Do you have a mobile lifestyle? Travel frequently, or live in two or more locations? Many downsizers do, and are faced with the challenge of making their home secure when they are gone.
An obvious solution is a condo, especially one with inside hallways. The main entry door and its security system provides a big first layer of protection from the outside world.
You’re not a condo person you say? How about a townhouse? Townhouses usaully do not provide that double layer of security, but there are neighbors close by who can still keep an eye out for your place.
Even with a single-family home there are lock-and-leave options. One solution is to have an accessory apartment in your home. That way some one is there when you are not. Another answer is to hire a house sitter for when you are gone, or even do a house swap. House swaps are easy to do now with websites that specialize on matching people up.
Whatever lock-and-leave option works for you, I would be glad to help you find it!
Houseboats and Barges
Forest Hills is one of those well-maintained well-built 1970s condos that is still very attractive, especially at today’s lower prices! It has 100 one and two bedroom units in several buildings that wind down a slope. There are fantastic Cascade mountain, Lake Washington, and territorial views looking over the treetops of Lake Forest Park. Some units are townhouses, but most are flats. Many have private 2 car garages with extra space for storage or workshops. Originally built as a 55+ community, it was clearly built with downsizers in mind! Recently the association shed its age restriction, making the units more marketable. Amenities include an outdoor pool, putting green, tennis court, clubhouse and RV parking area.
That latest sales at this point were in late 2008. Two 2 bedroom units with minimal views sold around at around $260,000, or $100 per sf. Not bad for almost in-city real estate!
What’s unique about these condos is their walkability, Forest Hills has a walkscore.com rating of 77 because the complex is just a block from the new revitalized North City neighborhood in Shoreline. Bus transportation is very good too.
Click to see Forest Hills Listings
Click to see North City Listings
Recently I visited Thornton Place, the huge new mixed-use development rising just south of Northgate Mall, in Seattle. It has huge promise as a major destination, combining Condos and Townhouses for sale, rental apartments, a huge IMAX theatre, shops, a retirement village, and the daylighted Thornton Creek weaving through it. See article.
The condo units available now are selling very slowly, the $450/sf pricing probably has something to do with it (Canal Station, a new development in the heart of Ballard has been selling at $400/sf). Although there are no elevators in the condos, combining adjacent parking it is possible for downsizers to have level entry to units on 2 of the levels. The units I saw were efficient and well-designed with lots of environmental-friendly materials, some had views of the creek and its natural landscaping.
Best of all is the synergy for a new neighborhood that comes from quality development on a well-located large piece of land. These neighborhoods are able to define themselves due to the quantity of housing being developed. Add quality retail and the transit station next door, and it becomes a destination itself. In fact. I think we can expect to see a ripple effect in the housing surrounding Thornton Place.
Buyer representation available form DownsizeNW. Contact us and we can set up a tour of Thornton place, or its neighborhood.
Admitting that you are maybe finally beginning to get “up there” is not easy. However, I find myself running into AARP more often these days in housing issues. So, the last time their membership offer came in the mail, I sent it in. It’s the best $12 I ever spent! I cold go on about all the benefits, but I won’t bore you.
What is fascinating is what AARP has been doing lately in housing research. A recent survey they comissioned showed that of boomers who expect to move for retirement, (21%), 59% will look for a home that’s all on one level, 49% will look for a smaller home, and 50% will look for a newer home.
Their Livable Communities Awards, co-sponsored with the NAHB, shows the detail they get into when working with what makes our homes and communities livable. Go here to see more. By the way, one of the award winners was Vineyard Lane on Bainbridge Island!
As a lot of people contemplate retirement, we are finding that the concept of retirement itself is changing. Many of us can’t stand the thought of completely retiring, either because of finances, or just because we simply can’t see ourselves not working. What this means for many is working part-time at what we did full-time, either for our long-time employer, or as a consultant. For others it can mean starting an entirely new business.
The next question is where will we work? Anywhere! The internet has made many of our jobs portable…worldwide. So, if your beachfront house in Mexico has a high-speed connection, you can do much of what you do in the office every day from your home-office at the beach. That makes semi-retirement almost bearable!
This brings up the idea of homes where we can live and work at the same time. The concept is not new, of course. I remember growing up in Seattle, and we had family friends who had small businesses in storefronts, and they lived in apartments upstairs, in small mixed-use buildings.
Recently, some developers have made these types of homes available in new construction. One Seattle developer is making live-work townhomes, with a bottom floor of work space with a bathroom, and 2 upper floors that contain living areas. There are separate outside doors for each of these units, and they are also connected inside. They sell very fast, too, as they are in popular neighborhoods! One client bought a unit as an office space for their business, and an apartment for their daughter who attends the nearby University of Washington. Developers in some suburban cities (I have seen these in Issaquah, Mukilteo, Lynnwood, and Poulsbo) also occasionally build live-work townhouses, with the work area either below the living areas, or beside them. A new listing just came on the market today for a 2100 sf unit with 3 bedrooms, 5 baths, and a separate office just off the main entrance. It’s located in Lynnwood near the Ash Way transit center for commuting convenience as well. These are affordably priced at around $350,000.
For more info on these or others in the area, contact Greg at 206-713-2921 or email below.
An article in the PI talks about retirees who are following their children’s moves to Seattle, and the trends that lead them here. Many retirees choose to stay where they have lived their lives, others move to resort areas with a better climate for activities they enjoy. Others, whom we have seen more and more of, are moving to where their children, and especially grandchildren, are. The article talks about how our nation’s high degree of mobility has caused families to be geographically far-flung, yet the need that families have to be together is still there.
One of the couples choose to buy a small bungalow in a part of Seattle that reflects their ethnic heritage, and another chose a townhouse in Fremont because of the cultural diversity there.