Home Empty Home

It’s funny, the house we have lived in for the last 12 years always seemed to be just the right size. Enough space for everyone to go and hide if they wanted to, but not so large that we never bumped into each other. A place where we home schooled, hid Christmas presents, laughed, vacuumed, and enjoyed life. A home where the front yard was plenty big enough for touch football or ultimate Frisbee. A basketball hoop in the nice big driveway. A big basement where hide and go seek could be played and a bonus room added. A living room big enough to handle most family gatherings with some comfort. Now that we have resigned ourselves to the fact that it will soon enough be just the two of us most of the time, the “big” part in all these statements starts to plant the move seed. We are doing our best currently to keep the seed from growing.

Looking back on the home choices we made, we probably should not have stressed the big part in our last home. If we were currently sitting in a much smaller house where the lawn mowing opportunity was not the better part of a 2 hour walk, possibly talks of moving would be few and far between.

When you get close to the empty nest years, a few suggestions in the area of home ownership

  1. Bigger is not always better.
  2. Try to keep your front yard no bigger than a flop wedge.
  3. All brick is best.
  4. Trees usually have leaves which fall off in the fall. (Big Honey Locusts have more pods than Apple).
  5. Ranch equals step ladder. Extension is not part of the need.

If you do need to make a move, consider the following:

  1. Avoid watching House Hunters. The realtors are always quick to explain what can be changed at a minimal cost to get you what you think you want.
  2. Stay away from “Love or It or List It”. Somehow the buyer ends up in a home $100K over their budget and are so surprised that they like it more than their current home. Go figure.
  3. Stick to your budget.
  4. No fixer uppers.
  5. Focus on needs. A bathroom is a need. Four bedrooms are not.

So now what do we do? Some might suggest the condo route. No snow removal, cutting grass is a thing of the past. No more keeping the fingers crossed each summer in hopes that the old lawnmower will start for one more summer of cuttings. All kinds of good things as we ride off into the sunset years. But, and there always seems to be a but, after living in your own, well the bank’s, home for all of your married life, sharing walls and paying association fees does not seem an attractive alternative. As of now, I believe we have checked condos off the list.

I suppose the ever popular senior apartment living is an option. Can’t find many points supporting this concept, but they seem to pop up in the most unlikely locations with relative frequency so some of my fellow seniors must be choosing this route. I suppose concentrating a bunch of 55+ citizens in close quarters can have its advantages. Easier to find some pinochle buddies, easier to find the other half of a dynamite couples bowling team, easier to gather that ever popular McDonald’s coffee club, and probably even easier to find a little romance should you find yourself in that position. While all good things, the thought of long hallways, waiting for elevators, and listening to Lawrence Welk through the thin apartment walls from four separate directions does not seem a winning formula. Apartments are checked off the list as well.

Finally, the thought of a fairly small ranch with first floor laundry and a walkable yard seems to be the preferred long term formula. If a two story plops in the picture it will need to have the essentials on floor number one to be considered an option. For now I believe we have put the move thought on hold until at least the signs of Spring start to pop and we are not bumping into the holidays and the cold of winter.

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