How to Choose the Right Home As an Empty Nester

Empty nesters have a lot to consider when entering the home-buying market, including factors that go beyond location and square footage.

Individuals over the age of 60 also need to give careful consideration to things like ease of access and mobility.

A house that requires an older adult with physical issues to climb stairs to use the washer and dryer or the bathroom isn’t going to be the optimal choice. If you’re moving from a large home, you’ll probably need to downsize to something smaller and more manageable, which narrows your criteria down even further.

Start with a list of “must haves” and review them with your realtor so your search is as targeted as possible and so your transition is as seamless as possible.

Spare the Stairs

There are several home characteristics that can help you maintain a high quality of life minus stresses and obstacles that might necessitate hiring a helper or asking family to help ensure your well-being.

As you look to the future, remember, the fewer steps the better, so look for a single-floor layout with a no-step entry. Stairs are a frequent cause of falls among older adults, especially those who lose their balance carrying laundry or cleaning materials.

If you do end up selecting a home with stairs, make sure they’re carpeted or have rubber, non-slip treads and handrails on both sides. Bear in mind that all stairways should be well-lit and free of clutter.


Your new home should be easy to navigate with wide doorways and spacious hallways.

If you or your partner use a wheelchair, make sure that doorways are at least 32 inches wide and hallways a minimum of 36 inches across.

If you find a home you like that doesn’t quite meet those standards, consider renovating.

According to Home Advisor, the average price to hire a handyman in Denver ranges from $140 to $487 with a project timeline of one to two days.

Your bathtub or shower should have grab rails and rubber safety pads. If you decide to have a shower installed, make sure it’s a walk-in and that it includes a place to sit.

The average cost to install a shower surround or bathtub liner ranges from $2,542 to $6,042 and takes from two to three days.

Lots of Light

Good lighting is a very important feature. A house with shadowy corners and dim hallways poses a constant danger, making it difficult to see loose objects on the floor. 

Plentiful lighting, natural and otherwise, is also a mood-enhancing feature that can help stave off depression and boost your sense of well-being. So look for a home with skylights and large windows that keep the space bright, cheery, and easy to see in.

Minimize Costs, Maximize Space

Don’t forget that you’ll need to reduce the clutter in your home before moving to a smaller living environment.

Downsizing can be a difficult, emotional process as you consider which belongings to keep and which ones you’ll donate or throw away — so take the time to do it carefully and begin as soon as you’ve set a moving date.

If you live alone, ask a friend or family member to help you go through each room and decide what to do.

If you need help organizing your downsizing and your move, consider hiring a senior move manager, a professional with expertise in helping older adults right-size their lives and transition to a smaller home.

And don’t forget to research moving companies so that moving day goes as smoothly as possible. Movers are expert at packing and loading your belongings safely, and most are fully insured. Many companies specialize in helping senior citizens manage their move.

An Exciting Transition

Finding a home that better suits your needs and lifestyle is an exciting opportunity to transition to a new, more convenient mode of living.

Think ahead and carefully consider your current and future requirements.

Remember to emphasize accessibility and mobility as you view prospective homes, and consider storage space as you downsize your possessions. It can be a freeing experience!

Ready to build a custom home on a half-acre lot? Contact us to learn more and get started!