Empty Nesters – Now What?

Empty Nesters – Now What?

Our lives are a series of changes, many that we initiate and many that are out of our control. We reinvent ourselves, our children grow up and leave home, we get divorced or struggle through personal loss of a loved one. Whatever it may be, we find ourselves with choices. One of those choices is where to live and HOW to live.


For many people, being an “EMPTY NESTER” offers seemingly unlimited possibilities. Some of the most popular choices include:

Move to the mountains, lake or ocean to enjoy resort-style living: This is a great option for the over 65 crowd, or for those who are ready and willing to pull up your roots and relocate to a more desireable area to live and play!

Pay off your mortgage and stay put: You may be perfectly happy as an empty nester and ready to settle into the peace and quiet of your home. Consider planting that garden you have always wanted or build a workshop for your hobby. Who knows there may be a new business in the making!

Downsizing: Selling a large house and opting to move into a smaller house, apartment, condo or retirement housing is often a good decision, especially if the mortgage on your existing house is paid off.

Going into business: If you have a large house (or the money to invest in one) and a flair for hospitality, you may wish to consider running a bed-and-breakfast out of your home. This can be a great source of income, particularly if you live in a touristy or urban area, or near a college – these areas have lots of travelers arriving at various times during the year.

Hosting an exchange student: Providing a temporary home for a foreign-exchange student can be a rewarding experience. Empty nesters who miss having children and teenagers around often enjoy having a young person in the house again, and they get the opportunity to learn about other cultures from the students they host.


Transitioning from an active household to an empty nester can be an emotionally troubling time. Some people lose their sense of purpose when their children leave home or when they find themselves alone from divorce or death. Others are reluctant to sell the house in which they watched their children grow up and where so many memories have been made. But staying in a house that’s too big for your needs can create an unnecessary tax burden. It’s always better, from a strict financial standpoint, to downsize or use your larger home to generate income. But take the time to make sure it’s the best decision for you emotionally.


Whether you are living in Dallas Fort Worth, Austin, Portland, San Diego or Boston, the diversity in real estate offers generous opportunities for the empty nester. Finding the type of home that fits your needs is key. Here’s our list of options that match the statement for your lifestyle choice. What would you choose?

Luxury, downtown or historic lofts – I like open space and want to be around people and the buzz of activity. I am an artist and want lots of open space and light.

Luxury high-rise – I want something with a fabulous view of the city and concierge services.

Townhomes and condominiums – I like living around a lot of people but I’m done with yard work!

Mixed-use Development living – I want to be close to shopping and food, no more commuting for me!

Suburban homes – The kids and grandkids are around the corner and I want to stay active in the grandkids school activities.

Luxury homes – I have worked hard to get to my position and with the money I have saved and earned from my investments, I intend to live in style!

Farm and Ranch – I hate traffic and the city, I want land and space to breathe and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Mobile and modular homes – I am on a limited income now and just need to get into something that will be easy on my pocketbook.

Lake homes – I’m ready to retire and fish and play!

Duplexes – It would be nice to have rental income to help on my house payment.

Garden/zero lot homes – I want a real house but since the kids are gone, I don’t need a big yard, besides, I hate to do yard work!

Vacation homes – I need a small place I can escape to but don’t want to give up my home and all it’s memories.

Gated communities – I want a place to feel safe and secure.

Remember, when you decide to make a move, don’t do it alone. Contact The Norma Langston Home Team and we will be there for you every step of the way!





Moving to a new place can be exciting, but if you’re missing your old digs, homesickness can linger for a long time. In fact, psychologists are beginning to consider homesickness a distinct emotional state, somewhat akin to grieving. So if you’re feeling homesick after a move, rest assured that you are not alone—and there are plenty of things you can do to feel better. Here are some tips from people who’ve been through a tough move (or many) and found smart ways to cope.

The snail mail solution

“As strange as it sounds, ‘snail mail’ helped me feel less homesick. It’s old-fashioned but true. Seeing the familiar handwriting of my friends and family on envelopes and cards instantly brightened my day. The art of letter writing is not lost!” – Emily Kennedy, Cincinnati, OH

Take advantage of tech

“Video chatting via smartphones and tablets is a lifesaver. Not everyone has an iPhone or uses FaceTime, so we use apps like Duo, which is more user-friendly than Skype. I’ve experienced homesickness here as well, but it helped when I gathered several brochures at local tourist attractions and looked up places we could visit. Moving is expensive, so we started out with the areas that were little to no cost, and we have found some fascinating places to visit and learned about the culture and rich history here. I challenged myself to focus on the things we did like about our new town. I also got involved in our local church. That emotional support system has been a lifesaver.” – Tonia Clarke, Lafayette, IN

Join an activity you enjoy

“In the past four years I’ve moved three times for my job—including stints living overseas—so I have honed the art of overcoming homesickness. You have to be proactive or it will get you. Whenever I first move somewhere, I get straight into the process of seeking out events that interest me, whether they offer me a chance to engage with similarly minded people, make professional connections, or learn something new. I only tend to feel homesick when I feel disconnected, so making myself feel like I’m part of a community helps right away.” – Monica Mizzi, Taipei, Taiwan

Try new things, but keep the old

“One cure I’ve found is doing a combination of both your old favorite things and activities that are unique to your new city. If you just stick to your old habits, you’ll miss the way they were back home. If you just do new things that your new city is known for, you’ll also quickly start missing what you had in your old life. But by capitalizing on new opportunities while still satisfying your old habits and hobbies, you’ll find balance and enjoyment of both.” – G. Brian Davis, Abu Dhabi

Hit the local highlights

“You need to really get excited about the new place. What are you looking forward to? What are the kids looking forward to? And what are things that you could only do in the new place? For us, so much of that is about the beach—being able to get on the sand in half an hour has been mind-altering. Focusing on that beforehand made the actual move so much easier and more enticing.” – David Panarelli, San Diego, CA

Make some road trips back home

“My biggest concern when we moved was for our 13-year-old—an athlete and a very popular child. So after we settled in, I would drive him back home—six hours in the car—every two weeks to spend time with his friends while my husband and I would work diligently to fill his activities and sports calendar in [our new hometown]. The next step was having some of his friends come out and spend time with him. Within six months, I was done taking frequent road trips up north and he had stopped asking to go. It took a lot of work and accommodations on our part, but it has been smooth sailing for the past three years.” – Tonya McKenzie, Redondo Beach, CA

Virtual tours and care packages can go a long way

“I am currently living apart from my 9-year-old and 12-year-old while they gear up for the move from New York City to Colorado. To keep from missing each other too much, sometimes my daughter and I connect on FaceTime, then go virtual grocery shopping together, or I take her on virtual tours of houses I’m looking to buy. Once the whole family sat in the living room there and I sat in the living room here, and we watched the same TV show together on demand. We also get each other gifts. They sent me an amazing care package and a card that says ‘Love went with you … and love waits for you each day until you’re home again.’” – Erika Parker, Boulder, CO

Article by Sasha Brown-Worsha for Realtor.com. @sashabrownworsh

The ABC’s Of House Flipping

The ABC’s Of House Flipping

While house flipping can be very lucrative, you can lose everything with one bad decision. It’s important to approach this profession with caution and educate yourself as much as possible.

Before you even dream of entering this field, you have to be great with your hands or at the very least well versed on the topic of trades and renovations. You should also have a feel for the market. The last thing you want is all your profits sunk because you bought at the wrong time. It’s not as fun and easy as it looks on TV. This is a job that is not only very stressful but requires a lot of hard work.

It goes without saying that you need investment capital and excellent credit before embarking on a project of this magnitude. This step-by-step guide will set you in the right direction, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t an exact science. Never be complacent and always stay on your toes.

1. Scouting Homes

The most typical way to find homes is through the regular channels, finding a real estate agent, searching online, etc. However it’s important to be patient, always look out for the right deal.

The best bang for your buck is foreclosed homes. Make a habit of routinely checking the Internet for new foreclosed homes. Once you find one that looks good, never buy it on a whim. Always see it in person and bring an inspector.

2. Timing

The real estate market is generally steady, but there can be significant fluctuations from time to time. The last thing you want is to be a victim of these fluctuations. The most important thing to take into consideration when scouting a new home is locations. The better the location, the easier to flip. Selling fast mitigates the risk of these fluctuations. It’s also important to have great relationships with contractors so you don’t get caught with them dragging their feet.

3. What to look for in a house

It’s important not to purchase a potential tear down. What you’re looking for is a home that is structurally sound and only requires cosmetic upgrades. That’s why it’s important to have an inspector to verify that there is no mold or asbestos and that the wiring is sound. You also have to ensure that it’s built on a solid foundation.

4. Which renovations to focus on

As mentioned in step 3 you want a house that only requires cosmetic renovations, structural ones are very pricey. Even when narrowing it down to cosmetic, make sure you are focussing on cosmetics that will actually increase the value of the house. For example, installing a swimming pool is very costly and while it attracts more buyers, it won’t make you any extra money.

The most important room to focus on is upgrading the kitchen. Fresh tiles, a new backsplash, and marble or granite counter tops are essential. It’s also vital that you upgrade the appliances to stainless steel.

Other essential renovations include upgrading the bathrooms, installing fresh hardwood floors and fresh paint of course. Be sure not to neglect painting and landscaping the outside of the house to increase curb appeal.

5. Flip

Once you’ve located a sound house in a good location and finished all the renovations, flipping it should be a cinch. Also, it’s a good idea to be proactive and look for buyers before the project is complete.



Buying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life, which is why it’s so important that necessary repairs are made to ensure your safety, financial stability, and overall happiness. However, where do you draw the line when requesting repairs from sellers as to not jeopardize the sale of the property all together?

Cosmetic repairs.

Cosmetic repairs are arguably at the top of the list of what to never ask sellers when interested in a home. Sure, the tile in the kitchen may look worn out and the backyard’s grass may be almost completely dried out; but you should avoid asking sellers to fix them. These repairs are completely cosmetic– meaning they don’t pose a threat to your safety or day to day well-being; therefore, they’re not worth risking the sale. The bright side? You can pick contractors and repairmen that you trust and can be sure the job gets done exactly the way you want it.

Inexpensive fix-its (under $100).

Fixing things like faulty faucets or jammed windows are considered inexpensive and somewhat petty. Many real estate agents encourage buyers to eat the costs of minor repairs as to not become annoying to the seller. If sellers become too agitated with buyers, they may decide the deal isn’t worth it and will move on. If you find a home you can’t live without, don’t ruin your chances with petty repair requests.

Minor water damage.

It’s not uncommon to find water stains along sinks or along bathroom walls– leaks happen. For little water stains that pose no real threat, they’re not worth complaining about to sellers. However, if there is an underlying problem, like a severe leak or mold, your inspector should let you know so you can negotiate with the buyers and handle it appropriately.

Basic electrical issues.

Requesting things like light switch replacements aren’t really worth the risk of losing the sale– they’re fairly easy to fix and don’t cost too much. If you already have a long list of things that need repairing, this definitely doesn’t need to be one of them. But, if your home inspector sees something major you’ll have to bring them up with the seller or walk away.

Looking for someone to help you navigate the home buying process? Contact Norma Langston Home Team, we will walk you through the process and get you to the closing table successfully.



Home Staging is a method of decorating that is designed to showcase a home’s best features by making the space appealing to a broad range of potential buyers’ tastes. First impressions are a key factor in selling a home– most buyers make up their minds within just ten seconds of entering the property. Contrary to common belief, home staging is more than just preparing your house for a sale; staging is what you do after you’ve cleaned, painted and decluttered. When preparing to sell your home, it’s important to convince potential buyers that your house is perfect for them, and that it will fit all of their needs.


According to a 2015 study done by the National Association of Realtors, 81% of prospective buyers said staging their home helps them visualize the property as their future home, while 46% said it makes them more willing to walk through a home after seeing its pictures online. While it’s easy to assume home staging costs a fortune, the average cost to stage a home is actually just $675. Some home stagers will even drop the price if your own furniture is used as opposed to pieces they’d provide.


Once you’ve put your home on the market, it’s time to decide if you want to invest in a professional home stager or just do it yourself. Before making the decision, you need to ask yourself if you’re prepared to take on the task of home staging. Although you may have an eye for decorating, when confronted with the grueling tasks of painting, hiring workers, and searching for the perfect accessories to make your home feel complete; the time you spend on these tasks can be exhausting. When you hire a home stager, you relieve that extra stress and can use your time focusing on the many other important aspects of home selling. Investing in a professional home stager could even increase your home’s value from one to five percent.

If you don’t decide to hire a professional home stager, be prepared to take on the following tasks:

  • Remove clutter
  • Add clean, attractive furniture (minimal furniture is always best)
  • Paint walls with neutral colors
  • Depersonalize (take down any family photos and loud artwork)
  • Tend to front and back yards
  • Clean floors and carpet

When selling your home, there are many factors that contribute to your home’s worth. Whether or not you decide to stage your home yourself or hire a professional, these improvements can make a big difference in your home’s selling price. Showcasing your home’s best attributes is an excellent way to attract and secure buyers, and it’s sure to increase your home’s market value.

Would you stage your home yourself or hire a professional? If you’re looking to sell your home, contact Norma, she and her team will help you get a plan together for staging and preparing your home to sell to achieve the best results possible.