Many parents and retirees will one day face the dilemma of what to do with the family home once their children have grown and left the nest. Often parents are left with a home and section that caters to a larger family lifestyle than what they now require. It must eventually be weighed up if the family home should be put up for sale to allow for the purchase of a smaller, lower maintenance abode more suitable for a relaxed retirement, or if, in some cases, the family home can be updated to accommodate a smaller scale of living. If the decision to sell seems more practical, as it does for many and most empty-nesters, there are some keys aspects you should consider to future-proof your home for its eventual sale. 

Dealing with clutter

Clutter is something to combat early. When your children fly the nest, get them to take as much of their sporting equipment, hordes of clothing and general knick-knacks with them as possible. Utilise the existing storage in your family home and try to avoid turning the spare bedrooms into storage rooms. When you sell your property, you want to showcase the inviting family home that it is. You will also want to minimise the amount of clutter you need to pack and sort through when the time comes to relocate. 

Practical versus personal design

If you are going to sell, it pays not to indulge those wild design fantasies you’ve had of a room with three different feature walls in various patterns and colours. Over-personalising a space can be off-putting for buyers who are trying to envision a home they can make their own. Therefore, if some rooms require a touch up of paint or wallpaper to make them more presentable, opt for simple as opposed to strong colour and design choices.

Change old or damaged appliances for energy efficient alternatives

Energy efficiency is a hot topic and a valid area of concern for buyers. Heating, cooling and ventilation systems that are old and outdated can end up costing a fortune in power if they don’t run efficiently. It’s a good idea to remove or replace old and ineffective appliances with smart systems such as heat pumps and HRV. Not only are these attractive features for prospective buyers, its equally beneficial in long-term savings should you choose to permanently reside in the family home.  

Remediate issues and get outstanding consents

If you have a problem area in your house that doesn’t require a large scale renovation to fix, it’s a good idea to remediate the issue before going to market, so that it can’t be used in the buyers favour to lessen the value of the property. For example if the bathroom is original from an older home, and there are some damaged tiles and a leaky tap, it works in your favour to do a basic revamp and make the home move-in ready. With that said, you don’t want to be over-capitalising with a full upgrade featuring all the bells and whistles of your dream bathroom, only to sell it on for someone else to enjoy. 

If there are outstanding consents on things such as additions, fences/walls, sheds, decks etc, it is important to obtain consent or a certificate of acceptance before hitting the market.  

Do you have the option of making your family home suitable for retirement? 

Depending on your property you may find that you can adapt your empty nest to be a suitable retirement abode. Perhaps this is an area of unkempt garden that you could pave and turn in to extra parking for the motorhome? Or maybe there is an area of your home you could isolate completely for short or long term letting. In addition to changing out old and inefficient heating and ventilation systems for ones that are more economical, the other main areas to focus on for down-scaling your family-sized lifestyle are reducing maintenance and using storage space effectively.