We gotta get out of this place
If it’s the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
’cause girl, there’s a better life for me and you ~ The Animals
Making the decision to move out of the suburbs is the next step for Baby Boomers.
Here are some tips and thoughts to get you started on your journey.
Leaving ‘the burbs’
These days, Boomers are humming that tune as they plan to downsize now that the kids are grown up and suburban life is getting a tad boring.
It is time to have fun again. And shake up that stogy suburban lifestyle!
My recent Boomer clients have:
- … bought a home in St. Michaels on the Chesapeake Bay
- …rented an apartment in Crystal City next to the Metro
- …bought a condo in DC
- …moved to a small town in North Carolina
- …rented a two bedroom place in the Mosaic District.
No 55+ Communities for these folks!
Yes, I’m a Boomer too
I was born in the early 1960’s and am, officially, in the late half of the Baby Boomer generation. As the youngest child in the family, I experienced the Capitol Records mono version of The Beatles listening to German versions of some songs. James Taylor, Graham Nash and Carole King played in our house. The summer The Stones released Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! , the record was cranked up when Mom and Dad weren’t around.
Yes, we had the Beach Boys, America, CSNY, and then one afternoon the tone changed when my big brother put Deep Purple on my sister’s turntable.
I was there watching my sister’s high school class of ’73 graduate. Although a distant memory, it seems like yesterday.
Quick tips for Boomers starting a plan to sell their home
- Deferred maintenance
- Light Fixtures
Every week I see a home with “deferred maintenance”. Most issues really aren’t hard to fix but have been overlooked for a decade.
I know that it has been like that for years without any issues.
But today’s home buyers pick up on these maintenance items, cling to them really, and will discount your home’s value thinking most repairs will cost 3-times the actual cost.
Painting delivers the biggest impact at the least expense. It is easy to make a 1960’s or 1970’s vintage home look better with a contemporary color. Switching hats from being an owner to being a seller may give you a new vision on some of your current color choices. Look at these paint options for 2017.
Floors can be updated quickly. Replacing carpet will make a room look bigger. Hardwood floors too can be transformed to almost new looking condition for a big return.
Old light fixtures can often present a room poorly. Brass fixtures should be swapped out.
The list is longer but I’m sure you get the idea.
Think like a buyer… not a seller.
If the home has been your personal residence for two of the previous five years, then you will be able to take your capital gain free from tax. The limits are $250,000 for individual tax filers and $500,000 for joint filers who didn’t buy the property through a 1031 tax-free exchange.
House Rich, Cash Poor
Many Baby Boomers have significant equity in their homes, and selling their home may provide a retirement nest egg. This is often the case in the Vienna real estate market these days where values are at or above 2008 valuations.
Last year one client sold his old family home and moved, for the first time in his life, to a brand new apartment where he has much more freedom to get out. No more stairs, and no more repairs.
Plus some money for a cruise.
When you sell your house any existing mortgage or home equity line gets paid off. Eliminating this debt can also be a free spirit again. The remaining amount should be used appropriately like a conservative investment portfolio. Don’t blow it all because, chances are, you are going to live another 30 years!
A common theme that I hear from Boomer clients is that the upkeep on the old home was out of control. For example, moving to an apartment near the Metro allowed for one couple to sell one of their cars, and forget about the hassle of fixing appliances and maintaining the yard.
Having fun needs to remain a priority. One retired client told me how they would head East from their place Naples to visit friends in Vero Beach… for a long weekend. Sounds like Don’t Stop the Carnival to me!
One goal should be to adjust your lifestyle a little moving where your living expenses are lower.
Planning and taking the Next Step
- Most clients start by reading How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell in 30 Days which I wrote a few years ago after meeting with some clients who had lived in their Vienna home for twenty-five years.
- The painter who I use is a trade secret so you’ll have to hire me to get his name. I have used a few painters over the years and he has been the best with clients face to face and quality of workmanship. So, I treat him like gold.
- When we first meet, I go through your home like a buyer would. Looking at everything.
- The 30% list… I’ll cover that one in person.
- Thinking about where you will move… even temporarily.
It’s time to get out of this place, so let’s start talking about your plans.