Defining the perfect empty nesters next homeI knew that if I put my “empty nester dream home” description out on the Internet, someone would write to me and tell me…IT EXISTS!  So, that’s exactly my intention in writing this piece…

For the last five years, my husband and I have looked for a place in the Boston area that will work for us. He has tried really hard to suggest places, but the high-rise buildings seem to lack personality, the condos we’ve seen are not in walking distance to restaurants and services – and there never seems to be enough light in any of the units.

I am determined to find a great place to move into in the next six months –and I believe we can figure this out, but perhaps I need to be a tad more specific about the features we are looking for?

I am betting that my list may align quite nicely with many empty nesters and if my hypothesis is correct – we may have a business opportunity on our hands.  I mean Baby Boomers are empty nesting in droves, and where are the hungry builders scrambling to meet our new housing needs?

Some background: we do not have a huge house that we need to downsize from but it’s not right for this next phase we are now in. We have spent some time looking around and have come up short. Following is a list that may clarify our search and hopefully land us in some new digs that are just right.

Non-Negotiable Features:

1. Easy Living: Our next home will not require us to deal with the gardener, the roof guy nor the snow removal.  At risk of sounding spoiled or lazy, we want to simplify our time spent on home fix-up. As mid-lifers in a second marriage, my husband and I want easy, easy living – no starter project homes for us. “Easy Living” however is not a searchable term and therefore I have had to drill down into the details and be more specific. Here we go:

2. Neighborhood/Community is key: My husband doesn’t rate this quite as highly as I do but I want to be able to enjoy my neighbors. He goes to his office each day, I work at home so this matters more to me. And, since we aren’t raising kids right now, the easy natural connections we make in mid-life are more challenging. Feeling like we are in a “like-minded” community should help.

3. Access to Culture: Walking distance to Restaurants, and even Movies or Lectures would be amazing.  This is where Location, Location, Location comes in. We know there are neighborhoods which offer this feature and these are of course the more pricey ones.

4. Natural Light: I would rate natural light as highest on my list of most important structural features. I am not into vertical, narrow living space.  Isn’t there a glass box out there we could live in? Light is the ultimate mood enhancer and in Boston, come winter, it’s a non-negotiable necessity.

5. Outdoor Living space: A deck or patio would be ideal – we are doggy people and as our pup is under 15 pounds, we’re thinking this should not be an issue – but a little outdoor space for her and for us is a requirement as well.

6. Two Bedrooms: My office is usually wherever there is a table, be it the kitchen, dining room or living room…so as far as a second bedroom, well….We want our kids to visit for a little bit (but not too long) and thus a modest-sized guest room is just fine.

7. Parking:  Not open for discussion –- we have two cars and we have to park them!

8, Price: Here’s the clincher. If we were to fill every one of the above seven requirements – if the ideal living space were to be available – what would it cost us?  Well, we haven’t seen it yet, and if we do…we will perhaps begin to modify our non-negotiable needs.

I’m thinking this piece makes a great blueprint for the perfect “next home criteria” for empty nesters. How many of you readers agree with these requirements and, what suggestions do you have to improve on this list?




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