Congratulations: you have just (or are about to have) exited your youngest from the nest, your sprawling suburban home has served your family well, and now, with years until retirement, you, the ultimate boomer, have the real dream home staring at you in your dreams — back to city living (DC or Bethesda or yes, even Kentlands or Crown), near the best restaurants, at the urban parks, blocks from transit, walking distance to your favorite places. As a licensed Realtor and experienced Empty Nester, I have high interest in helping you use your property to make this happen; I have found two articles highlighting steps to this dream home, and I am posting this new blog with the guidance of the Coursera and Northwestern University Social Media Marketing class and through my organization, The Faulkner Team at RE/MAX Metropolitan Realty.
The challenge is being ready. The first article points out the advantages of creating ultimate cash flexibility by paying down your mortgage. In Dave Ramsey’s article, “3 Easy Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage,” the best strategy is to have started early enough to have it paid off already (“easy”!!). But even if you haven’t, you can (now that those pesky tuition payments are done), refinance or make extra payments to remove that big financial obligation. To not miss the home of your dreams, it’s important that you get in the best cash position possible so that you can pounce on the opportunity that is right before you.
Photo courtesy of Skeeze, Creative Commons
Paying down your mortgage is probably the most important step in getting your next dream home, and as the panther points out, being ready to move when the opportunity hits requires knowledge of your dream residential market. Next up is the bid strategy on the home you seek. The second article is Deborah Kearns’ excellent piece last year in Nerdwallet, “6 Ways to Win a Bidding War in a Hot Market.” Don’t miss these important steps. From your preapproval letter, to escalation, to easy closing strategies, these are time-tested moves you can make to get the property you really want. And I can’t resist quoting her best line, “The best move you can make before writing any offers is to hire an experienced, professional, real estate agent.” You may know one already…but if not, I have a suggestion!
The gap in time between empty nesting and retirement is often lengthy and full of opportunity. Barring a strategy, there is the continued mortgage payoff or possibly a significant downsizing and then saving for retirement, and it’s easy to miss the fun of living in a vibrant urban setting. As these articles point out, being ready for your next dream home requires financial flexibility, knowledge of your market, and outstanding bidding strategies.
I have developed 3 action items from these articles to help you organize your best move.
- Pay Down —- Get rid of that mortgage so you can use the maximum financial leverage you have, so that you can purchase the most house for your money.
- Be Ready —- Knowing where you’d like to move, even down to the few streets that feel right for you, means studying the market, learning the price trends and being familiar with the builders and amenities you want to follow.
- Bid Up —- I don’t want you to overpay, but the reality is that city living usually involves restricted inventories, which means multiple offers, which means sometimes paying more than the asking price.
Start now to plan for your nest egg dream home. You’ve earned it, and with the right strategy and perhaps with a professional team, your dreams can come true.
Steve Longley is a licensed Realtor with The Faulkner Team at RE/MAX Metropolitan Realty in North Potomac, Maryland. He is licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and The Faulkner Team is licensed also in Virginia. His blog, MovinInDC is for people who want to live in the Greater Washington, DC area.