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Old 11-01-2016, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,541 posts, read 17,525,434 times
Reputation: 27576

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I'm back in small town Tennessee and it's a different world than the affluent Indiana suburb I resided in. Back here with my parents generation, there seems to be a lot of priority placed on having a large home on a large lot, no matter how practical that actually is for the owners.

Over the last few months I've been back, I've noticed that most of these ~60 year old couples have way too much house! Many raised their kids in the homes they still live in, with many rooms of those large homes sitting mostly unused. They're still trying to care for these homes - often in failing health going into their 60s and those without failing health often carp on about wanting to downsize, but no serious effort is made to do it. These people are going to own far, far more house than they can reasonably take care of as they age, and many have been unwilling to consider downsizing so far!

Do you own too much house? Can you reasonably take care of what you have? If not, do you have plans to downsize? What are you downsizing from and to?
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:33 AM
 
8 posts, read 6,451 times
Reputation: 50
We went from 1300 sq ft to 800 sq ft. No lawn care. A larger garage was built. We also built a small cabin on the property and rented it for about 50% less than the going rate if they help us out a few hours a week.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:04 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,095 posts, read 3,455,118 times
Reputation: 10153
Went from a 3600 sq. ft. house to a 1200 sq. ft. house in retirement. Found it to be a tad too small, but we spent those first 5 years of retirement traveling appx. 50% of the time. When we had to relocate (to be near an ill parent), we bought an 1800 sq. ft. home and it suits us much better. Sorta like the Goldilocks story.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:14 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,472 posts, read 5,142,736 times
Reputation: 3528
We are moving down from 2800 sq ft to 1700 sq ft. Our retirement home has a smaller lot and is walkable to many amenities. However, our retirement home has extensive gardens and a Koi pond that we inherited in the purchase. Learning about caring for numerous varieties of plants as well as caring for the fish has created an opportunity for a new hobby.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:33 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,750 posts, read 54,390,602 times
Reputation: 31045
At 64/63 we still have 3,000 SF, 5 bedrooms, and will keep it since we need the room when family or friends visit from other states, such as coming up in a few weeks for Thanksgiving. I have a riding mower now for the lawn, but it's more for fun and saving time, I can still take care of repairs and maintenance without any problem. When we retire in 3-4 years we will downsize some, and move to a less expensive are, but still expect to have at least 2,000 SF and 4 BR, this time all on one level. Our biggest retirement issue would be the taxes on this place, $7,000/year is no problem now, but will be tight on our pensions.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,830 posts, read 4,944,472 times
Reputation: 17289
We're retired at 66. Although our house is too big (~4600 sq ft) we have kept it up to date with new windows, roof, deck, doors, kitchen appliances, etc.

Because this is our 4th house, it evolved as a result of our experiences in previous houses. It has many features that we discovered and liked from previous houses. When we look at smaller homes, they lack those features. Think about buying your first car with electric window lifts. That quickly becomes a baseline for subsequent cars.

That means we would likely not be satisfied unless we built a new smaller home. Unfortunately, new homes here cost nearly twice as much as existing homes. Also, they are located way out there. High cost and poor location makes that a bad deal for us.

So for now we'll stay put. The good news is we have plenty of space to do projects and to welcome friends who visit.

Bottom line: The amount of effort required to downsize far exceeds the benefit of downsizing. My guess is that many retirees feel the same. Most of my neighbors are in the same situation. None have moved so far.

Also, when the stock market returns nothing having a house that is still appreciating feels good.
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:18 AM
 
100 posts, read 65,251 times
Reputation: 377
Our place is too big, 2400 SF with a full basement. We don't use the basement anymore except for storage, a small home gym and a place for the grandkids to play. Sits on 2 acres so mowing takes some time. We are not planning on downsizing though since family is in the area and since we have built our own resort here. In-ground pool that we use a lot. Two years ago we built a pool house with a built-in grill and fireplace so we spend a lot of time out there.


So since we are staying here we are investing in new windows in a couple of weeks and I have a guy coming today to see about installing a solar electric system. With what's going on with coal-fired power plants, I don't want to worry about ever increasing power costs in retirement.
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:31 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA
20,419 posts, read 37,622,069 times
Reputation: 39049
2400 sq ft and we use every foot of it.
The three extra bedrooms will be full Thanksgiving and again at Christmas.
They are in use off and on all year round.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Over the last few months I've been back, I've noticed that most of these ~60 year old couples have way too much house! Many raised their kids in the homes they still live in
Well, that is totally their choice.
YOU thinking they have too much house does not matter a single bit.
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Central IL
15,200 posts, read 8,509,345 times
Reputation: 35575
It looks like many who want to keep the extra space (and bedrooms) anticipate lots of visitors.

Of course around the holidays that's expected....but other than a couple weeks at the end of the year, has anyone found they don't have nearly as much "company" ( or at least visitors that actually stay with them) as originally anticipated? In other words, was it more wishful thinking on your part that the kids and friends would visit or has it panned out to the degree expected?
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Idaho
1,451 posts, read 1,152,796 times
Reputation: 5472
We want to downsize from 3200 sq. ft home to ~ 1800 sq. ft but have had no luck of finding small to medium size newish homes with acreage in all the areas that we have considered (Vancouver WA, Olympic Pennisula, Boise/Nampa and currently Spokane/CDA).

All the nice newer existing homes have 4 or more bedrooms, 3 or more bathrooms, 3500 or more sq. ft.

Small newer homes meeting our criteria (2-3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1600-2400 sq. ft on minimum 1 A lot) do exist but for whatever reasons, they are located in small rural towns, too far from our key locations (an airport and a rowing club - this means near a medium or big size town/city).

We have thought of just buying a lot and have a house built to our criteria/needs. The problem is that it is difficult to find an attractive lot with mature trees and nice view.

We also prefer a single story home but it is cheaper for builder to build multi-stories houses.

We have been searching for about 2 years but don't have much hope in finding one fitting our criteria. We may end up having to buy a house bigger than what we need or want!
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