Some parents may fantasize about transforming their children’s playroom into a home office or repurposing their teenager’s basement bedroom into an exercise area once all the kids move out of the house. Others might be considering downsizing not long after their last fledging leaves the nest.

Cutting costs

That strategy can make a lot of sense if moving means a lower rent or monthly mortgage payment. Relocating into a more modest space might reduce other expenses — including utilities, property taxes, homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, and homeowners’ insurance. For instance, a smaller home might lead to lower utility bills and fewer maintenance costs when it comes to making repairs or keeping the landscaping looking good. Consolidating home spending into a HOA fee for a condo where someone else takes care of repairs and lawn work could also save cash.  Reducing the costs associated with home ownership soon after the kids move out can definitely make financial sense if you are trying to help them cover college or if you want to pay down debt or bulk up your retirement savings.

 Considering Renovation ROI

If you’re considering downsizing sooner rather than later, here are some moves you can make to help your home sell faster and possibly bring in a better price when it does.

  • Replace your garage door: In Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report, the national average cost for replacing a garage door was $3,470. It placed highest in the publication’s annual list of 21 popular home improvement projects in terms of how much it returned in resale value, offering a 98.3 percent return on investment.
  • Replace the lower third of the street-facing vinyl siding on your home with an adhered manufactured stone veneer: Nationally, this face-lift cost homeowners $8,221 and brought in a return on investment of 97.1 percent, according to the magazine.
  • Insulate the attic: Homes lose the greatest amount of heat through their roofs, according to com. And, not only will this easy and affordable renovation reap rewards when it comes time to sell, it will reduce your utility costs for as long as you are still paying the bills.
  • Organize and declutter your house: Ditch or donate things you no longer use or need. Before you put your home on the market, pack away and store things you don’t use regularly to maximize the feeling of roominess throughout your home. That includes the areas in your closets, cabinets, and other storage spaces, so encourage your kids to take their things with them when they leave the nest.
  • Give everything a coat of paint: There’s nothing like a new layer of paint to make everything feel fresh. If you are planning to list your home soon, take the opportunity to repaint the kids’ rooms that may have been done in purple, black or favorite college colors. Opt for neutral hues that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers.

Research renovations locally

If you are considering taking on a remodeling project or two before putting your house on the market, you may want to consult a local expert to see what renovations buyers are looking for in your area. Real estate agents in your area will also be able to offer advice on the best time to list your home and how to set a selling price that’s in a sweet spot to maximize your returns without leaving your house to languish on the market.

So, if you plan to follow the kids out the door when they move away from home, research renovations that might make your home sell faster and at a great price. Hack homeownership costs by culling savings from expenses including utilities, taxes and insurance to turn your empty nest into a nest egg.


Seth Murphy