Vail Ask a Realtor column: Don’t let ‘too much house’ stifle retirement goals |

Vail Ask a Realtor column: Don’t let ‘too much house’ stifle retirement goals

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned Ask a Realtor

Dear Joan: I turned 60 and I am starting to think about retirement, or at least working a little less and playing a lot more. After talking to our financial planner, and taking a hard look at what we need and what we want, we have decided to start this exciting process by downsizing where we live.

My wife and I certainly don’t need our large home any more. We don’t need all of the space, don’t want to do, or pay for, all the maintenance and all the big utility bills, and we certainly don’t want to waste our precious time cleaning all the space we hardly ever use. We would also like to travel more and not worry about our home when we are gone. My question to you is, how do we do that in this valley? We are locals, with good, but not huge, incomes. Any suggestions?


Dear Downsizers: You are not alone. In a recent article in The Council of Residential Specialists magazine, “51 percent of retirees 50 and older say their most recent move was into a smaller home, according to a 2016 survey by Merrill Lynch.” That same article shows Freddie Mac reporting in 2016 that 40 percent of homeowners ages 55 and older would like to move at least one more time in their lives.

The good news is that this situation has been recognized and developers all over the country, and more importantly in this valley, are working on addressing this downsizing need. The issue, as it appears to many of us working on this, is that active adults, approaching a more freeing time of their lives (no children, fewer financial obligations) would like: 1) new or newer homes, in excellent condition (not fixer-uppers) that meet all of their needs, 2) have no exterior maintenance; 3) qualify as “affordable luxury” style living; and 4) have access to all of the wonderful activities this area offers.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

‘Affordable luxury living’

Hiking, biking, skiing, golfing, four-wheeling, working out, walking, etc., are all extremely important to Eagle County residents at every age, especially active adults older than 55 with more free time. I am currently working with a visionary developer who is designing a fabulous 55 and older community that will meet all of the needs I just mentioned and is planned to be “affordable luxury living.”

Many builders in the valley have also designed “lock and leave,” maintenance-free living in different price point in our resorts, that may or may not work in your price range. My suggestion, as always, is to locate the best, most knowledgeable Realtor you can find and let him or her guide you through this downsizing process of finding the right home, now or in the near future. Your Realtor can also help you sell your current home for the highest net possible to help facilitate your exciting future plans.

Have fun and best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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