It’s that time of year – school’s back in session, kids are off to college, and some of you parents are realizing that their home is lacking noise, energy and maybe a little mess. So now, some folks are left with that terrifying and exhilarating question: “What now?”
It’s called empty nest syndrome, it’s a real thing and may be easier to define, but tough to categorize: the wide variety of emotions parents get when their children leave home are far from predictable. The syndrome is generally defined as a period of feeling depressed or saddened when children come of age and vacate the parent’s nest. This is often compounded by a profound sense of loneliness, according to Psychology Today.
As much as an empty nest can be seen as an ending, it can just as easily be perceived as a new beginning! The term was first coined in the 1970s and we think it’s a tad outdated. With the ease of modern communication, tech, and travel, parents can stay connected to their kids nearly 24-hours a day. Remember they are just one text or FaceTime away!
Although it may take weeks or months for parents to manage their “new normal” with a less than full home, parents may feel a greater sense of freedom, re-connection with their spouse and finally have the free time to pursue their own goals and interests. So, it’s time to find a new passion to focus on. Get out those golf clubs, sign up for a new work out class, stay active and productive.
They may be back
Before you go changing their old room into your new gym, think about what the odds are that they may be back. In recent decades, there has been a shift among American families that the likelihood of the nest staying empty isn’t nearly as high.
It’s increasingly common for kids to return home after college to save money as they enter the workforce. As a recent study by researchers at Oregon State University puts it, “25 is the new 22,” and most parents don’t expect their kids to be financially independent in their early 20s. This return to the home has been linked to societal shifts: a tough job market, delayed marriage, and high housing costs, to name a few.
In our cities
In Offerpad’s eight major markets, many empty homes are driven by young adults leaving for college. Nowhere is this reality starker than in Orlando where, according to census data, 25 percent of parents experienced their children venturing off to the University of South Florida in 2017. This data fails to capture the number of parents whose children attended college out-of-town or state, meaning that number is likely higher.
Salt Lake City also saw a high number of parents facing the syndrome in 2017, at around 18 percent. This figure only uses data from the University of Utah, so again, the number is likely to be much higher.
In other Offerpad locations, the concept of an “empty nest” may feel more mythical, though the symptoms likely have a lesser impact in larger cities simply because there are more people. Las Vegas, Atlanta and Tampa all hovered at around seven percent, while larger markets like Phoenix and Los Angeles netted six percent and five percent, respectively. Charlotte was on the low end at about four percent.
Stay positive parents, this may be a tough time that will need some adjustment, but now is the time to take care of yourself and find your “new normal”. Take the time to explore new hobbies, meet new people and visit new places – check off those bucket list items!
Offerpad helps people buy and sell their homes no matter what stage in life, whether a family is just getting started in growing, or the children are spreading their wings and moving out. We provide a great solution to those looking to buy larger homes when expanding and the same for those looking to downsize and potentially sell their home. No matter your situation, Offerpad has a solution for you.