Meditations on Moving House, Finding Community & the Sellers Market

Yes, we are in our fifth apartment after our second move to Zichron Yaacov. Our first landing here in October 2018 was like a warm bath, and we had looked forward to returning after our sojourn in Jerusalem.

Yes, now that we are here and looking in earnest, the market has turned. Earlier predictions of a real estate boom in 2021 in our corner of the world have been dead-on; so now we are buying in a Sellers Market.

Yes, we are navigating a foreign (to us) real estate market, where our single buying experience was a long time ago, and where all the important information is (of course) in Hebrew. As a realtor friend from the US pointed out: there is no Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

All of that aside, my greatest challenge has turned out to be – ironically – accepting that we are looking for a new home in Second Middle Age.

The vast majority of the time, I am affirmatively happy to have (finally) entered my sixth decade. As I have been writing about for the last eighteen months, there are so many reasons to welcome second middle age and its renewal of creativity, perspective and time to focus on what is really important now.

It genuinely never occurred to me that I had any blind spots — i.e., areas where i would find it hard to ‘act my age.’

Simply put, I did not contemplate the difference between our lives in 1997 when we bought in DC versus in 2021. (Where does the time go?!)

Of course I realized that we are not buying a house where we will raise a family. Since we started to look at houses, though, I have had to truly recognize and accept that we are buying a place for senior citizens – us in 10, 20 or even 30+ years. And I have found it challenging to get the reality into my consciousness.

When we were planning our big move overseas, I had just blandly assumed that we would buy a house with a garden- hopefully a bigger garden than in the .10 acre we had in Cleveland Park, DC.

Our compact front garden in Cleveland Park, DC

So 2ndMiddleAge blogger that I am, I am assimilating and practicing Radical Acceptance of the following:

While everyone needs a place to call home, that place may look very different at 60 than earlier in life.

When you are buying a new home in second middle age, it is important to keep accessibility in mind for the ‘you’ who will live there in future years.

And all things being equal, it may not be the best idea to take on a new house and its maintenance in your 60s.

For a lot of our friends who made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in second middle age, the answer has been to buy, or even to rent, an apartment. (Apartments are much more prevalent here than in many countries.)

Here in Zichron Yaakov there are a lot of new semi-attached houses built for young families, big families or young, big families. There is very little demand for what we call in the US ‘empty-nester’ houses. In fact new construction here in Zichron is often bigger than our DC townhouse. It is also unusual to find a house on one level, or with bedrooms on the main level.

Instead of child-safety, we need to think about elder-accessibility to find a home where we can age in place.

It has taken some time for me to get this into my head. Now I am getting more comfortable with the reality that our next and hopefully last home will very likely be a one-level apartment. Last week we looked at a ‘Penthouse’ apartment (to paraphrase the old joke: to a real penthouse it’s not a penthouse); next week me may look at a garden apartment.

Everything will work out and we will find our new home. We are here, vaccinated and safe.

It’s all good.

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