Tips for Relocating as an Empty-Nester

When children have moved out, parents sometimes experience grief and begin missing the days of ballet recitals and soccer tournaments—seeing all those empty bedrooms can be a reminder of days gone by. It also can be an impetus to begin thinking about moving to a smaller home.

Empty-nesters who relocate and downsize can save time by not having to clean and maintain a large home. They also can save money in energy costs and may enjoy a change of scenery or other amenities that come from relocating. Here are some tips for empty-nesters to consider when relocating.

You Don’t Have to Rush

Since you may not be relocating for a job or with a deadline, you can plan your move in stages. Stage I is preparation time when you research locations and downsize. Stage 2 could be your retirement. Stage 3 could be finding your new home and, depending upon its location, you may move some of your belongings first. Finally, stage 4 could be selling your old home.

Determine Your Next Destination

Many factors go into determining where to move. For example, if you like your town but just want a smaller place, you may choose to relocate within the same area. You also might decide to relocate near grandchildren, move to a particular climate, or start a new life in one of the top-rated cities for empty-nesters.


One of the challenges is downsizing. So start sifting through possessions early — perhaps a year or more before the move — but no later than three months before.

One way to approach downsizing is to let your children go through the home and take items that they would like for their own home. When considering whether to get rid of mementos, consider whether they still bring you joy or whether you’re just keeping them because you feel you should. Keeping a child’s second-grade drawing now may be less meaningful now that they’re 40.

Consider selling or donating large furniture that may not fit well in smaller spaces. For example, if your new living room is small, you may want to consider selling your large sofa and buying two smaller chairs.

Don’t Underestimate the Change

Moving is a significant change, especially for older people. It will take you out of your comfort zone. However, growth occurs outside the comfort zone.

If you’re married or partnered, moving also will provide ample opportunities for being with your partner. If you’ve spent decades raising your children and building careers, this time together can be an adjustment. It also is a time to rekindle and reinvent your relationship.

Consider a Home Equity Loan

If you need to ease the pressure between finding and moving into your new home and selling your old home, consider a home equity loan. While this lowers the amount you receive when your home actually closes, it can be worth it, especially if the time between finding your new home and selling your old one is relatively short.

Stay Organized

Relocating is a project. Use spreadsheets and lists to keep you on target. Go room by room and take inventory, indicating what you will save, donate, sell, or give away. Make a list of every moving task, assign it, and check it off when completed.

Moving On

Leaving a treasured family home and downsizing is a challenge. There are many tasks to take of in the process. We can help you move on! Contact us for a free estimate. We can get you to your new place with ease.


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