Sunday, May 8, 2016

"A Person's Next Home, Whether New Or Existing, May Be Their Last One"

It's entirely possible that we, or someone we know, or someone we may eventually work with as an aging-in-place client, might be purchasing their last home. This is not meant to be a dire prediction because that age really has nothing to do with it. It just means that people are selecting their forever home. Sometimes, this is intentional, and sometimes it just happens. Nevertheless, it means that looking for another home to occupy after this one won't need to happen - regardless of how many years might transpire.


That forever home is one that has everything a person needs in terms of layout, number and size of bedrooms and bathroom, configuration of the kitchen, and the general space utilization of the other parts of the home. In cases where that home doesn't have all of the boxes checked right now as far as being the home they want to remain in as they grow older, it might be that the home has quite a bit already and that they are agreeable to making changes in that home so that it does serve them well through the coming years.

That home can be added onto, modified, reconfigured, or have rooms combined. It might not always need the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms - maybe more in the future, possibly less. Space to accommodate those changes can come from other areas in the home or through adding onto the floor plan. When there is a basement, unfinished attic, space over the garage, bonus room in the home, or a porch that can be enclosed as living space, those become viable possibilities for expanding or reconfiguring the living space for people.

Homes are very flexible. Initially they have four walls (or more if there are wings or bumpouts) and a roof. Over time, they can have more than those original four walls, and the roof can cover a larger space or an additional story. Subject to the setbacks of the building lot on which the home is located, an existing structure can be expanded to the extent of those limits. When those are reached, it can go vertical, subject to the prevailing zoning and building codes of the area.

The point is that as a nation we are not nearly as mobile as we have been since the last part of the 20th century, and we are returning to one where many of its people stays put. This isn't from necessity but from desire. It also doesn't mean that people don't move or that they don't form new households. People move for many personal reasons such as to be closer to their job or an activity they do frequently, to go to another city for employment, for new opportunities, to improve the likelihood of financial appreciation of their home, or to live in an amenitized community with golf, tennis, or other activities onsite.

On the other hand, people are looking for and finding homes that satisfy their needs long-term that they want to remain in. They realize that they have everything they need in their current home in terms of the basic layout, neighborhood, area conveniences, travel routes, and the like. Sure, they might make improvements and modifications to their homes over time, but the basic home doesn't need to change for them, and they don't need to consider moving from it.

This is what aging-in-place is all about, and this is why it's so exciting to be in this business.

____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.