Recently, Coldwell Banker Gundaker agent Carla Borgard helped a couple move out of their Town & Country house into a villa nearby. The couple had lived in their home for 42 years, but now in their early 70s, the upkeep and daily trek up and down the stairs to their basement tuck-under garage was too much. “I don’t know how they did it for this long,” Borgard says. “Their new villa was move-in ready with very little maintenance needed, and they’re very happy.”
Those clients represent a growing group of local retirees and baby boomers who are downsizing or relocating to meet their changing lifestyles. “People are moving out of their bigger homes where they raised their children and now looking for something smaller and less demanding,” explains Coldwell Banker Premier Group agent Kim Carney.
Specifically, buyers are looking to move out of their multiple-story homes and into houses with a main-floor master bedroom, Borgard says. “More and more people have hip and knee problems, so they want one-floor living.” In the central corridor area, where land is often at a premium, elevators are another option to navigate multiple levels.
For easier living, Carney says her clients seek out nice homes with as few fixes as possible. “They’re not looking for a project; they want something that’s completely renovated or new construction.”
While retirees and boomers may resist moving into a condo or villa, those types of properties may cater well to the buyer’s new lifestyle. Although condo fees can add up, the amenities and maintenance- free living are a fair trade-off, says Dielmann Sotheby’s International agent Coco Bloomfield.
People also can find options with smaller yards that balance the desire for outdoor space with a more manageable amount of landscaping or exterior work. Bloomfield has clients who have sought out condos in Clayton for their retirement living. “It’s a big draw to be in a walkable area by restaurants and shops,” she says. “A lot of people also are moving to the Central West End for that reason.”
While buyers may be ready to downsize, they do not want to give up too much space. Borgard has found that clients are interested in large main-floor closets that eliminate the need to lug items up from basement storage, as well as three-car garages for their extra ‘fun’ cars. In addition, Carney has helped retirees find homes with finished basements or extra bedrooms. “They want to have a separate area for when the kids and grandkids come to visit,” Carney notes.
Whether it’s condo living or a new, but smaller home, boomers are getting ready for a more comfortable life in retirement, Carney says. “People still want a nice, luxury place with all the bells and whistles that fits their changing needs, and they’re so much happier once they find it.”