Monday, August 15, 2011

If You Can't Sell That Empty Nest, Repurpose It

A bedroom in an AIMCO apartment homeImage via WikipediaI think a lot about retirement. I have been working full time in the construction business since I graduated college and I look enthusiastically toward retirement. It's still 10 to 15 years away but it's often on my mind. One part of my retirement plan is to downsize on my home. We have a fairly large home because we were raising six kids, now 3 are in college and 2 are on their own. I like the home, I like the space, and the neighborhood. But eventually we will sell just to save the money. Moving to a condo or an apartment rental isn't for me, I would like a small 3 bedroom 2 bath home, something easy to take care. If I sold my home the equity I have would be enough to pay cash on a smaller home.

I believe most people have the same goals as I do. But in todays housing market prices have dropped so low it may pay to wait. In my area the real estate market is terrible. Not many homes are for sale. When I drive through my neighborhood, I would be lucky to see a hand full of for sale signs, people are just not selling now. My neighbor had a for sale sign out for 3 months and the only offers he got were investors looking to steal the home. It's definitely a bad time to sell.

Eventually, I believe prices of homes will begin to rise. It definitely will take years at the rate we are going. So what do people do till the home makes sense to sell?

Many innovative homeowners are reinventing their homes for comfort and to save money. It's going to be a waiting game so why not be a little more comfortable. When all our kids are gone we will have 3 empty bedrooms to repurpose. I can think of a few ideas to try out.

A Home Office. My home office today is in a room barely bigger than a closet. Taking one of the empty bedrooms redecorating with a coat of paint, a few new shelves, and a nice desk would be perfect for dad. It would be a great place to get some work done. Sorting the mail and managing the home finances, or even a hobby or craft. There could be a nice open work surface, generous storage spaces, comfortable seating and ample lighting. I could eliminate the clutter and chaos of a small shared space and create a dedicated office all in one room.

A Sewing or Hobby Room. If mom likes to sew,having a dedicated sewing room will allow you layout your projects in a comfortable place. You won't have to use the kitchen or dining room table anymore. Also this could be a crafts room for the hobbiest in the family. When the grandkids come over this could be a great room to make crafts in. All the hobby equipment could be in one room with a dedicated closet containing all the paraphernalia that goes with it.

A Great TV Room. This would be great for mom or dad to have a special place only for TV viewing. A rectangular room with a nice 42" LCD panel hanging on one wall with two comfortable recliners on the other. Of course satellite or cable hooked up. Watching a nice movie with some popcorn would make a great evening. It would be easy to decorate with a fresh coat of paint and minimum furniture.

The Ultimate Guest Bedroom. Your guests won't have to sleep on the couch anymore. The decorator of the family would have a field day decorating this room for comfort. Guest would be knocking down the door to stay over night here. This is where you can go over budget to make a show room with a comfortable bed with nice bedspread and tons of pillows. Lots of wall decorations, really go all out. You won't have the kids around to mess it up. Make it a fun room.

With all this re-purposing you may decide to never sell your home, it will be so comfortable. Many people as they get older lose a spouse or special someone. Even in my family I have a couple of Aunts who have decided to share expenses. One aunt sold her home and moved in with the other. They share the home expenses. They both are saving money and the bonus is they have each other for company. There are ways to make the home you are in now work for your situation.

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