Yes, the kids are out of the house and on their way in the world. Many in the New York Metro area consider downsizing at this point, especially considering how expensive real estate is here, and of the course the high taxes. In addition, taking care of a large house and lawn can be tiring and expensive, especially when you consider lawn mowing, raking and snow removal.
So, many in our area choose to downsize. Everyone's situation is different. Where to do you want to move to? Do you want to stay in the area or move to a warmer climate? Where are your kids located? Are you still working and/or how long do you plan to work for? Do you need to be close to The City and/or close to a MetroNorth spot, so your commute to the City is easy?
Do you want a place where all of the maintenance is taking care of? Do you want the master bedroom on the first floor/a place that doesn't have any steps/is all on one level? How large of a space do you want/need? Do you want some space for your kids/grandkids to visit? What is your budget? Will this be your main and/or only home? Or do you plan to be a snow bird and buy/rent a place in a warmer climate? (Remember, if you get a place down south, it's probably way less expensive than it is here.)
There are all sorts of things to consider as this may define what sort of place you end up moving to. Will be it be a smaller house? Will it be a similar sized house that is configured differently an in a less expensive neighborhood. Will it be a townhouse or a condo or co-op. The world is your oyster, so consider what it is that you want (and that you can afford).
Of course, the next question comes down to the situation on your current house. Is your mortgage paid off? Can you buy your new place before you sell your existing home? Can you afford to carry both at the same time? Do you want to sell your existing house or rent it out? Which gives you the financial freedom both short term and long term that you want?
When do you plan to make this change and move? Will it be in the next year or in the next 5 years or maybe 10+ years from now? What is the condition of your home and what sort of improvements would you like to make? Note: many people put off home improvements while their kids are in the house, and then decide to start making them when their kids go off to college as it's just easier. Of course others wait until they finish paying college tuition.
Think about what you want to do while you're living in the home. Think about what you'll need to do anyway for later when you sell. It's ideal to balance what you want to do for you and for the long term, so think about this when it comes to color and style choices.
It's also good to get started on "decluttering." If you do this gradually, it will be much easier...and it will also help you enjoy your place even more while you're living with it. Get rid of the junk. Ask your kids what they want. Maybe they can use some extra furniture. Maybe they want to save their momentos...or maybe they couldn't care less. If you're downsizing to a smaller space, you won't be able to take it all with you. And, ironically, "less is more," so if you get rid of some things, it will make your current space look larger (and cleaner).
I would consider speaking to a real estate agent to understand how much your house is worth as well as general prices for where you may consider moving to as well. Be sure to look at total costs (the house, the taxes (which have a big impact here), maintenance fees (but remember you also have maintenance costs on your current home). This will help you determine your options and your long term and short term plans.
There is no one size fits all (as you can see). I just think it's good to plan ahead rather than rush.