If you want to downsize to a small house or condo

By Michael Gavin

Have an empty nest? Want one-level living? Tired of mowing such a big lawn?

If any or all of these apply, it might be time to downsize. Long Island offers a variety of housing options for those looking to transition into a smaller home, from cottages to 55-and-over communities. 

Living in townhouses, condos or Homeowners Associations where maintenance is included in monthly fees is appealing...

To Continue...

Already a Newsday subscriber ?

Get unlimited digital access $1 for 4 Weeks

$0.99/Week Thereafter

Have an empty nest? Want one-level living? Tired of mowing such a big lawn?

If any or all of these apply, it might be time to downsize. Long Island offers a variety of housing options for those looking to transition into a smaller home, from cottages to 55-and-over communities. 

Living in townhouses, condos or Homeowners Associations where maintenance is included in monthly fees is appealing for downsizers because “it’s certainly much cheaper and much less laborious than having your own yard,” says Judy Dutton, senior editor at the real estate website 

However, Dutton advises using a downsizing calculator online to see what homeowners will save, if anything (the National Council on Aging has one, 

While there are always reasons to stay put a little longer, homeowners shouldn’t wait until they are forced to downsize, she says. Homeowners should beware of hidden costs such as the capital-gains tax on the profit from the sale of a current home, and should avoid using storage units, she adds. “Putting your stuff in storage for 10 years can really add up,” Dutton says. “Generally, if you didn’t need that stuff for 10 years, odds are you never needed it at all.” 

Here are seven homes on the market in Nassau and Suffolk counties that might fit the bill.


Babylon: $429,000

This ranch, which the listing agent says has been updated with a new kitchen deck, patio and siding within the last five years, includes three bedrooms and one bathroom. “The ranch style is perfect for downsizing,” says listing agent Emily Catik of Coach Realtors. “It offers the perfect floor plan for convenient living, offers manageable square footage and is all on one level.”  (Emily Catik, Coach Realtors, 516-456-5766) 

Hardwood flooring and crown molding are featured throughout the house, which was built in 1975. The living room is open to the dining room, which features sliding glass doors that lead to a Trex deck and paver patio.

The kitchen boasts granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a marble backsplash. The house — which also includes a full, unfinished basement — is a Town of Babylon-certified Green Home with features such as weatherproofing and added insulation, the agent says. The 48-by-150-foot property, less than a mile from the Babylon train station, the village and Argyle Park, has taxes of $9,402.


Freeport: $449,000

This waterfront townhouse-style condo offers two bedrooms and 2 1⁄2 bathrooms. Situated in the Yachtsman’s Cove development, along Milburn Creek, the unit boasts its own boat slip, says listing agent Matthew Korman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “Getting rid of your home and having less maintenance by moving into the condo and being able to keep the boat behind your unit is really what’s been appealing to people.” (Matthew Korman, Orlando Frade and Skylar Warren, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 516-318-3760, 516-455-9230, 646-388-4288)

The main level of the unit, with hardwood floors throughout, features a living room with a terrace that overlooks the water, a formal dining room and a kitchen with stainless steel appliances.

The master suite, on the upper level, along with the second bedroom, includes a bathroom with a Jacuzzi, vaulted ceilings and sliding doors that open to a private balcony with water views. A third-floor finished space offers room for a third bedroom, office, den or “whatever you want to make of it,” Korman says. The unit also includes an attached two-car garage. The 24-unit development was completed within the last year and has units ranging in price from $399,000 to $519,000, Korman says. The complex, with underground electrical wiring, offers guest parking and boat slips for visitors who come by land or sea. Taxes are $11,879 and monthly maintenance fees are $375, which Korman says includes snow removal, landscaping, flood insurance and more.

Baldwin: $389,000

This cottage, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, allows for simple living, says listing agent Davorka Bender of Sailing Home Realty. The main level features all that is needed for one-level living, while the upper level includes room for guests, if needed.  (Davorka Bender and Eva Boci, Sailing Home Realty, 516-816-4699, 516-353-1038)

An enclosed and heated front porch opens to the living room, which boasts a wood-burning fireplace and French doors. Two bedrooms are on the first floor, including the master bedroom, which has French doors that open to a full bathroom. Upstairs is a guest bedroom and a full bath.

In addition to a formal dining room, the house has an eat-in kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The kitchen and all three bathrooms were each updated within the last 5 to 10 years, Bender says. The 1924 house also includes a basement for storage. The 40-by-120-foot corner property, with taxes of $7,029, has a cement patio, a shed and perennial flowers.

Lake Grove: $549,000

This condominium, in a gated 55-and-over community called Encore at Lake Grove, features two bedrooms and 2 1⁄2 bathrooms. The development offers indoor and outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi, billiards room, tennis court, putting green and clubhouse with a party room available for rent, listing agent Brittany Hyde says. It is also across from Smith Haven Mall, offering an abundance of shopping options, she adds. The taxes are $3,479 and monthly maintenance fees are $434. (Brittany Hyde, Century 21 Prevete Real Estate, 516-643-3589)

The entry hall, which includes a half-bathroom, flows into the dining room and living room.  Also on the main level, which has hardwood flooring throughout, is a master suite with a walk-in closet, a second closet and a bathroom that boasts a soaking tub, separate shower and dual sinks. Upstairs, which listing agent Brittany Hyde says has new carpeting, is a guest bedroom and a full bathroom.

The eat-in kitchen, which has Silestone countertops, includes a side door that opens to a private stone patio on the tree-lined property.

West Islip: $275,000

This three-bedroom ranch is “perfect if you’re downsizing because it is all one level,” says listing agent Candice Ryan of Realty Connect USA. (Candice Ryan, Realty Connect USA, 631-871-3838)

The main entry opens into the living room, which flows into the eat-in kitchen. In addition to the three bedrooms, the house also includes a small office.

The house has one full bathroom that was renovated about a year-and-a-half ago, Ryan adds. The half-acre property has taxes of $9,100. The location, Ryan adds, offers easy access to both Sunrise Highway and the Southern State Parkway and is convenient for shopping, transportation and schools.

Great Neck: $598,000

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op is in The Claridge building, which offers a lobby, an on-site superintendent and indoor parking, says listing agent Mindy Greenberg of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The building, constructed in 1965, features an elevator, on-floor laundry facility, a backup generator and a new roof, says Greenberg, who adds that having a super on the premises alleviates the stresses associating with owning a home. The monthly maintenance fees are $1,369, which Greenberg says includes taxes, heat, hot water and gas cooking. (Mindy Greenberg, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 917-974-4500)

The second-level unit, with crown molding throughout, has a foyer that opens to an eat-in, walk-through kitchen with stainless steel appliances. 

The kitchen leads into the living room and dining room, which boasts a front-facing covered terrace with lighting, Greenberg says. The unit features two full bathrooms, one with a Jacuzzi tub and the other with a walk-in shower. The master bedroom includes a walk-in closet.

Wantagh: $499,999

Situated about a quarter-mile from shopping centers, this three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch gives downsizers or new families the best of both worlds, says listing agent Claudia Massari of SAS Real Estate. “You have that neighborhood setting, but also with the convenience of having everything easily accessible,” she says. (Claudia Massari, SAS Real Estate, 646-279-0999)

The 1962 house, with hardwood flooring and custom closets, has an open floor plan that includes a living room, dining room and eat-in kitchen.

While the house offers one-level living, there is additional space to entertain, thanks to a finished basement with a full bathroom. The 75-by-119-foot property is on a corner lot and includes a driveway, 1 1⁄2 car garage and entry off Edgerton Avenue. The house, with taxes at $13,406, also has a front porch and back deck.