CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Harmony Stern learned a lot about empty-nesters in transition while working as a head sales manager at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton in Westchester. She puts it to good use today when working with homeowners reviewing downsizing options as a Realtor with William Raveis Real Estate in Chappaqua.
Many empty-nesters no longer want the costs of a large home, high taxes for schools their children no longer attend, and the maintenance to keep up the property, says Stern. “When there is no longer a need to live close to New York City, they can live somewhere else that would cost a lot less.”
Here are suggestions she offers empty-nesters in transition:
- Empty-nesters should create a plan that prepares them emotionally for the future. Homeowners looking to sell their homes can take their memories with them and say hello to a whole new world that better suits their needs and budget, says Stern.
- Take the time to explore and discover new areas. Over the past few years, communities have sprouted in Westchester and Putnam Counties, New Jersey and Connecticut that offer smaller, more affordable homes without sacrificing elegance and comfort, she says.
- Consider a change of scenery, whether it be an urban or village setting, based on their desire to try something different. “There is a joy of discovery that is very liberating,” she says. “You have the freedom to explore.”
- Finally, Stern recommends empty-nesters de-clutter, prepare and stage their homes for sale. The biggest challenge facing empty-nesters as they consider a move is the sorting of all the things that have accumulated through the years, Stern says.
“The hardest part is to look at the house as a potential buyer and not a homeowner,” she says. “The purpose is to create the illusion of space.”
Stern says that using boxes designated for things being saved, given away or thrown out will improve the “editing” process. Family members, friends and even Realtors can assist in the process, she says, adding that a home should not go on the market until the staging process is complete.
A lifestyle change in a new location can keep empty-nesters young, Stern says, but she stresses that the most important step is to make a plan before getting started.
“Get up and go while you can,” she says. “Choose to change before change chooses you.”
For more information, call Harmony Stern at 914-462-2615 or visit her website.