‘Nobody makes a lot of effort to visit’: Should we sell our $2 million house in the Adirondacks and get closer to our son? We say yes. Our friends say no.
By Aarthi Swaminathan
“Even though everyone moans when I offer to sell, I’m sure my son will sell it when we’re gone”
Dear big move,
We are a retired couple in their 70s, living on a beautiful lake in the Adirondacks. We own a large house and have been advised that we could sell it for around $2 million.
We love it here, but we’re tired. The upkeep and the work of trying to keep the house in place wears us out. And we are concerned about what the future holds.
Our only son lives in Connecticut with our two grandchildren, and we think we could move there.
But the traffic situation scares us a bit. And even though we could spend time with the family, the children are going to college soon and our son has a very demanding and very powerful job that takes up a lot of his time. He also has a social life. We don’t want to interfere and become an obligation to anyone.
We still have friends who are alive and doubt we’re selling, but they live in places we don’t want to be.
So we’re confused: Should we stay in the Adirondacks until we physically can’t and then sell the house?
Nobody makes much effort to visit. And even though everyone grumbles when I offer to sell, I’m sure my son will sell it when we’re gone.
Money is not a problem, but getting reliable help can be a challenge. Ideas?
Signed, Alone in the Adirondacks
“The Big Move” is a MarketWatch column examining the ins and outs of real estate, from navigating the hunt for a new home to applying for a mortgage.
Do you have a question about buying or selling a home? Do you want to know where your next move should be? Email Aarthi Swaminathan at [email protected]
First things first: I would say go ahead with the move, but at home.
There’s no point living in a giant house with no friends, no emergency help, and family so far away. Driving, traffic, all of that can be a pain, especially as you get older.
If you have your own home in Connecticut, you probably won’t be an “obligation” to your son.
So what to do with the upstate house? Here’s an idea, if you’re up for it: why not list your home on Airbnb (ABNB), or any other short-term rental site, and rent something smaller near your son’s house?
You’ll need “reliable help” to help you rent out your place on an Airbnb, as it takes a lot of effort to keep up – from managing guest check-in and handling inquiries of maintenance.
Your son seems busy, but if he’s willing to help and if you can find other ways to keep him running, like hiring someone to take care of the place while you’re away, then it looks like you you could just set up the house as a short-term rental and move to another rental house in Connecticut.
If maintaining a short-term rental is an issue, consider selling.
Since you said your son is likely to sell it – assuming you predecease him – why do you hold on to the property and live so far away from your son and grandchildren? Do they advise you to keep it longer so that you can sell it at a higher price?
If so, you have to weigh the weight of aging in a home that is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain against the quality of life you’ll get living close to family.
Also, your son intends to sell it anyway after you pass, you anticipate.
So I’d say go ahead, sell the house, downsize and get closer to your son.
A basic comparison of average home values on Zillow (Z) shows that you’re likely to find more value in Connecticut.
The typical home value in the Adirondacks is $612,500, Zillow says. The value of the houses where you live have increased by 31.4% over the past year.
Compare that to the typical value of a home in some of Connecticut’s major cities:
No matter what you do after selling the house, if you end up buying a smaller house, or even renting one out, you’ll likely make money from the sale. And you will have a better quality of life.
Of course, the market is difficult.
Home sellers are starting to struggle to attract buyers. They are offering more concessions and lowering list prices as buyers grapple with higher mortgage rates than before. They approach 6%.
But it is possible. The Adirondacks are a beautiful place, and I’m sure there will be enthusiastic buyers and even investors hoping to make it an Airbnb.
“Nobody makes a lot of effort to visit,” you say. Let’s change that.
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