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Flying the Coop: Should Empty Nesters Hold onto their Homes or Move Away?

You’ve watched your kids grow up, from helping them take their first steps in your living room to waving goodbye as they head off to college. Technology makes it easier than ever to keep in contact, but you’ll still have to adjust to a quiet, emptier home. Joining the empty-nester club often feels like asking “now what?” It’s a bittersweet time, but also the perfect opportunity to step back and decide what’s next for your journey.

There are upsides to staying put in your current living situation, and there are certain benefits to moving out of your family home. Either way, CoverHound is here to help you find the best homeowners insurance for whichever option you choose. Keep reading to learn more!


Every situation is different, but empty nesters often find themselves left with more house than they would like to maintain. As you age, you may not want to be responsible for getting up on a ladder to clean out your gutters or vacuuming and dusting three levels week in and week out. Steep staircases can become a barrier to keeping your house up and accessing certain rooms over time.

As Freshome writes, many empty nesters choose to move to community-based living where at least some of the maintenance is covered. Whether that means a gated community, a condo, or a house within a HOA, it may be worthwhile to explore options that would free you up to have more of a social life and enjoy the amenities without being on the hook for extensive maintenance in the coming years.

Downsizing Costs

After your children take over the reins of their own lives, you can focus more on your finances and long-term goals. You may have to choose between holding onto your larger family home and aggressively pursuing your retirement, career, and travel goals.

CNBC outlines one empty nester story in which it was beneficial for a husband and wife to sell their 3,000-square foot, five-bedroom home and move into a nearby townhouse one third the size. Their reasoning? Besides the fact that they barely used most of the rooms in their old house, they allotted their monthly savings to help one of them pay for classes and licensure toward a career shift.

It’s worthwhile to consider how much you could save by downsizing. Moving to a smaller home in certain areas could actually drive your costs up over time! The Huffington Post cites a survey from the Urban Land Institute that shows that 72 percent of Baby Boomers say they’d rather live in a smaller house with a shorter commute than a larger home with a longer commute. Location is just as important as the size of your home, so consider it carefully when you debate downsizing.

Sentimental Value

You can’t put a price on a home that means so much to you and your family. It may be worth it to hang onto your house for a few more years so your kids—and even their kids—can come back and visit. If you do decide to stay, make sure you have a plan to maintain and safety-proof your house as you age.

Are you an empty nester who’s considering their next big move in life? Find the best homeowners insurance for your current and future needs with CoverHound.

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