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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Guthrie

The Housing Market is Hot! What to Consider for Empty Nesters To Upgrade or Sell

Being Empty Nesters, most of our leisure time is spent with family, vacationing, public service, or working towards our retirement goals. Investing in our future retirement and where that may land us has lead to many discussions about what to do with our home. While we’ve lived in our house since 2009, we began upgrading it almost immediately and we’re still making changes. While some may consider this slow, we’re not handy so we need to hire most work done and we’re not rich so the financial investment needs to be smart and fit within our means without a huge loan and interest.

Given the current housing market and hot home sales have been, we’ve had some pretty serious discussions about what to do with our home; keep upgrading or sell? Ultimately we decided to remain in our home and here’s why.

Our house was built in 1984 so we’ve had many home improvement projects from the aesthetics of ripping off wall paper and putting in quartz countertops before HGTV started doing it; to having to spend money on the dreaded functional elements of the home like a new air conditioning unit and roof. All necessary maintenance decisions and some cosmetic for the comfort of living in the home but not at the cost of resale.

We also know the limits of what we can do and what we need to hire professionals for which is most everything. While our sons were able to gut our kitchen for us that revealed mold under our tiled counter, once the soffits were out and everything gone, we had to hire a contracted to do the rest of the work. Our kitchen has actually been a longer process then we ever thought but in the end, it’s our home and we’re very happy with it as is the centerpiece of the home and we’ve had hundreds of happy family memories here.

With the market being so hot right now, we have been very tempted into considering selling our home. When heavy rains came in June and caused some roof damage, the thought of fixing it up and selling to not have the hassles of home ownership was even more tempting. But as we discussed the pros and cons of selling and becoming renters, the cost of not being home owners was higher and not worth us leaving our home and neighborhood we love.

I was surprised to learn our most recent landscaping project to include a bee pollinator garden is a bigger investment in resale then I thought. While we did it because our front landscaping had become overgrown and too inviting to deer and rabbits, we didn’t realize it would have such a return on investment. It was one of three projects we moved forward with after deciding to stay in our home and not sell.

While a young bee pollinator garden, it will fill out and pan out according to Homelight Data:

“2019 HomeLight data… buyer first impressions is crucial: 76% of agents agreed that curb appeal is the no. 1 project you should complete to improve your home’s marketability, and over 94% believe curb appeal will even boost your home’s value.”

It boosts the value of our smiles when we return from work every night. I can tell you that!

Some of the first improvements we made when we first moved in were a new roof, landscaping to remove rotted trees and more environmentally friendly, and mechanical type items.

Then we started focusing on some internal cosmetics and an entire kitchen overhaul.

All of which, according to HOMELIGHT increase the value of the home.

Our driveway was also a major project which probably has less resale value but another necessary replacement as our asphalt driveway and brick sidewalk was crumbling apart. We had to decide on fixing what was there on a regular basis or a more long term no maintenance permanent fix. We chose the later and this is ultimately part of curb appeal and that first impression. I know it’s made an impression on us.

When we contemplated moving during the hot 2021 market, we ultimately decided that this was our home, we love our neighborhood and community and we wanted to stay. After all, home is where the heart is and even though we love traveling, our heart is home. Once we made that decision, big ticket items came back up for discussion which we’ve wanted to do since we bought the home but knew it would be expensive; replacing windows and our front door.

We have a lot of windows and they’re huge so this was a big decision. Making this type of investment meant we were staying put and we can’t wait to see energy savings going from single pane 1984 windows to energy Star windows. Our front door has also been leaking air for years and we’re looking forward to an insulated new steel door that’ll bring light and savings into the home. While my brother and I joke about how much money homes cost, it truly is an investment in your family and your community. Knowing where to make this in your home is a personal choice but also a solid investment you will want to see a return.

We feel comfortable with our investments and love the decisions we’ve made for our home. Some, not as returnable as others but all of them will have resale value when we do decide to sell. Right now, we still have lots more family gatherings at our home and weekends with the grandkids so we know not selling is our best investment.

If you are debating home improvements, consider this article first before you do:

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