Many baby boomers are compelled to downsize because of tight finances. But an affluent minority of retirees is now turning that tradition on its head: Instead of trading down, they're buying bigger, plusher and more amenity-rich houses.
Pincus never attempts to dissuade her clients from fulfilling their real estate ambitions. But she does encourage them to consider the trade-offs in time, energy and money involved in expanding the scope of their ownership.
Here are a few pointers for retirees intending to upsize:
Ask yourself how often your offspring would likely visit your big house.
If the vision of a "family mecca" appeals to you, Davis says to search for a property that's readily reachable by as many family members as possible.
Question whether a senior community would work well for family visits.
Maybe you would like to move to an age-restricted community. Yet you'd also like to see your progeny as often as possible. If so, you should give a second thought to your original plan.
"Your grandkids aren't going to find many fun things to do in a senior-oriented subdivision. Rather than moving to a senior community, pick a place with more recreational options for the kids," Davis says.
"Focus on the interests of both the young children and teenagers in your group," Early says.
Factor airport and road access into your thinking.
Do you hanker to retire to a faraway place with a better climate and still see the extended family often? If so, Davis says you'd be well advised to choose an area with good transportation access.
"If you move a long way away and yet want the kids to visit a lot, you'd better live close to highways or an excellent airport," he says.
Consider the importance of spare bedrooms.
Are you hoping for overnight visits? You'll want the right features to accommodate everyone.
"Look for a house with at least three bedrooms and, even more important, as many bathrooms as possible. ... If you have only one bathroom, you're bound to have bottlenecks," Davis says.
Also, he recommends looking for large common areas in upsized property.
Don't compromise your own comfort.
Davis says some people who plan to upsize can become so focused on their grandchildren that they forget their own needs. He advises them to keep their own goals front and center during the home selection process.
"Young people do fine in a house with lots of stairs. But stairs can become a real issue for people over 60, especially after health problems set in. That's why it's smart to choose a one-level house if possible," he says.
Caption: If your goal is to go big to create a "family mecca," keep in mind that it needs to be easy for family to get there.