Empty Nest 101

Do you want to look at this for the next four years? Or is it time to turn The Junior Museum into that office you’ve always wanted?

Do you want to look at this for the next four years? Or is it time to turn The Junior Museum into that office you’ve always wanted?

School’s getting out for the summer — congratulations to all the recent graduates, and best wishes on the next stage of your journey! Now get out.

I kid! My own daughter will be moving away soon to join her brother at Colorado State, and I’ll dearly miss having them both around. But where some might see an empty nest, I see a house full of possibilities.

If your last or only kid is finally off to start college or a new career, this might be the beginning of a new, quieter chapter of your life. It might be tempting to just sleep for the next four years, but this is your best chance at kicking off those changes you’ve been dreaming about: start some new habits, redecorate, make new friends, rent out that suddenly empty room ...

One college-parent activity that’s growing in popularity is buying a condo near the campus. For some parents this offers the chance to visit their fledglings while having a stable and familiar place to stay. Other parents invest in a condo for their student rather than shell out for on-campus housing, turning dorm rent into equity and setting themselves up for possible future rental income.

On top of that, there’s statistically a pretty good chance that, after the last echoes of Pomp & Circumstance have faded, a college graduate will remain near their alma mater. This may offer you the opportunity to sell that condo right back to its most recent resident by adding them to the mortgage and letting them assume the payments, a great way to help them build credit and equity (and get out of paying for all the repairs it will need after four years of “studying”).

But back to your own humble abode! Even if you don’t decide to rent out your student’s cubbyhole under the stairs, it’s a great time to start putting the house back in shape. Take a good look around and you’ll spot a world of little things you can fix or clean — a hinge here, a dented wall there, that stairway carpet that’s going threadbare down the middle.

They might be few and small enough that you’ll be happy just seeing them fixed; if you enjoy DIY, set aside time every day or week to work your way through the big list. It’ll stay nice a whole lot longer this time.

Sometimes having that new extra elbow room can inspire you to take a deeper dive into improving your home, meaning it’s remodel time. Look closely at how you actually use your space and rooms: do you wish you had an office instead of a guest room? Would you like more light in your kitchen? Let your imagination run wild, prioritize your needs and wishes, and turn your war-torn old house into a refreshing “new” home.

And for many, the college years are a great time to consider a change in scenery. Whether downsizing, looking for a new lifestyle, or simply profit-taking, it can’t hurt to look around. When you see what’s available, like the homes for sale in San Diego, you might be surprised to find you’re ready to start an even newer chapter.

In any of these cases, I’d be happy to sit down and chat with you about your home needs. Besides helping you buy or sell, I can refer top-notch professionals to help you with your house’s repair or remodel. And of course if you’re ready to see some new places, I’d love to show you around. Contact me anytime!