Baltimore magazine|April 2021
The region is rich in upscale downsizing options.
Alice Shapin

Don Rakowski knew that one day he would downsize. After all, his house in Davidsonville was 3,000 square feet and on two and half acres. But, says 66-year-old Rakowski, “I was still working, so I was in no rush. But then a friend asked me for my opinion on a villa she was buying in Bay Bridge Cove, a 55-and-over community on Kent Island.” When Rakowski walked into the third model, he said to his friend, “Get out of my way. I’m buying here too.” Rakowski moved in (right before the pandemic struck) and says, “This was the right move for me. I’ve never been happier.”

For many people 55 and older, their house is too big and the upkeep too overwhelming. Like Rakowski, a large number of baby boomers are ready to shed the responsibility of owning a big house. And they know the time is now to start thinking about what their next move will be.

Some are dreaming about an amenity-rich over-55 community that has a resort feel. Others may want a property within a planned community, which often offer walkability to restaurants, retail, and green space. There might even be amenities like a pool, fitness center, trails, and clubhouse. And still others want security—a continuing-care retirement community (CCRC) where everything for daily living is provided. (A CCRC is a retirement community that is part independent living, part assisted living, and part skilled nursing home, with all those levels on the same campus.)

But like everything else in 2020 and the beginning of 2021, things are different. There was a time when many boomers wanted to move to the city. They loved everything being right there—culture, restaurants, and an exciting vibe. But, says Realtor Brad Cox of Vesta Group with Long & Foster, “COVID-19 has changed that.” People don’t want to be in a high-density area, nor do they want to be stuck in a small apartment or condo. He adds, “And for those couples still working, they may need space for an office, or maybe two.” All that, for now, makes high-density choices less appealing.


Rakowski refers to his home as “my villa on my island.”

“I love to entertain, and the open floor plan works perfectly. McKee Builders were so accommodating. They said yes to everything I wanted to customize.”

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