My kids are out of the house. Should I sell?


Q. My four kids are all out of the house, and I live alone in a five-bedroom house. It’s nice when they come back for holidays, but I don’t really need such a big place even though I think I can afford it. Should I sell?
— Retired now

A. Deciding to sell a home is a big decision.

For many people who have empty nests, selling a larger home is a financial decision.

But you said you can afford to keep it.

That’s great. There are other considerations, though.

You didn’t mention your health. But as we age, maintaining a larger home can be a challenge. Moving to a smaller place, or perhaps a townhouse where you’re not responsible for items like snow removal or landscaping could be an attractive option.

If you sold, where would you live? Home prices are expensive, though they’re perhaps starting to moderate. You may get an inflated sales price if you sell now, but you’d also pay a higher price to buy a different property.

Rent costs are also high these days, so that’s not necessarily a bargain.

Whether you buy a different property or you rent, you might end up with cash left over from selling your home. That would give you the opportunity to make investments, including ones that could produce income to help support your retirement.

Then there’s what you would be giving up beyond a larger home to enjoy with your family on the holidays.

It’s your lifestyle today.

Do you have a lot of friends in the area? Where are your medical professionals? Do you have a religious connection in town?

Moving could mean big changes for those parts of your life. We’d suggest you take your time and see how all the parts of your life would be affected, and consider meeting with a fee-only financial planner who can help you go through all the ramifications — both good and bad — of selling your home.

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This story was originally published in March 2024. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.