The dreaded conversation has begun.
The beloved husband and I have started to talk about downsizing our home. The beloved husband is in his early 70s and I (his trophy bride) am in my sixties. No need for all the bedrooms we have. They just encourage visitors.
What we long for is our own bedroom on the first floor. We don’t have any problems with stairs now but it’s never a good idea to wait until you can’t navigate to move on.
We made a list of things we *need.*
- A basement for the beloved husband’s workshop
- A place for his guitars and my sewing machines
- Cat territory where litter boxes won’t stink up the whole house
- Small garden for me for a few tomato plants and some herbs
- Small pond for my fish friends (it’s cheaper than therapy)
- Shade tree to encourage birds
- Bird feeders (notice the plural) and bird bath
Then we looked at some other *nice* things.
Less work with snow removal and the yard would be good. As much as I enjoy pulling weeds in my garden, I don’t like yard work.
An open layout would be great. We don’t need formal parlors and dining rooms. The bottom line is less but bigger rooms.
Some of the *needs* are the deal breakers. Others are minimally negotiable (the litter box is not going in my clothes closet!).
This is what we found at many over-55 communities.
Pet limitations — We have four cats. Developments limit the number of pets and bird feeders. They have a formula. I am not sure what that means (and no one could explain it exactly), maybe it’s pounds or combinations of dogs and cats but we have a “no cats left behind” policy in our house.
Birds — Only one small feeder allowed on the patio. No bird bath. Birds are dirty. We don’t want to encourage them. Without proper landscaping which I would not be allowed to do, there wouldn’t be many birds.
Gardens – No vegetable plants allowed. No tomatoes! In fact you can’t plant a flowering tree because they are dirty. (Do you sense a theme here and would you call it sterile?)
No Starbucks nearby — That may not qualify as a top deal breaker but I sure would prefer one.
$$$ — Downsizing doesn’t mean saving money. Most of these communities are pricey. Taxes and homeowner’s fees are equal to what we pay now only we have less square footage and no private yard. Some have clubhouses and pools, some don’t. Can’t remember the last time I used a pool!
We have found wonderful homes with the perfect layout. I could be ready to pack up and move. However….their rules require one or both of us to give up what we enjoy.
You have to be ready. Maybe we haven’t really “aged into” these residential areas yet. Perhaps in a few more years they will be more appealing, that’s if I can part with my fish, frogs and birds.