity of a house...5 bedrooms 4 baths hoping for kids to come visit. We dont' come enough to justify that amount of space,

 

I say, get the house that works for YOU and if you have to pull out a hide a bed and air matress, or pitch a tent in the back yard, that will just add to the fun of family gatherings.

 

ETA: I would wait a few years thought till you're sure of what will happen.You could end up with one or more commuter college students.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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We are early 40s and planning to build. However, we have a baby so that changes things a bit from your original question. The house we are Building is close to town, but it has the master and all necessary adult living spaces on the first floor. When all kids are gone (when I'm 60?!?) we can just live downstairs and keep the upstairs for visitors.

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I would not buy a new home in my 40s just to have a new home (I assume we are not talking about relocating to another place?)

I want my kids to be comfortable coming home from college, bringing significant others home, perhaps later families, but for that purpose, our current house works just fine. I would not buy a larger house in anticipation that some day somebody would want to bring a large family, nor do I want to downsize now. I am not going to buy another house in this town.

We are considering retiring in another location. At that point, the house we buy will be a house that makes aging in place possible. But that's a long time off.

Edited by regentrude
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I would not buy a new home in my 40s just to have a new home (I assume we are not talking about relocating to another place?)

I want my kids to be comfortable coming home from college, bringing significant others home, perhaps later families, but for that purpose, our current house works just fine. I would not buy a larger house in anticipation that some day somebody would want to bring a large family, nor do I want to downsize now. I am not going to buy another house in this town.

We are considering retiring in another location. At that point, the house we buy will be a house that makes aging in place possible. But that's a long time off.

 

It's not "just to have a new home." We have been renting (for various reasons). We have owned before and would like to own again soon(-ish). It will be in the same area. I want to stay here for at least dd's first year of college (coming home to a familiar place) but after that, if we it makes sense financially, I would REALLY like to have our own place again.

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It's not "just to have a new home." We have been renting (for various reasons). We have owned before and would like to own again soon(-ish). It will be in the same area. I want to stay here for at least dd's first year of college (coming home to a familiar place) but after that, if we it makes sense financially, I would REALLY like to have our own place again.

 

Oh, I see.

In that case, I would buy a home that is large enough for the number of people who are still living at home, plus one bonus room (extra bedroom, or better, finished basement) that can be used for guests.

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The thing I would think about is are you going to have a mortgage and how many years will the mortgage be. My inlaws bought a house in their 50s and then lost their jobs in their 60 and they still have a significant mortgage. They are ok and they won't loose the house or anything but it is not a situation I would want to be in.

 

 

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We built this house knowing that our kids had relatively few years to live here.  What we did was built a house that could serve us both now and as we got older.  It is a two story home with all of the kid bedrooms upstairs.  The upstairs is on separate heat and air, and is arranged so that we can close it off later if we get too decrepit to go up and down the stairs.  However, it is still there if kids and grandkids come to visit.  Our master, an office/bedroom, laundry, and two baths are all downstairs.  

If we ever do move again, I think I'd look for a house with a large living/dining area so family can gather around the holidays and a couple of extra bedrooms, but nothing huge.

 

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I'm about to turn 40, and I'm still holding out for a new (to me) house!

Even if I only have the youngest two for the next decade, give or take, more room would make everyone more comfortable. Our current house is THAT itty bitty (for a family our size.)  

 

I would not, however, want to mess with a 30 year mortgage.  

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Well, I currently live in a senior neighborhood, and we'll probably move to a non-senior neighborhood when the kids are grown LOL! 

 

We live in a mobile home park. It's marketed to seniors, but it is open to everyone. Our housing bill is dirt cheap now since we own the house and only pay lot rent. We want to move to an actual house sometime in the next 5-10 years. We'll probably buy a similar size house.

 

If I were you, I'd probably go for 1 bedroom per kid left at home, maybe with a spare.

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We've lived for 20 years now on our farm - it's really the only house our boys remember and it has a decent amount of land for boys to have been boys.

 

But soon... our dream is a 2 bedroom condo on a beach with beach walks replacing farm chores.  We'll have a couch and our Thermarest mats for folks to use if we need to cram folks in on a visit.  Our farmhouse is a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, so other than the land (and I'm sure a beach will be just as appealing) there isn't much of a room difference.  If the condo has 2 bathrooms, it could even work out better in that aspect.

 

We're still not sure if we're selling the farm to move to the condo or just trying to keep both places (renting the condo when we're not there and renting the farmland here to assist with the additional costs).

 

In no way, shape, or form do I want MORE to clean and keep up with the kids having moved out.  Families in other countries pack them all in when needed.  So can we.

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My grandparents had the perfect home for later life: single main floor, two bedrooms two baths kitchen dining living areas; everything they needed

 

Plus a basement with several more bedrooms, a den, and a bathroom--perfect for family to come visit.

 

The basement door could be shut and that part of the house basically ignored when visitors weren't around.

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I say don't buy more house than you reasonably expect to use, yourselves, unless the layout is such that it has a wing or outbuilding with space for guests. You don't really want to clean three or four bathrooms when you use two, or worry about dusting and heating five bedrooms when you need three, max. If you're going to move look for a layout that really work for the life you live in terms of entertaining and leisure, and consider carefully how much space your guests really need. Heck, you can build in all sorts of excellent bunk options to sleep extra guests and then have a single guest suite - which is infinitely more useful than three or four extra rooms for the same number of people who occasionally visit.

 

Something like this:

http://cdn.decoist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Beach-style-kids-bedroom-with-twin-bunk-beds.jpg

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I would like to move to a ranch and a half (where there is a living space and a master bedroom bath only on the second floor) that would accommodate my special needs son better.  The thought of taking out a larger mortgage than we have now is NOT something I want to do in my late 40s.  Right now, I am looking into every possible way to pay off our house in less than 10 years so that we are not retiring with a mortgage.  If somehow we could pay cash for the house we really could use to suit our situation better, I would.  Otherwise, nope.  I hate mortgages and really want that part of our life to end soon.

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I'm about to turn 40, and I'm still holding out for a new (to me) house!

Even if I only have the youngest two for the next decade, give or take, more room would make everyone more comfortable. Our current house is THAT itty bitty (for a family our size.)

 

I would not, however, want to mess with a 30 year mortgage.

Mhmm. Even if it was just my husband and I I'd say our current space is just too tight without significant remodel to increase storage and functionality. Layout is SO important but it also makes sense to stay where it is economical. We haven't moved yet because why get under another mortgage when we are paying ours off so nicely right now?

 

Even when we build our goal is to not obtain more in construction loan and mortgage than we have now. Just say no to lifestyle inflation! But I am seriously looking forward to another thousand square feet to be comfortable. There is, however, a big difference in livability between 2000 and 3400+ square feet, and we are aiming for as little space as we can comfortably get away with precisely because of the long term maintenance issues (the current shoebox just isn't working well, but we are at less than 250 sq feet per person!)

 

If you haven't read the Not So Big House book series, I highly recommend them. Layout and storage and functionality, baby!

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I'm looking forward to downsizing. At 1600 sq ft, our house is bigger than we need as it is; I can't imagine just two of us here.

 

Of course I would always want an extra room that DS can use when he visits. I don't think he would care if it was his "childhood room" at all.

 

We wanted a single story house when we bought our current home but didn't end up with one. We will definitely go that way in the future, with an eye toward getting older as well as a smaller footprint.

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DH is 56, I'm 54. We bought a new-to-us house last year. We moved with the intent of this being our retirement home. There's still plenty of room for the boys and anyone they want to bring home, but it's a bit smaller than our previous house. Our previous house was around 2800 or 2900 square feet, this one is probably nearer to 2100-2200. This house is better for aging in place, as the master bedroom and laundry room are downstairs (unlike our previous house). Property taxes are significantly less than at our previous house due to moving out of the city limits. The neighborhood is more peaceful, and yet we're convenient to all the necessities--we have grocery stores, pharmacies and a family practice medical office all within a few minutes' drive. So . . . we moved to better position ourselves for DH's retirement and getting older, but we also prioritized still having enough room for the boys. But we didn't consider future spouses/grandchildren. That's too far down the road and too unpredictable.

Edited by Pawz4me
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DH's grandparents "downsized" to a 1500 square foot, 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch.  HOWEVER, they had the walkout basement finished with a kitchenette, huge family room, bathroom and 2 bedrooms. That is what made it possible for the majority of family to stay with them for holidays and things like that.  As they grew older and couldn't do stairs one of DH's aunts cleaned it every now and then to keep it up.  Even though grandma wasn't going down there it was still a great place for out of town family to stay and it was much less expensive than maintaining a huge 6 bedroom home.   They were also able to continue hosting holidays there for many years, we all just piled in the big basement.  

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I typed up a long post about how we are struggling with housing decisions, but it really doesn't matter. We actually have a house that we like that suits us very well; we just want to move to an acreage, which would make us house poor. I would focus on finding something that makes 1) financial sense and 2) has some versatility. What we like about our house now is that the small kitchen, small living room, and small dining room are all open to each other and open onto a small sun room. The sq. footage is smaller that way while still giving us an area where 20-30 people can hang out together. The walkout basement has two bedrooms and one very large room (running the entire length of the house). My husband and I would have everything we need upstairs but plenty of room for grandkids running around when they visit.

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We'll be turning 46 and we are looking for a bigger condo if the property market crash again. Our current home is small but still okay even though in-laws have to sleep on the sofa bed in our living room when they visit.

 

What we factor in is that our current mortgage is almost paid up and we have the 20% down payment saved for the maximum we are willing to pay for a bigger condo. We don't want townhouse because of stairs and we can't afford a single family home and do not like yard work anyway.

 

Our current floor plan is such that our dining room is about the size of our master bedroom and can have a door put in easily so it can become a guest bedroom for good. We eat at our living room or our patio. Now our dining room is our music room and science supplies room.

Edited by Arcadia
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Dh and I are looking to relocate somewhere less expensive than where we live now and closer to his family since we won't need our location for children's activities in a few years (4-6 years).

 

We are looking at homes similar to slightly larger in size to the one we have now or slightly smaller but with room for a small cottage or something similar on the property but thinking about the layout differently. Size-wise we are thinking possibly doing a B&B but do not want to purchase a home so expensive we have to do a B&B to afford it...plus thinking about kids/grandkids visiting as well. Layout-wise I want a first floor bedroom with bathroom so if anything happens to either of us and we need the home to be accessible, it has that possibility. (Before, I never wanted a 1st floor bedroom because I wanted to be on the same level as the kids.)

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I'm 53, my dh is considerably older, and our ds is 17. We already had two houses but when dh got his liver transplant last year, we bought another house near the transplant center that we use when he has medical appointments. It has a little over 5,000 square feet, but we will probably sell it and buy something larger if we decide to permanently relocate to that area and sell one of the other houses. We looked at some smaller houses and some condos, thinking they would be fine to live in part-time, but then we went to this open house one Sunday afternoon just for fun... and we bought the house that afternoon.

 

I may be getting older, but I still like good-sized houses. If I ever want to downsize, I know I can do it, so I think if you want a new house now and you can afford it, you should buy it and enjoy it! :)

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For all the people thinking of one floor as they grow older, my grandpa's (former) doctor has a theory. His healthiest elderly patients are those that live in 2 story houses. 

They have to climb the stairs, so they do. And that tiny bit of movement/exercise helps keep them healthy.

That's stayed with me ever since I heard him say it.

But my vote goes to smaller, but with 2 floors still. (Take it with a grain of salt. Our oldest is 6.)

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For all the people thinking of one floor as they grow older, my grandpa's (former) doctor has a theory. His healthiest elderly patients are those that live in 2 story houses.

 

They have to climb the stairs, so they do. And that tiny bit of movement/exercise helps keep them healthy.

My mom's rheumatism onset was in her 50s. That was why she moved from a home which has stairs to one which is wheelchair accessible. My hubby's grandma is wheelchair bound and luckily his grandma's whole house is wheelchair accessible.

 

My hubby's good friend fractured his leg in his 20s. The downstairs full sized bathroom of his childhood home was convenient while his friend just slept at the living room. When the parents moved to a smaller home, they opt to have a master bedroom on the ground floor just in case, so two master bedrooms suites.

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Our current house - perfect for raising four kids, caring for aging elders and in a perfect location - will be paid off next year.

 

Sometime in the next ten years, we plan to sell it and move somewhere with a warmer climate. We want to downsize then as well and I won't complain if it's all on one level or one level with a basement. And cheaper would be good to as I wouldn't mind having a small vacation place somewhere.

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I miss my 4000sf house but the property taxes and upkeep of house and yard were $$$$$$. We are in a high COL area and retired and don't want to send all our money to the tax man. We have 2500 sf and it will be fine when we get rid of more stuff.

 

And my son can't return if he never leaves!!!! :0)

 

I didn't want a two story but in this area, they build only very small ranch houses. And you still have a yard. I'd rather get a condo if it's gonna be small. :0)

 

Here's the deal. We thought our 4K house was forever. It wasn't. So we are in this house...and I no longer think of a "forever house." We think the house for the season.

 

I'd like to go bigger...but not in this area. So maybe we will move someday out of this area. But at this season, I don't want to. I like my life.

 

We are 58.5 and 63.5, for the record. Ds is 21.

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The last house we bought (and currently plan to remain in) included consideration of what you mention - space for us, and space for kids and grandkids when they visit. Our answer was to purchase a home with the master suite, kitchen, and laundry rooms (highest usage rooms) all on the main floor, and an upper level that can be opened or closed for use as needed.

Edited by Seasider
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We are in the middle of buying a house. We live overseas and we have six kids. Our oldest is in college with two others not far behind. Our youngest are elementary age. My husband will probably retire in 10-12 years, though could officially retire much earlier.

 

We wanted a place that we could have family and friends stay, and kids and grandkids. We wanted somewhere the kids could go to and enjoy even when we're not there. We wanted somewhere that we would enjoy at least for the first part of our retirement. So our criteria was pretty land, near recreation (mountains, rivers) and a house that wasn't enormous (no 4000sq ft mansions) but worked for hosting large groups on occasion. This house has extra sleeping lofts, and a tiny extra bedroom that can't be listed as a bedroom (too small) and a family room with a door that could easily have a sofa bed in it. So a three bedroom house that ostensibly has seven potential bedroom areas, without giving us a lot of extra unused square footage. We wanted a minimum of 2.5 baths for this reason, too. We also looked at some with great finished basements or attics that we imagined lining with bunk beds for grandkids, but found this house instead.

 

Anyway, all that to say, we have just gone round and round with this same dilemma, and this has been our solution. Not too big overall, somewhere we want to retire, but somehow suitably set up for the occasional big family gatherings. Ideally we pay this off quickly and buy a smaller place somewhere warm as a back-up retirement place.

 

Happy house hunting.

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My mom's rheumatism onset was in her 50s. That was why she moved from a home which has stairs to one which is wheelchair accessible. My hubby's grandma is wheelchair bound and luckily his grandma's whole house is wheelchair accessible.

 

My hubby's good friend fractured his leg in his 20s. The downstairs full sized bathroom of his childhood home was convenient while his friend just slept at the living room. When the parents moved to a smaller home, they opt to have a master bedroom on the ground floor just in case, so two master bedrooms suites.

 

 

We're planning to build a new home for living with my MIL  in the next five years.   Our plan is a two story home with a master suite downstairs for MIL  and three more bedrooms upstairs including a second master suite.   We've decided not to do a MIL apt since Mil doesn't need/want a separate entrance or kitchen.    Then when we're older, we can move downstairs if needed, and only use the upstairs for the kids visiting.  We're also planning to rent our current family home instead of selling it to provide extra income.  

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We are contemplating getting a little closer to work and cutting the commute time.

Layout and functionality is top consideration with price obviously. I am very busy right now so not sure how fast we will find something but it won't really matter if it takes a while. We are comfortable here and there is no rush.

 

I like a country type setting but not 5000 square feet to clean and even if I hired someone to clean it I would think it's a waste of house for the two of us when a larger family could really utilize the space. I do like a well appointed kitchen or at least a good layout so the kitchen can be adapted. Living space need not be huge but I like to fit a three seater, a loveseat and a window bench (movable) plus a breakfront for books and what-nots. We both write reports from home so we do need space for desks or one long desk and lots of wall space for shelving. I have, and am still accumulating, an enormous amount of professional material and books that I need to accommodate besides some leisure reading material.

 

When I look outside, I would rather not stare at someone else's house. I've been spoiled living on acreage. I don't mind seeing trees, grass or livestock but I don't want to be so close I can hear others fighting over the last hunk of cheese next door. :)  So...suburban houses are not really our cuppa. It's going to take us longer finding something we want to spend a sizable amount of money on. This will likely be our last home purchase since we are in our early fifties unless we have some huge windfall and are able to get a vacation home somewhere.

 

I second Arctic Mama's suggestion to get the books by Sarah Susanka "The not so big house." There are several versions of it now published. Library has them here. For those of you who are contemplating building or remodeling, it is a wonderful resource!

Edited by Liz CA
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For all the people thinking of one floor as they grow older, my grandpa's (former) doctor has a theory. His healthiest elderly patients are those that live in 2 story houses.

 

They have to climb the stairs, so they do. And that tiny bit of movement/exercise helps keep them healthy.

That's stayed with me ever since I heard him say it.

But my vote goes to smaller, but with 2 floors still. (Take it with a grain of salt. Our oldest is 6.)

I think about that. Now that I have a fitbit, I can verify what I already knew: I climb 20-30 flights a day just living here.

 

We have an enormous home, because we bought one with a full two bedroom apartment in the basement for my parents. Mom is gone, Dad is in AL, ds is in the dorms during the week, and dh travels. So it's mostly just the dogs and I in an embarrassing number of square feet.

 

We have some renovations to do to sell, so over the next year (as I recover from this illness), we'll have those done. We hope to be to market next spring.

 

We still want a small in-law suite for ds, but we will be going smaller. Unfortunately the price will stay about the same, beacause we want to move closer into town with access to public transportation.

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Dh and I are having difficulty on deciding when and where to move. Granted, past 40 here but the conversation started in our 40's.

Dh is ready to move somewhere with a lower cost of living but still wants a house with at least 3 bedrooms.

I am not ready to move because dd is a high school junior and will soon be off to college. Ds is in his freshman year of college. I don't want to sell their home out from under them until they are settled in their future. Ideally when we move it will at least be somewhat near at least one of our children. I am not sure I want another house. I love my house but I an not getting any younger and I want something with fewer stairs.

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We are going to build when our current house sells. We're going about 2000 square feet, one story, small bed rooms, large living space, mostly wood floors, massive screened porch, built with wheel chair accessibility in mind. I'll need my hip replaced within a few years, and I never want DH on a ladder to clean the gutters on a two and a half + story roof ever again. I want us to be able to repair anything and if we fall we don't die. We're also aiming for solar power sometime soon, and minimal upkeep. I'm exited about it!!

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I'm not really in that situation yet - we are still in more of an expanding phase - as time goes on we may need to move or add on here, as the kids and baby grow.  It may end up depending a bit on how long dd12 sticks around.  But we'll be seriously short a bedroom at some point in the future.

 

That being said, this house would potentially work very well for us as we age, so we may try and muddle through.  I don't worry too much about the idea of all the kids coming back to stay - if all four of them came with a spouse, we simply will never be able to fit them all - we will end up figuring out other options, be they staying with aunts or grandparents, or something else.

 

I would be leery of taking on a new mortgage too late, though I've seen it done.  My in-laws mortgaged a new house at about 60, and just paid it off a few years ago - it was their dream, a tiny cottage with a mooring on the harbor.  And my parents at the same age just a few years ago did the same, moving to a smaller  historic home in the city from the suburbs.

 

TBH, the thing that might really tempt me would be a place with the potential for a really exciting garden.

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I beg my husband to move all the time. We are both 49, and we have a 5 bedroom house on 5 acres that is just more than I want to deal with, even with 4 adult children and 5 (already) grandchildren.

 

I'd like a house about the size of our downstairs (1600ish square feet, 3 bdrm, 2 bath), but laid out much more efficiently than ours with a much bigger family room and smaller bedrooms (our master and one of the other bedrooms are unnecessarily large).

 

He won't hear of moving, although he said for years he wanted us to move to Destin, FL. Now he's just giving up on that idea and wants to keep me stuck out here in the boonies with terrible internet access (first world problem I know). We could likely buy a smaller place cash with our equity, but his goal is to finish paying this one off then tear the house down and build my dream house. I think that's a ridiculous waste of our money when we could easily pay this off and buy something smaller on maybe an acre with cash.

 

Anyway, at 49 I'd like to move forward with the house I want to stay in forever, so I don't think buying something at this point would be bad; just be wise with the mortgage.

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We had kids later in life. DH is retired, and I'm in my mid-50's and still working. Our youngest is graduating in June. The older one is in college locally, and the next plans the same.

 

Given DH's medical problems, we have to stay in this area. We live in a semi-rural area outside of a major metropolitan area, and he needs the nationally-ranked specialists here. The local hospital is excellent and even does joint replacements and some cancer treatment. But our house isn't overly big as it is, and we really like the area. The yard is an issue, but we'll see. If it was just me, I'd probably move into town though.

 

We plan to put on a first-floor addition next summer. 

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This is exactly where we are too, except we're probably about 5-10yrs ahead of you..  Our kids have mostly moved out, but they come home for holidays and visits.    One of our adult daughters is thinking of going to get her post-grad degree and she may move back home.  Otherwise we have one high schooler and a college student who is away at college.    We also have grandkids that I watch 2x per week. 

 

We currently live in a 2700 sq ft home and it's pretty big for our current needs.  The other problem with the house is that the kitchen/dining room is smallish and with 12 people around the Christmas table it's tight.  However, we have huge bedrooms.  :huh:   The nice thing was there was a bedroom for everyone who came to spend the night and visit over Christmas break, including my dad. 

 

So, we'd like to find a smaller house but also one that has a large common area for visiting family/friends.  We've been looking at older model homes.  Mostly they've needed renovations, which is fine by me.  I'd rather take down walls and configure a house to suit my needs anyway.  But then the price needs to work so I can afford the needed upgrades.    We're also thinking ahead to retirement.  We want to avoid assisted living as long as possible.  So, on that front we want a house with a main floor master bedroom.  We've also been willing to look at Split Levels, but I've wondered if that is a good idea in the long run - lots of small sets of stairs and rarely the ability to put a bedroom/full bath on the main floor.  

 

I would recommend you write down a list of what you must have in the next house and also a list of things that are nice to have.  You can see my post about a house we found and trying to figure out which compromises to make. It's really hard to find everything we want and it's hard to know which compromises are easier to live with, long term. It's good you're thinking about it now.

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I love what my sister and her dh are doing.  They are in their 60's, and building a home!  Their children are now all fairly recently married and starting to have babies.  They've never been able to entertain a crowd because of their home size.  Their new home is a single level, and has a medium-sized living room and dining room that are connected and open to each other.  This way they can finally extend a dining room table to fit 14 people when they need to!  It will run the length of their living room and dining room, but that is about all my sister really wants.   :)  Then at one end of the house is a master bedroom and bath, and the other end has a guest bedroom and bath.  Sounds perfect to me.  They can always fit sleeping bags in the living room for grandchildren.

 

My dh and I will probably do it differently though.  My dh cannot maintain a home or yard because of his disability, and I don't want to do it all.  But we can still travel, and we will!  So, we'll probably buy into a townhouse that has two bedrooms and keep traveling until we drop. I always want our children and someday grandchildren to know that they can come live with us in the extra bedroom if they ever need to.  And it would be lovely to have a dining room long enough to host big family dinners.

 

One other thought is buying a duplex with my dd and her dh.  (They actually approached us on this.)  We'd live in half, and they'd live in half.  Together we could hold big family events.  DD and her dh would be there to help with yard maintenance, etc., and I could help with any someday childcare.   :)

 

 

 

Edited by J-rap
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My grandparents had the perfect home for later life: single main floor, two bedrooms two baths kitchen dining living areas; everything they needed

 

Plus a basement with several more bedrooms, a den, and a bathroom--perfect for family to come visit.

 

The basement door could be shut and that part of the house basically ignored when visitors weren't around.

 

I had a friend whose parents had a similar configuration.  Master bedroom/bath and laundry on the main floor.  All other bedrooms upstairs.  They lived near the beach, so they often had kids/grandkids come for a visit.  They kept it closed off the rest of time.  I thought it was the perfect solution.  As far as I know, they still live in that house and they're both in their mid-80s. 

Edited by PrincessMommy
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One other thought is buying a duplex with my dd and her dh.  (They actually approached us on this.)  We'd live in half, and they'd live in half.  Together we could hold big family events.  DD and her dh would be there to help with yard maintenance, etc., and I could help with any someday childcare.   :)

 

We've told our kids that we plan to live in their basement... (taking turns with each boy).  :lol:

 

The interesting thing is they're not necessarily opposed - but still have to find out where they want to settle on this planet (and who with if anyone).  We started it as a joke, but who knows?

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When we moved back from Brazil, 3 yrs ago now, we ended up having a home built as the market moved too fast for us to grab anything we liked/would work for us. I'm so glad we did. 

 

We are just now 41, but definitely had an eye towards "within the next 10 yrs, we'll be empty-nesters..." and so we did what several others have mentioned. A two-story that is big enough to meet all our needs right now, while the boys are all still at home (and the college son has chosen to be a commuter student, so it's good we did that rather than "oh, he can share a room, it's only another year & a half..."), yet set up so that once they're all moved out & dh and I become less mobile one day, we can still access all the parts of the house we need to. 

 

Right now the laundry is upstairs, but it wouldn't be a difficult thing to move if we become unable to use the stairs. Everything else is downstairs (master bedroom/bath, extra bathroom, kitchen, living, dining) and then there's plenty of room upstairs for hosting kids/grandkids.

 

Also with the age spread, it's possible (though not necessarily likely) that we'd still have one son at home by the time the oldest is married, possibly with children. So, we had to keep that in mind as well; the youngest won't graduate until he's 19 and by then the oldest will be 26...certainly old enough to have married and had a child, theoretically. Suppose the youngest also decides to commute for college and you add another 4 yrs onto his "living at home" -- we decided we wanted a home big enough to accommodate that, just in case. 

 

As for finances, we bought in a lower cost section of the general area so we could stay well below our max budget, and with a lower tax rate than other areas for the same reason, so that we'll be able to pay the house off before we hit retirement and have minimal costs with the taxes after that. We were able to get more house, and for less money, based on where we built. 

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My dh and I are in our late 40's and considering adding on and renovating. We've been in discussions about it for years. I'm not getting anywhere. His income has steadily gone up over the years and we could definitely get a mortgage, but my dh doesn't want a 30 year mortgage at this point in his life. To one extent I get it, but we live in a high cost of living and the house will hold its value. In the meantime, our 1200 sq ft house is deteriorating since we can't come to any decision, so we do nothing. Just frustrating.

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I would never buy a house bigger just to have room for visiting family on holidays.   An extreme example is a friend of mine who got divorced and his wife kept the really large house because she needed something big for when the kids returned for holidays.  But I know the area he lives has a minimum property tax was 30K per year.   I pointed out that it would be cheaper for her to have the house she needed and then for every big holiday rent hotel rooms and hospitality suite of a decent hotel AND get the meal catered.   Other people wouldn't have that extreme price difference, but bigger houses cost more to buy, more in taxes, more to maintain and more to heat/AC.   

 

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My only consideration is I wouldn't buy a house that needed to be renovated (like the current house we bought).  I'm kinda done with that "excitement". 

 

If you think it's crazy to do this in your 40s, you'd think my MIL/FIL were beyond crazy.  They bought their dream home when my FIL was in his early 60s.  They renovated it in large part themselves.  I think my FIL got to enjoy it a few years, but he died at 70 leaving my MIL stuck with a massive house.  And nothing happens quickly in Germany like it does here so it took her forever to sell it. 

 

But what are you gonna do?  It's something they wanted and they were able to enjoy it for a bit.  I imagine if she could go back and have a redo, she wouldn't change a thing.

 

 

 

 

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