The real estate market is still hot for home sellers. But if you plan to list your house and move to a senior living community, your circumstances might be a bit different than they were in the past. You may have many years of accumulated possessions to deal with. Certain updates may be necessary. And everyone wants their home sale to be as stress-free as possible. These 7 tips for seniors selling their homes will help simplify the process so you can optimize your sale and move on to a more rewarding lifestyle.
Tip 1. Determine your home’s value and price it accordingly.
It’s not unusual for sentimental attachments to cloud judgment on key decisions in selling a home. Yes, all your best memories may have been made here, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify you to assess its value accurately or to set an asking price. Without accurate information, you may even be willing to accept less for your home than it’s worth. To find the right price for your home so you don’t lose a sale, request a comparative market analysis (CMA) from your real estate agent. The CMA is compiled from data in your region’s multi-list service; it includes the most up-to-date sales information about similar homes in your neighborhood.
Tip 2. Speaking of real estate agents, choose a good one.
Interview at least three brokers in your neighborhood and ask for their top selling agents. Ask each one to present a comprehensive marketing plan that explains precisely how they’ll market your home. Cross-reference the comparative market analyses they prepare before you list with one of them. Some real estate brokerages have agents who specialize in working with seniors selling their home. They undergo special training and are experienced in issues that arise with older home sellers. They’re designated as Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES), and you can search for one in your area here.
Tip 3. Curb appeal is real.
If the front of your home isn’t dressed to impress, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. If your house needs siding repair, or a new mailbox, or a paint touch-up here and there, it’s important to take care of it. Give special attention to your front door. Cleaning, fresh paint, or restaining are absolutely worth the effort. Consider new knob and latch hardware, and perhaps a brass kickplate. Pruning overgrown bushes, removing organic debris, and keeping the lawn healthy and trimmed can go a long way toward making your house look attractive to home buyers. Colorful flowers also add interest and make the home more beautiful. If this type of outdoor work is too challenging for you now, consider hiring a landscaping professional.
Tip 4. Make those minor repairs.
People choosing a new home have high expectations. If they see a cracked windowpane, leaky faucet, or broken light fixture, it will cause them to question whether you’ve taken good care of this property. And if they do make an offer, they’ll probably stipulate that you fix these items before closing. The same goes for larger repairs like a malfunctioning water heater or AC unit. Better to correct these issues now. You might hire a handyman to take care of smaller problems, or a reliable contractor for larger projects or replacements. If you make these repairs before you list, you should be able to recoup the expense in your asking price. Get advice from your agent on which repairs will maximize the value of your home.
Tip 5. Rightsizing is the right choice for you now.
Dealing with a lifetime of possessions isn’t easy, and it’s best done gradually and consistently. Whatever your future plans may be, retired people generally don’t need every last thing they’ve accumulated. Plan on selling, donating, discarding, or storing unneeded items to reduce the volume you’ll have to move. Using stickers in different colors for donating, gifting, storing, and keeping makes the process go much more quickly. If you plan to move into independent senior living, examine the floor plans of residences you’re likely to choose to help determine how much furniture will fit. When the time comes to show your house to prospective buyers, keep in mind that you’re showing your home, not your possessions. Potential buyers will attempt to picture their own possessions, not yours, in the house.
Tip 6. Find other professionals to help.
Home stagers showcase your home’s space in its best possible light by giving each room the look of professional interior design. Can staging boost your home’s perceived value and lead to less time on the market? It’s possible, but not necessarily verifiable. You can be sure other sellers in your area will be trying it though. At the very least, think about putting much of your furniture and personal items in storage when your home is listed for sale. Doing so will make each space appear larger, and let buyers better imagine how their own belongings will fit in. Your listing will likely have an online component through the broker’s website, so you’ll want the best photos possible. Hire a professional photographer who will light and shoot your home to make the rooms look larger and brighter. You might also enlist the aid of a Senior Move Manager to help plan, organize and execute your move after your home sells. The National Association of Senior Move Managers has a search tool that will help you find one close to you.
Tip 7. An investor group will buy your house sight unseen.
This option isn’t for everyone, but it’s something senior home sellers should know about. There are companies that buy houses for cash, and don’t care whether it needs repairs or major updates. You’d be selling at a discounted price — usually 50%-60% of the highest possible market value — to get rid of it quickly. There’s no preparation and no stress for you. There are no mortgage approvals, inspections, or counteroffers. Just take the belongings you want and leave the rest. A cash home buyer will handle fees, cleaning, and repairs. You might schedule a home visit to learn more about “as is” sales and get an idea of what these investors are willing to pay in your area. You should also speak with a trusted real estate broker or financial advisor to determine if this is a good option for you. Here’s an example of one such company.
Next up? Canterbury Court.
We’re experiencing the best market for senior home sellers we’ve seen in years. Moving to an independent senior living residence at Canterbury Court will simplify your life and open up a world of new experiences to you. It will free you from the worries and challenges of homeownership and lead to a healthier lifestyle. We invite you to contact us anytime to arrange your visit.