Many baby boomers are finding their lifestyle has changed the house to large, and the yard is too difficult to maintain. They are ready to downsize and want one level living.

 There was a time when people bought a home with a 30-year mortgage and stayed in the same home long after it was paid off, and many times until the end of life. Most of those homes were modest and had at least one bedroom on the main floor; they were affordable, easy to maintain, and if needed, they could be modified to accommodate seniors or special needs.

 We don’t see many people staying put for over 30 years anymore. Somehow we got to the point where every time our family situation changed, our home had to change with it. Today most of my clients are those that bought or built a larger home, as their family grew, and now the kids are gone and they have too much house. Some are looking to cut expenses, move to one level living, reduce time spent on maintenance, or relocate to a more “exciting” neighborhood.

 Surprisingly, downsizing your home doesn’t always mean downsizing your expenses. I’ve had many clients that actually spend more on their one level living home than the home they sold. Usually the home fits their lifestyle better with less rooms, but larger and more efficient.

 Some of my older downsizer have realized that it is less expensive to buy a one level home and have in home care services than it is to rent an assisted living apartment or townhome. Some of them don’t want to give up working in the garage or having a small yard for gardening or privacy.

 Downsizing is not always easy, especially if you have been in your home for a long time and you have accumulated a lifetime of memories, collections, and keepsakes. Fortunately, there are service providers to help sellers declutter and set up their new home.

 Most of my clients find that after they declutter, donate, and sell a few things, they can comfortably live in 1200-1400 square feet with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage, outdoor space, and hopefully a den, but there are also many that can’t see themselves fitting into less than 3,000 square feet.

 There has been an increase in new one level living townhome communities in Chisago County over the past few years to accommodate the baby boomers. The median sale price of the 2+ bedroom, one level townhomes that sold over the past year is $191,450. The average size is 1,526 square feet. The average year built is 2007. The older units were built in the early 1990’s.

 If we look at the townhomes built in the past two years, the median price is $246,942 and the average size is 1,651 finished square feet. The new townhomes are more expensive, but everything is new which will save on future maintenance costs. There are newer townhome developments in Lindstrom, North Branch, and Chisago City. Some of the townhomes come with a basement.

 An experienced real estate agent can help you determine the value of your home, provide downsizing advice, and options for new one level homes.

 Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.