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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Boomers are coming, the Boomers are coming...

For years now we've been reading about the huge expected changes to everything, once the Baby Boomer generation starts retiring. The messages ranged from strident alarm - Who will fill all of those jobs? - to hope for a real estate spending boom - Boomers will be downsizing and buying up condos.

Several factors have worked to blunt the impact of the expected shift into retirement for Boomers. Many have discovered that, due to economic factors, they will have to continue working and delay their retirement plans. Some have retired and discovered that they can't sell their McMansions for what they hoped or in the time frame that they had planned. Others, in this area in particular, have retired and moved away, most heading south. The overall impact has been less than anticipated locally.

I am seeing some increase in activity from older buyers who are looking to downsize. Most that I've met still want a house vs. a condo; however, there is fair consistency in the features that they are looking for in a new home. Most want a ranch-style house, or at lease one with the master bedroom on the entry level (the same for the laundry). many who are looking in the Milford area would love to get a home that is close enough to town to allow them to walk downtown. Almost all of them want a move-in ready home, rather than one that needs any work (been there and done that and I'm too old to do it again is the standard reply to a fixer-upper). I have yet to get any older buyers who are specifically looking for a home that is wheelchair friendly or at least is designed and built to accommodate the needs of someone who might be mobility-challenged.

One of the hard things for many of these buyers to do is to downsize their possessions at the same time as they are downsizing their homes. It's amazing how much stuff we all collect over a lifetime and letting go of it is tough. Just getting rid of furniture that won't fit into small spaces can be a painful experience for some. There are whole lines of "apartment-sized" furniture that fit better is smaller spaces and that is usually the solution. I often recommend that people who are downsizing try to sell off some of their furniture to whomever buyers their old house - it obviously fits there and somehow you feel better that it is staying "home".

So, I'm out here in Milford, awaiting the Boomer stampede. We have a wonderful, walkable little place to live and I can show several homes that fit the "everything on one level" criteria to perspective buyers. We have houses and condos that are ready to move in and live. Even if you've not a Boomer, give me a call and I'll find you a new home in Milford.

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