The Rise Of The Re-nester - May 2023
May 8, 2023 / Written by Rich Harvey
In the property sector we love to categorise all manner of things. From blue-chip and blue-collar suburbs through to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and FOPTM (Fear Of Paying Too Much). Affixing a tag to something helps us discuss, analyse and simplify it.
But perhaps no other element of our market gets categorised quite as much as buyer types.
For instance, you have retirees, empty nesters, upgraders and first timers. By understanding who a buyer is, we hope to comprehend what type of property will meet their needs.
Well, of late, I’ve come across a new category – and it’s one I fall firmly into myself!
It’s the “re-nester”, and I’m increasingly seeing them among the buyer pool.
What are “re-nesters”?
The re-nesters cohort is dominated by those who were traditionally known as “empty nesters” and/or “downsizers” but they have more complex requirements, with their living spaces being more about flexibility than size.
Families experience children growing up and moving away from home. This seminal moment in a household’s lifecycle often occurs at a time when the parents reach an important stage themselves. While perhaps not retirees in many cases, they are looking forward to spending less time maintaining a property and managing kids, and more time enjoying their freedom.
What makes re-nesters different is they recognise the need for maintaining some essential elements in their home. Spaces that can be adapted for work, play and family.
They are considered and purposeful buyer who have very specific wants from a property.
Types of re-nester
There are a few sub-groups among the re-nester buyer pool, and most will vary along the lines of age and life stage.
Younger re-nesters have a child moving out of home for the first time. These parents are still gainfully employed and probably at the peak of their careers. They have devoted much of their life to the family and have probably spent the last 10 to 15 years in their current home because it’s close to school and other facilities related to the kid’s activities.
Many times, these re-nesters might be looking at a way to repurpose the existing house, but it won’t always meet their needs. It will be too large and probably include a decent sized parcel of land, all of which must be maintained.
I find this group are looking for a home that’s usually around the same area where they already live. They have community ties they’ll want to retain. They often want to have less maintenance demands, so are attracted to smaller blocks with newer homes. That said, they’ll need to be able to work from home while also reserving some space for hobbies and interests. A formal study area that’s lock-and-leave is essential, but another light airy common space as a hobby room should be available too.
Most surprising perhaps is that many like a second car space for either storage, workshop or for a “show vehicle” that’s their pride and joy.
Finally, they like to make sure there’s a spare bedroom with privacy (and its own bathroom preferably ) for guests or in case the kids do come home for short bursts.
A second re-nesting group are the near-to-retired buyers. They still appreciate living in a house, although apartment living may appeal too. They want to be close to all the good stuff – cafés, restaurants and retail. They may also want to be accessible to an airport or cruise terminals in case they’re keen travellers. Lock-and-leave with plenty of security is essential too. What differentiates them from traditional downsizers is that they will again look to maintain a little extra space. A minimum of three bedrooms and lock up car accommodation will attract a premium from them. Many also love to host get togethers, so if they can buy a home with a large outdoor area/balcony, that’s great – even better if it has views.
There are also much older re-nesters. These are fully fledged retirees who want to make sure the grandkids can come and visit in the future. They aren’t needing to – either physically or mentally – look to assisted living just yet. They are independent and loving life. While free time is important, they also value family time. These re-nesters are still looking for homes with space and flexibility. They are not so concerned about being close to the CBD, but certainly great outdoor community locations such as close to a foreshore or parks/bushland with walkable tracks would appeal. Like others, they also want lock-and-leave potential for trips away. Security features will also be high on their priority list.
When it comes down to it, re-nesting is about flexibility and futureproofing a home. It’s about recognising what stage you’re at in your own life, while also allowing for what may happen in the future.
The key is realising every buyer will have slightly different needs in a home when the kids move away. Unfortunately, narrowing down that list can sometimes be exasperating and time consuming.
The solution is simple – talk to a buyers’ agent. By working through your wants, an experienced buyers’ agent can guide you on your journey and suggest locations and property types that will fit the bill. It’s amazing how running through the options with a specialist can help deliver a solution.
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