Stay Or Sell? How To Decide Whether To Move If You Have An Empty Nest

Many parents find themselves in a situation where they move from having a full house to an empty nest. As children grow up and forge their own paths, many people find themselves at a crossroads where they try to decide whether to stay put or sell up. If you’re thinking about relocating, or you’re considering a change of scenery, this guide should come in handy. 


The pros and cons of staying

Some people love their homes and the thought of moving doesn’t even cross their minds when their adult children fly the nest and move into their own houses or apartments. For others, a house can lose its shine or feel like a different space when there aren’t people scurrying around and filling the home with noise. If you’re toying with the idea of staying, here are some pros and cons to consider. 


Comfort and familiarity

Our homes are much more than bricks and mortar, and for many empty-nesters, they are places of comfort and familiarity that are packed with memories. If you feel comfortable, content, safe and secure in your home and you can afford to carry on living there, it makes sense to stay put. 



More space can be both an advantage and a disadvantage for homeowners who live alone or with their partners. Some people revel in having space to themselves after years of waiting for the bathroom or giving up living space to house toys, bikes and gadgets, but others feel that their house is now too big. If you are enjoying having extra space at home, there are myriad ways you can create a home that caters to your needs and preferences once your kids have moved out. You could use playrooms or home study areas for your hobbies, design adult-friendly living areas or even convert extra bedrooms into studios, home gyms or offices. 


If you feel like your home has become an empty shell, and you can’t seem to fill the space, you might be edging towards moving. Downsizing is very popular among empty-nesters. Considering small house plans can sometimes save money and it may also help homeowners who are used to having a hectic homelife adjust to a quieter, more sedate lifestyle. If you’re on the fence, it’s helpful to weigh up the pros and cons and to see what’s out there in terms of properties on the market. You may find that seeing smaller houses or moving to a new area excites you, or you might find that it confirms your desire to stay in your home for longer. 



Some people choose to move house after their children leave home because they want to explore different places or discover different styles of properties, but for others, the primary motivation is boosting their bank balance. If you don’t need a big house anymore, and you’d like to have a cushion for your retirement, selling and buying a house that is cheaper makes financial sense. If you’ve been struggling to make ends meet, or you’re worried about your retirement fund, it’s beneficial to ask agents to value your property and start looking at listings to see what kinds of properties you could afford to buy with a smaller budget. 


The upheaval of moving

For many people, moving is one of the most stressful life events. The prospect of packing a whole house full of stuff and relocating it from A to B can be daunting, especially if you have been in the same home for decades. Some people may decide that they don’t want to deal with the upheaval of moving. 


If you are open to the idea of relocating, there are several steps you can take to minimize stress and make the process easier. These include hiring a professional removals company, having a clear-out before you start packing, enlisting the help of neighbors, friends, and family to help you pack, and working through lists of jobs to do before you move, such as changing your address and settling utility bills. 


The pros and cons of selling

Buying and selling houses can be exhilarating, but there’s no doubt that it can also be a roller coaster ride. Sales fall through, it can be difficult to find a property that crosses every box, and you may find it hard to leave a home you’ve raised your kids in behind. If you are thinking about putting your home up for sale, here are some factors to consider. 


Improving your financial situation

Selling your home can often benefit you financially when you have an empty nest, particularly if you have owned a house for a long time or the market is strong and competitive. It is always wise to have your home valued even if you are erring towards staying put. Valuations can vary between agents so try and make sure you get at least three valuations for your property. It is essential to remember that the valuation is a reflection of the market value and does not necessarily mean that your home will sell for that figure. If the market is slow, there are lots of similar properties for sale in your area, or demand for housing is decreasing, you may find it hard to sell for the asking price. If you’re not in a hurry to move, it makes sense to wait for the market to strengthen and demand to rise before you put your house on the market. 


New adventures and experiences

Moving house often opens doors, and it can be an incredibly exciting prospect. Relocating enables you to discover and explore different towns, cities or states, but even if you only plan to move around the corner, a new house could make a huge difference to your lifestyle and quality of life. You may feel that you want to spend more time outdoors or devote more time to your hobbies once your kids have flown the nest or you’ve retired, for example. If your current home doesn’t work on a practical level anymore, looking for a new base could help you to enjoy new adventures and experiences. 


A different stage of life

Some people are very reluctant to say goodbye to a home they have shared with their children for years, but for others, moving marks the start of a new chapter and a different stage of life. Memories are held in our minds, and although it can be comforting to be in a familiar, special place, you won’t lose cherished memories if you decide to move. You shouldn’t feel like you have to stay in your home because you’ve been there for a long time. If you’re excited by the prospect of a new house or a different location, explore the options open to you and then make a decision.


Thinking about the future

Aging is an inevitable process. While many people enjoy good health into their 80s and 90s, others need additional help and support at home earlier in life. If you are trying to decide whether to stay or sell, it’s beneficial to think about the future. Could you adapt your current home to make it suitable for your senior years, or would a move enable you to enjoy your independence for longer? If you have a large house that requires a lot of upkeep, for example, the idea of a smaller home that is easy to look after may be appealing. 

Many parents find themselves at a crossroads when their children move away and are left with an empty nest. There are pros and cons of moving and staying put, and it’s always beneficial to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages before you decide what to do. 

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