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Why Renovate an Emptying Nest

Many Boomers are now living in emptying “nests” and debating whether to move and “downsize” or to stay put and fix issues they have always wanted to change in their homes.

New beginnings for their children moving them out of the home provide new opportunities for them to reinvent the spaces around them. The home they have lived in for so long needs updating and possibly remodeling. There is possibly a “dream” space they long to create for themselves. Some would ask why renovate when you will be leaving the house in the next 5-7 years? This is a good question!

The key to successfully renovating for Boomers, I believe, is to limit the investment to areas that always increase home value.

If there are major issues with the home, and kitchen & bathroom materials are dated then a smart renovation will only add to the resale value later, and be an intelligent investment. Structural repairs & replacing worn out materials are the first place to start any update.

Changing market for resale

The market has changed, and houses are not selling like “hotcakes” with new government regulations in place …prices have adjusted downwards and inventory takes longer to sell. These realities make improvements to critical areas that increase the saleability of a home a good bet.

As more and more Boomers move to smaller homes there will be a lot of stock in the marketplace for the next number of years….which creates a buyers market. Desirable features built into the home will maximize your return on the money you spend on a smart remodeling project, and boost the possibility of a faster sale later. This also increases the number of interested potential buyers as many people do not want to renovate.

Best return on investment renovations

I am not suggesting spending large amounts of money on media rooms or exercise gyms as these makeovers will not increase your home’s value and therefore not be a good return on investment.

Kitchens & Bathrooms are the wisest place to upgrade if these are areas with problems. Realize that you will see a high return on your investment resolving them while creating and enjoying something you have dreamed of.

If you love cooking & entertaining a new kitchen or expanded living/dining area   would enrich your life and be a good choice for you. Updated kitchens are critical to increasing the desirability of a home for sale. Buyers, with children at home, are reluctant to go through the inconvenience and major upheaval of a kitchen renovation.                                                     

Older homes often have fewer bathrooms than newer designs. If you live in one and considering fixing or adding a bathroom for your convenience this is a great idea and could easily be the reason for a potential buyer later to choose your home over another older home. Very few people can visualize the potential for a house that needs work.

Treat yourself to relaxation at home by changing an average washroom into a “spa” bathroom which appeals to almost everyone (and especially women who are a major part of buying decisions).

In conversations with my clients (with a plan to sell in a few years) after completing renovations I am amazed at how many say they simply wish they had done it sooner. 

A Real Estate agent who specializes in work with Boomer homeowners tells me this also. She advises that when upgrading is needed to encourage a sale it is best to do it sooner rather than just before leaving as “it is a shame to complete a necessary makeover for someone else to enjoy.”  (In the 5-7 year time range prior to selling is best so it is still fresh when the house is put on the market)

In the end remodeling work will appeal to younger buyers who will buy Boomer’s homes as they have higher expectations of the convenience needed in their environment than the average Boomer had when selecting a home.

Renovating your empty nest before moving may be the best choice you can make.

This article was originally posted on A Home You Love Designs.

About Shelia Doris


Sheila Doris has been changing people’s lives through redesigning homes for 30+ years. Problem spaces are her specialty and the harder the challenge the more she loves working with it. It’s her belief that everyone deserves to have a home that is beautiful and makes their life easier, and so she also focuses her creativity on developing seminars & workshops for homeowners.

With an enthusiastic style, Sheila aims to inform and inspire with her workshops and articles on renovation, design, and decor. You can find free resources on her website, www.ahomeyoulovedesigns.com.

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