Friday, December 1, 2023
HomeRetirementThe 50-12 months Residence - Retire Earlier than Dad

The 50-12 months Residence – Retire Earlier than Dad

My mother and father have been born and raised within the south hills of Pittsburgh. They attended the identical highschool however didn’t begin courting till 5 years after commencement once they have been in a marriage get together collectively. 

Dad was a highschool instructor on the opposite aspect of city. He wished a shorter commute, a giant yard, and a backyard. Within the Fall of 1972, they purchased a home north of town the place he could be simply 10 minutes from work. 

The Forties-built three-bedroom, two-bathroom home (2 1/2 when you rely the Pittsburgh potty) with a pure stone exterior had a three-tiered three-quarter acre yard, with a sunlit hillside for gardening and a flat and spacious “lower-40” grassy space that may change into a baseball diamond, seasonal badminton court docket, and sizable weekly mow. 

They raised a trend merchandiser, a cash blogger, a cat named Curtis, and a bunny named Betsy.

I lived in the home via highschool and briefly in my late 20s — solely about 20 of fifty years.

Final month, I had the privilege of serving to them transfer to a extra appropriate house.

Their 50-year keep is a lesson in post-retirement housing planning.

A Redfin Gem

I now stay within the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., the place properties and land are costly. 

Seeing my mum or dad’s house of fifty years listed on Redfin bolstered my appreciation for what an exquisite place it was to develop up.

The itemizing agent had skilled images taken, together with drone photos from the attitude of the 70-year-old white oak bushes overlooking the yard as much as the home. I’d by no means seen it like that earlier than. 

Having analyzed a whole lot of Redfin listings through the years, I believed the home was a lot extra spectacular taking a look at it from a purchaser’s perspective as a substitute of as an individual who grew up there.

A property like that doesn’t exist the place I stay. It will simply fetch $2 million or extra if it did. In Pittsburgh, it bought within the low $300,000s.

Lastly empty, it had monumental potential for the youthful homeowners. 

The neighborhood was at all times first-rate. I grew up with a number of youngsters round, and we walked to elementary faculty. We had epic sled driving hills and a quiet road for candy bike ramps.

On summer season nights, we performed Launch, a sport comparable to Seize the Flag or Kick the Can. A couple of dozen neighborhood yards made up the sport’s boundaries. No one scolded us as we hid below decks and ran via flower beds.

One of the crucial difficult facets of the transfer was leaving the individuals who made the neighborhood what it was. My mother and father have been comforted by attending to know the pleasant new consumers who appeared to suit proper in.


My mum or dad’s 50-year residency was a unprecedented accomplishment. In accordance with Redfin‘s evaluation of Census knowledge, the median home-owner tenure is about 12 years. 

Thirty-five p.c of 65+-year-old householders have been of their properties for 33 years or extra. There isn’t any knowledge for “home-owner kings” on the 50-year mark.
An AARP survey discovered that 77% of fifty+ adults choose to remain of their present properties for the long run. My mother and father achieved this for twenty years of retirement. 

However the home had vital points that weren’t fixable, together with:

  • Steep driveway, treacherous in rain and snow
  • No bed room on the principle stage
  • No lavatory on the principle stage
  • 12 steps up, 12 steps down
  • Laundry in basement
  • Large yard upkeep

My mother and father are comparatively wholesome and will deal with the steps, however they have been at all times one fall away from needing to maneuver. The driveway and stairs have been day by day hazards.

Yardwork grew to become too exhausting about 5 years in the past, and my Dad wasn’t comfy paying a service to assist after doing it his method for 45 years. 

Older properties have points. In his youth, my Dad dealt with practically each upkeep situation joyfully. He nonetheless had spare time to construct a screened-in deck, convert an outdated piano to a bookshelf, and assemble a precise reproduction doll home of the house.

However over the previous few years, the post-war home grew to become a burden. Simply being there was a continuing reminder of all of the deferred upkeep. 

When he would have second ideas about transferring, he’d go outdoors and have a look at the yard. 

By the point they lastly moved, packing was bodily taxing, which amplified the emotional toll of parsing via half a century of possessions. 

I didn’t really feel nostalgic or emotional concerning the transfer as a result of it was lengthy overdue. My mother and father are safer and a lot better off within the new place. 

Mother Would Have Made a Savvy Actual Property Investor

Mother left a payroll job downtown to change into an exemplary full-time suburban mom.

But additionally she labored numerous hustles and aspect gigs through the years. 

She was a secret shopper earlier than folks knew these existed. She arrange retailer shows for large film releases. And once I was in ninth grade, she grew to become a tour information for varsity teams visiting east coast cities and amusement points of interest. That gig lasted till about the identical time my Dad retired. 

My Mother realized the unsustainability of the home a number of years in the past and began in search of patio-style properties within the space. 

When she discovered an acceptable neighborhood with trendy and accessible properties for senior residing, she walked door-to-door and posted notes that mentioned, “I need to purchase your home. Please name me“.

Actual property buyers name this driving for {dollars} — a way to seek out good flip candidates and leases.

Somebody responded. Inside days, they have been negotiating a gross sales value and phrases.

In the end, the primary deal fell via. It was disappointing on the time. However this was in late-2019, simply earlier than the COVID-19 lockdowns, which might have difficult issues. 

After the pandemic state of affairs stabilized, my Mother was at it once more. This time, she requested a pal who lived in a neighborhood to e-mail the residents asking if anybody was contemplating transferring quickly. 

She obtained one other hit. The sellers have been keen to save cash by not itemizing the property with an agent, and so they closed amicably inside six weeks. 

The Cool Stuff, and…

What good is a submit a couple of 50-year home with out sharing some cool findings buried within the basement?

Main as much as the transfer, kindly declining hand-me-downs grew to become my second job. However I used to be ultimately persuaded to deliver house some distinctive objects. 

The highest merchandise on my listing was a wall ornament salvaged from a United’s Hello-Rating bumper pool sport I performed within the basement as a child. My Dad disassembled the clunky machine lengthy after it was unused and undesirable by native billiard outlets.

The black field is a Nineteen Thirties-era Mills Vest Pocket Nickel Slot Machine — it nonetheless works however might use a restoration.

United's Hi-Score Pool sign. Vintage 1930s slot machine.

This ornamental cypress tree knee was essentially the most visually fascinating merchandise in the home, and I by no means noticed it till a number of weeks in the past because it was hidden within the basement litter. I’m advised my Grandparents acquired it 70-some years in the past in Florida.

My Aunt Tina styled this classic milk can. 

…The Muddle

COVID-19 lockdowns appeared like a superb alternative to pre-declutter earlier than downsizing. However regardless of my encouragement, my mother and father have been unmotivated to declutter till it was time to pack and transfer.

Fifty years is a very long time to build up stuff. The Child Boomer era positioned quite a lot of worth on collectibles, household memorabilia, and decorations. 

Soar on eBay to find that the flamboyant porcelain, heart-tagged stuffies, and classic instruments aren’t price what the consumers paid. 

All that litter was cash.

I wasn’t there for many of the packing, however they mentioned they donated and threw out quite a lot of stuff, and different relations took a number of vital household heirlooms. 

However many lifelong burdens survived the relocation. Dad moved all of the instruments he received’t want anymore, and my Mother nonetheless has a minimum of 5 units of formal eating dishes and possibly 20 tablecloths.

A lot of the furnishings match. The wall hangings all migrated. However now there are too many photos and never sufficient partitions.

Bins with unknown contents have reworked the two-car storage right into a one-car. 

That mentioned, I used to be fearful it could be worse. The consumers supplied ample flexibility to maneuver out, so my mother and father had greater than a month to pack issues up. They packed a number of bins daily.

Three days earlier than the movers got here, I arrived to supply some muscle and the ultimate push and motivation to get them over the end line.

Simply About Excellent

The outdated home was an exquisite place to stay for many years. It was unhappy to pack up and go. 

However the brand new place is almost excellent, contemplating no one will get all the pieces they need.

The patio house is a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half lavatory in-built 2004. It has a spacious principal stage with all the pieces wanted to stay comfortably for a few years. 

The second flooring welcomes grandkids and accommodates a considerable Christmas ornament assortment.

The earlier homeowners lived evenly and made updates over the previous few years  — a brand new kitchen, new carpet, and contemporary paint. 

Exterior, there’s a pleasing shaded patio and a small flowerbed. The HOA handles landscaping. The complicated has a small neighborhood constructing and pool.

Most residents are of their sixties and upwards and are in the same life state of affairs, having moved from an older house after the children moved on. The neighborhood girls arrange a month-to-month luncheon. 

The home is nearer to my mum or dad’s mates and their common golf programs, and it’s simply 12 minutes from the outdated neighborhood, to allow them to at all times return for commencement and block events. 

The view isn’t as excellent and personal as their earlier yard oasis. But it surely’s quieter. Switching the cellphone and cable was a serious headache, because it at all times is. The neighborhood isn’t as vibrant as there aren’t many youngsters trampling petunias just like the outdated one. 

However the home might accommodate my mother and father for fifteen to twenty years. It’s protected, spacious, handy, up to date, and in a superb neighborhood. 


Most of us won’t ever stay in a home for 50 years.

We’ve been in ours for 12 years, and we’re comfy. However we’re already fascinated about the options we wish in our subsequent house, despite the fact that we’ll most likely keep right here for an additional 10-15 years.

My mother and father thought their former house could be their eternally house. However additionally they didn’t assume they’d stay this lengthy. 

Observing them undergo the method highlighted the significance of long-term planning. 

Financially, they did all the pieces proper. They saved sufficient money to pay for the newer home with no mortgage. The all-cash transaction gave them flexibility if the outdated house didn’t promote instantly.

The outdated house itemizing attracted three official provides over the primary weekend. The fast provides have been partly a results of low native stock.

But additionally a recognition that some alternatives solely come round as soon as in a lifetime.

The fortunate consumers cited gardening, carpentry, and doll home building as hobbies. 

My Dad reviewed this text earlier than publishing. He mentioned, “We moved, however [address] will at all times be thought-about house”.

I take again what I mentioned about getting emotional.



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