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Boomers: Should you stay or should you go?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Preferred Realty

Is it time to Rightsize or Downsize?

Two of the biggest mistakes I see as a professional Real Estate Agent is People over the age of 50 either staying in their family home too long or when they do move, they downsize too small. 

Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled "Boomers bought up the big homes, and now they're not budging".  It's a very interesting article to read if you have access to WSJ. You can also find it on Instagram. 

Here are some key takeaways:

  • About 28% of all U.S. homes with three or more bedrooms are owned by people between the ages of 60 and 78 living by themselves or with another adult
  • Boomers own half of all of the $32 trillion in home equity in the U.S
  • Some are happy with their big houses. Others would like to downsize


Let's discuss the reasons for staying in your family home and for moving.

Reasons to Stay:

  • You want/need a large home to host your family and guest.
  • You're very healthy and enjoy housework and yard work.
  • Home maintenance isn't an issue and you have the funds for upkeep.
  • You're home most of the time and enjoy spending time at home.
  • Your home and community is set up to age in place.
  • It's the best location and you can't find an age in place friendly home nearby.
  • You want to pass the home on to your kids.

Reasons to move:

  • Decluttering, packing and moving will be more challenging as you age.
  • Housework and home maintenance can be costly and difficult.
  • A big home is a lot to keep up with when you're traveling.
  • You're heating and conditioning more space than you need.
  • There are usually better home layouts for empty nesters and retirees.
  • There may be community amenities that better suit your lifestyle.
  • You're tired of the weather.
  • You may want to live closer to your kids and grandkids.
  • You want to get a jump on an active lifestyle.

Some people downsize too quickly. If you're in a family home, you may have started out in smaller homes or even townhomes before you moved to where you're at now. Downsizing too quickly might mean being in a place you're not really happy with or upsizing as a correction. Think of Downsizing or rightsizing as going in the opposite direction except you get what you really want.

The term Rightsizing comes in to play when you find a house that meets your current needs. It may not be smaller and in some cases it is larger. It just fits your lifestyle better. It's just the right size!

What to consider when you downsize/rightsize:

  • Location - Is the new home near the family and friends you want to be close to?
  • Location - Is the new home near medical, doctors and emergency care facilities?
  • Location - Is the new home near retail and restaurants or in a quiet town?
  • Layout - Is the home laid out in a manner that best fits your lifestyle?
  • Aging in Place - Does the home have main floor living? Wide doorways? Curbless showers, etc?
  • Maintenance - How much maintenance is required and do you have someone who can maintain things such as your yard or the exterior of the house?
  • Storage - Is there enough storage? Some people are fine to declutter and get rid of dining room tables, nick nacks, kids things, and such. If that's not you, you'll need more storage and space.
  • Parking - Is there ample parking for you and for guest.
  • Amenities - How are you going to spend your retirement years? This may include golf, pickleball, tennis, swimming, quilting, shuffleboard, bridge, pottery, language clubs, dancing, hiking, biking, or other outlets. Make sure these are available in your community or neighborhood.
  • Travel - Are you close enough to an International airport?
  • Social Opportunities - Whether you're an extrovert or an introvert, having the option to socialize is very important and shouldn't be overlooked. 
  • Weather - Consider your favorite climate? Are you ok with shoveling snow or paying someone to get snow off your roof? Are you ok with heat and humidity? Are the number of sunny days per year important to you?
  • Costs - Most retirees are on a fixed income. When choosing a place to live, consider the cost to purchase the home as well as ongoing expenses. 

What you should also know:

  • The age at which People are moving into Independent Living is getting younger everyday.
  • You should at least determine what independent or assisted living you'd consider if living family isn't an option and get on the waitlist.
  • If you wait until you need a nursing home, it may be too late. Folks already in assisted living or at least on a waiting list get first priority.
  • Live-In In-home healthcare may be an option if you have the additional space.
  • Healthcare professionals are becoming more scarce


If you're someone considering whether its time to downsize or right size, let's chat.

We can discuss what's important to you, timing of a move, and possible solutions.

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Posted by

Raleigh Cary Apex Realtor Carla Freund Realty

Presented by:

Carla Freund of Ask Realtor Carla

Carla Freund Realty Team

Keller Williams Preferred Realty

By Carla Freund Realty Team

Original Home of "Market In A Minute" Real Estate Report for Raleigh Cary CH & Durham Triangle

Carolina Life Real Estate and Relocation


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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice. The Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews Blog, Keller Williams and Carla Freund does not guarantee or is any way responsible for its accuracy, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Entries on Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews represent the opinions and ideas of the author(s). Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews Blog does not express the views of Keller Williams, or those of the broker.


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Michael Elliott
Fathom Realty - Burlington Township, NJ
Burlington, New Jersey Residential Sales

Great post, Carla!!

May 20, 2024 12:24 PM
Carla Freund

Thanks so much Michael!

May 21, 2024 06:32 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Carla- Everyone is different when they hit the "rightsize" stage. Some people are happy not to have to worry about lawn care and keeping up the maintenance of a large home.   You've offered excellent things to consider. 

May 20, 2024 12:46 PM
Carla Freund

Very true. And some people enjoy lawn care. My husband is one of those people. 

May 21, 2024 06:32 AM
Kathy Streib

So is mine Carla Freund And he loves to tinker so would be bored in a condo...at least for now. 

May 24, 2024 07:52 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Thank you for posting both sides Carla Freund . At this point we are still in the "stay" column but the time to move is coming up quickly.


May 20, 2024 01:25 PM
Carla Freund

Bob, I'm sure you'll know. 

May 21, 2024 06:31 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good afternoon Carla. Great list of things to consider when the time comes. Two things come to mind. One, the right time to consider relocating and downsizing. Two, people not answering correctly.  A key point is the tendency to downsize too much. Enjoy your day.

May 20, 2024 01:44 PM
Carla Freund

Thank you Wayne. I've found it to be different for everyone. Have a wonderful week!

May 21, 2024 06:31 AM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello Carla Freund very valuable report for should boomers stay or should go.

May 20, 2024 01:54 PM
Carla Freund

Thanks John! I appreciate it. 

May 21, 2024 06:30 AM
Reputable Realty - Apple Valley, CA
...Marketing your home like no one else will.

Did anyone else have the song go off in their head?  https://youtu.be/xMaE6toi4mk?si=5vL8p_GIpnSZyK8q

May 20, 2024 02:05 PM
Carla Freund

I'm glad you caught that. I did think of that song when I wrote the title. 🤣

May 21, 2024 06:30 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm

Yes, I was the first to reply to Carla's post and I put a link in my answer as well KAREN SANCHEZ . Great minds!

May 21, 2024 07:33 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

The right time to move is when one is ready to move, haha.  I plan to keep my home until I die.

May 21, 2024 04:51 AM
Carla Freund

There you go. My MIL was on the waitlist for independent/assisted living. She was never ready and lived in her home until she had a stroke right before her 90th birthday. She was a very healthy person.

May 21, 2024 06:29 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes indeed, there may come a time when it makes sense to rightsize. That time will be different for everyone!

May 21, 2024 04:53 AM
Carla Freund

That's right Kat. It is different for everyone. Boomers and Gen X are hard workers and very smart. They know what they want and when the time is right.

May 21, 2024 06:27 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Excellent post, Carla. I downsized, oops right-sized 18 years ago, when we sold our 6,000 sf home and built a 3,300 sf home with 5 bedrooms/4 bathrooms + bonus room. People keep asking us when we will downsize and I keep saying I already did! Even at the age of 75 I don't want to live around old people.

May 21, 2024 05:26 AM
Carla Freund

Exactly, not everyone wants an over 55 community. We have minds of our own and don't want to be put in a box. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for an over 55 community if it works for the client. I actually have several empty nesters and retirees who want land and are building their dream home. They've worked hard all their lives and want what they want! I say, Good for them!

May 21, 2024 06:27 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Carla, these are excellent questions to ask to decide whether to stay in your current home, or move.

May 21, 2024 06:55 AM
Carla Freund

Thanks so much Joan! Have a wonderful week!

May 21, 2024 07:03 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is great information to share with seniors.

Dolores and I are among those who should downsize or rightsize.

May 21, 2024 08:20 AM
Carla Freund

My clients often feel it lifts a burden when they rightsize/downsize.

May 24, 2024 06:41 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Downsizing sooner than when bad health hits is a factor. Fantastic information that people can use when making these decisions!

May 21, 2024 05:53 PM
Carla Freund

Thanks Wanda, yes, downsizing before it is time is best. You can enjoy your daily life longer.

May 24, 2024 06:40 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Carla Freund  we follow each other and for some reason I missed this great post and too bad I do not see a Feature star with it... I guess the Feature Ferries missed it too, Endre

May 22, 2024 11:41 PM
Carla Freund

Thank you Endre! I appreciate that. 

May 24, 2024 06:39 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

May 25, 2024 06:51 PM
Carla Freund

Thanks so much Kathy Streib. I truly appreciate it. Have a wonderful week!

May 29, 2024 09:50 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
May 26, 2024 03:33 AM
Carla Freund

Thanks so much. You as well Richard!

May 29, 2024 09:50 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Carla,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post, as I missed it. Well done my friend. I agree, as I see people over the age of 50 either staying in their family home too long or when they do move, they downsize too small. I'm working with clients now that are 85 and 80 and they are in a 4,300 SF home, with a pool on an acre lot in a gated community. It is now time to smart size into something more manageable as the 85 year old husband is starting to have health issues and he wants to know his wife is in a smaller place without a pool that she can manage. Its going to be a challenge and they wish they had smart sized a few years ago.

May 26, 2024 08:04 AM
Carla Freund

It is a lot of work for a young couple. It's good to think about it before you get to a point where it's difficult.

May 29, 2024 09:49 AM
Melanie Bocock
M Bee Creative - Naples, FL
Marketing creative in Naples, FL

My parents built their home in 1986 and stayed until they passed.  My dad had Alzheimers, and I firmly believe staying in that home gave him a bit more cognitive reserve from being there so many years.  Kathy Streib thanks for featuring this post.

May 27, 2024 06:06 AM
Carla Freund

Melanie, yes I can certainly see how that would benefit someone with Alzheimers!

May 29, 2024 09:48 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Many are in a McMansion and just don’tneed all that square footage and ongoing upkeep ….

May 27, 2024 05:26 PM
Carla Freund

So true Michael! It's a lot of upkeep and time. 

May 29, 2024 09:48 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Carla:

There is lots of great advice in your post, and some important issues for boomers to consider about the pros and cons of staying in the current home versus moving to something else. These are not issues to be taken lightly and need careful consideration, including the financial aspects of it all.


May 27, 2024 07:38 PM
Carla Freund

Thanks Jeff! Hope you're having a great week!

May 29, 2024 09:47 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The time has not yet come for this "boomer" to downsize. Life unfolds. Who knows what the future may bring. 

Meanwhile, you have provided some great advice for those who are contemplating making the move, Carla Freund.

May 29, 2024 07:44 AM
Carla Freund

It's different for everyone John Juarez. You'll know when it's time.

May 29, 2024 09:47 AM