By Liz Witbeck
As people get older, homes they have lived in for so many years may start to seem too spacious for their need. There are maintenance issues and money issues involved with a larger place.
Downsizing is an option for many people, and there are many options available in the Capital Region.
“A lot of people are retiring here” said Joan Taub, a licensed associate real estate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Saratoga Springs. “This area offers so much. People aren’t fleeing New York like they used to. This area offers things for you intellectually and physically. You have the ability to stay right downtown living in a condo. You can walk everywhere. You’ll stay young living here.”
Meg Minehan, an associate broker with Roohan Realty in Saratoga Springs, said the area “is much more responsive now to the 50-and-older community. We couldn’t say that 10 or 15 years ago.”
“A good portion of my clients are baby boomers,” said Jane Sanzen, a licensed associate broker at Julie Co. Realty in Saratoga Springs. “Empty nesters are driving this growth. High-end, luxury living is a very attractive segment for this population.”
Properties available in this area range from $200,000 up to a $1 million, said Minehan, “So there is something for everybody,” she said. She said there are many active 50-year-olds living in the area and for them, being in Saratoga Springs is a good way to keep up with their active lifestyle.
For the person who enjoys living downtown, there are many condominium apartment buildings. People can walk to the lively downtown stores and restaurants along Broadway.
Taub said one of the biggest draws to condo living is the maintenance. Monthly condo fees cover maintenance, such as snow shoveling, lawn care and repairs. Owners do not have to stress about such things.
“The urban neighborhood life is an alluring lifestyle,” said Sanzen. “People are willing to exchange smaller space for a prime location and A-plus amenities. You are located in a vibrant downtown, right next to Congress Park. It has a neighborhood feel.”
People seeking more of a residential feel can look into townhouses. These provide more space than a condo, while still being part of a downsize. Yard space would be a possibility, if that was important. Townhomes allow a person to become a member of a homeowners association.
While moving may seem stressful, there are advantages and opportunities involved in finding a new, smaller home.
“There is less of a carbon footprint. There are less costs involved. There is less involved with a smaller place. The monthly maintenance is less,” said Minehan.
Sanzen said many people in the 50-and-older population are wanting to reduce their material possessions. “They want some more freedom. This gives you the ability to travel. You can visit children or grandchildren. All of these properties come with high-end amenities,” she said.
When should a person start thinking about downsizing their home?
“It’s an individual decision,” said Minehan. “We don’t have a crystal ball so we can know where we are going to be in the next 10 or 15 years.”
Still, it is advised that the sooner the planning is started, the better.
“It’s never too soon to start thinking about it. It’s a good idea to start thinking about it while you are still gainfully employed,” said Minehan.
“The market is hot right now. If people are thinking about buying, they should. It’s a great investment,” said Sanzen.
“Evaluate what is most important to you” said Taub. “Do you want to be close to family? Do you need to have everything all on one floor?” These are the types of questions to consider when thinking about properties.”
“It is never too soon to sit down with your family and talk about your plans,” said Minehan. “Talk about it together. Where do you see yourself? That way it won’t come as a surprise to them.”
“Get a great agent. It’s a free service” said Sanzen.
A real estate agent can help people explore the different possibilities and offerings, and help people decide what is most important in your real estate search.
Taub worked in law office management before transitioning to real estate. She has more than 12 years of experience.
Minehan has 33 years of experience. She is on the board of directors with the Greater Capital Region Associations of Realtors. She has also earned Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation in her field.
Prior to entering real estate, Sanzen worked at Skidmore College. Saratoga County