It appears that not all parents find their homes suddenly cavernous, echo-y and sad after their children depart. Some, in fact, want even more space. Freed from the constraints of living within close proximity to the best schools and in a home of difficult-to-destroy surfaces, a subset of empty nesters see their children’s departures as a long-awaited opportunity to finally have their dream apartments.
Some parents—at least, those who are wealthy enough not to struggle under the strain of a college tuition bill—view their newly-vacated apartments as an excuse to upgrade to larger, nicer apartments, The New York Times reports.
Naturally, these are not people who are counting on cashing out the family home to stow away some much needed retirement funds, or people for whom necessity is really a pressing concern at all.
“When I’m showing apartments to couples who are leaving the family apartment, they’re looking for the opposite of what they had—these people want their dream apartment,” Fox Residential’s Barbara Fox told The Times.
Besides more space, the paper finds, these empty nesters are eager for terraces and fine finishes—the sorts of dangerous or easily-destroyed things they could never have during their child-rearing years. Karen Advocate-Connolly, a vice president for Douglas-Elliman told the paper of record that she had selected plumbing and lighting fixtures that were far edgier than when she had children. Another upgrader noted that the new terrace she adored would have caused her anxiety with a young child.
“I would have been hovering over her all the time to make sure she didn’t go out there alone and I would have had all sort of locks on it,” the woman said.
Of course, there’s also the idea that one might want space for hosting a lot of grandchildren in the coming years. Or adult children who can’t quite manage to get on their feet and are happy to return, rent-free, to their parents’ place. But who wants to think about the misery of a multi-generational NY apartment? Even if it is an upscale, relatively large multi-generational NY apartment? Better to think about a happy ending, or as Ms. Advocate-Connolly put it: “People are going back to their just married state — but with a lot more money to spend.”