for yo ur
of the future
By Anita Thompson
MANY PARENTS look forward to the day
when that youngest child is out of the house. It’s
the beginning of a new chapter requiring some
big decisions. One of those decisions is whether to
downsize into a smaller space, or perhaps adapt
the family home to be more compatible with
Dan Fritschen, a Costco member and real
estate consultant in Sunnyvale, California, has
thought a lot about this issue. Author of
Remodel or Move (ABCD Publishing, 2005;
www.remodelormove.com), he suggests asking
yourself the following questions.
Are the kids really gone?
Many parents are familiar with the “
boomerang” child phenomenon. Kids move out
for a while and then, suddenly, they’re back!
“Some young adults go through one or more
‘false starts’ before they really find their wings,”
says Fritschen. “You may want to postpone
converting your child’s bedroom to a home
office or moving 1,000 miles across country
until you’re sure he or she isn’t coming back.”
Do you like your neighborhood?
You may have chosen your current home
because of its school district. Now that schools are
no longer a factor, a downtown condo, country
cabin or seaside cottage may sound more appealing than the suburbs. On the other hand, if you
really love your neighborhood, you have a strong
reason to stay put. Remodeling is a way to keep
what you already love and make it even better.
Will you have space for house
guests or visiting grandkids?
With the kids gone, you should have more
time to reconnect with old friends. If you’re
downsizing, be sure to factor in space for house
guests in your new home.
And don’t forget the grandchildren. If
you decide to remodel, consider finally finishing the basement and transforming it into a
guest suite for old college pals or visiting kids
and their future broods.
Will your floor plan be easy to
navigate as you age?
“Chances are, slowing down is the last
thing on your mind,” says Fritschen. “And rightly
so. Most empty nesters have plenty of vital years
still ahead of them. But, the day may come
when climbing stairs isn’t as easy as it is now.
Whichever choice you make, consider a home
with a spacious, single-level floor plan. If one of
you becomes incapacitated, you’ll be glad you
were practical in this regard.”
Have you considered the real cost
of each choice?
Both choices—remodeling or moving—
can be expensive. For novices seduced by the
glamour of gleaming new refrigerators and
whirlpool tubs, a remodeling project can quickly
become a money pit. On the other hand, moving is far from free: It can cost up to 15 percent
of your home’s value, Fritschen notes, for
expenses such as getting your home ready for
sale, real estate commissions, closing costs,
hiring a mover and the cost of decorating your
The key is to do your homework up front
so that you can make an educated decision. C
The Costco Connection
If moving is the right choice for you, Costco’s
Member Services can help with selling and
buying real estate and a mortgage. Visit
costco.com and click on “Services.”
Costco furniture buyer
THE BRIDGEPORT DINING SET is great
to gather around for family meals. And
because of its height ( 36 inches), it also
works well as a convenient space to work
on hobbies and projects.
The six-piece Bridgeport dining set
features a beautiful cherry veneer. The top
■ Use outdoor space. When you outfit
it with comfortable furniture and personal touches, a deck or patio can
become another living room.
■ Use color wisely. Keep your ceilings
and walls painted a neutral color, and
be careful of too many accent walls:
They can clutter up small spaces.
■ Use your corners. Corners are
often wasted space. Use built-in
corner shelving or curio cabinets
for extra storage.
■ Think vertical. Building up (versus
out) adds more square footage. Take
your bookcases all the way to the ceiling, for example.
■ Embrace the armoire. This versatile
piece can store a home theater, sound
system, clothes or dishes.
Bridgeport dining set
COURTESY OF GOLDEN TADCO
measures approximately 48 by 48 inches
expanding to 65 inches in length with the
self-storing butterfly leaf. Comparable sets
of this quality normally cost twice as much
as Costco’s price on this collection.