What are the Baby Boomer generation going to do with that big house? Many of this generation are wondering that now that the kids are gone, why do they still have the 4 bedroom house? This is a common theme in America today as the housing market post-bust begins to take shape. Many 60 year old plus home owners are stuck with these huge homes often with huge maintenance costs and time obligations that Boomers just don’t want or need anymore. The kicker is that these types of homes have often taken the biggest slide in values of late and many Boomers (aka empty-nesters) are reluctant to take the equity hit selling.
Builders, architects and industry experts are taking note as most are seeing this trend towards downsizing to high quality, smaller houses. Often Boomers are finding it difficult to find a new home that fits this profile. Baby Boomers may need to start thinking a little harder and put more effort into finding and creating the home that fits their new found and possible future needs from scratch.
When a Boomer takes the plunge with a custom builder and an architect, they should study the concept considerations of ‘aging-in-place’ and ‘universal design’, that allows function and aesthetics to coexist. Aging in place is simply designing a home for your possible future needs such as mobility considerations. According to a study conducted by AARP, most people would like to be able to stay in their home well into their retirement. Therefore, if a wheel chair is needed in the future, your bathrooms, halls and doorways should be designed (widened) to accommodate this possibility. A main-level master would be an obvious necessity along with access to and from your home, without steps into your home or garage.
The National Association of Home Builders recognized this need long ago and offers courses for builders, architects and developers to learn about the challenges and thought processes to design for aging-in-place homes. Anyone thinking of this option should be sure to have your design and construction team certified in these areas.