Moving may not be everyone’s favorite activity, but eventually we all change our address. What does this mean for seniors selling their home? Initially it might mean stressing over details and logistics, but if you approach your home sale with patience and common sense, you can simplify the process and move on to a more rewarding lifestyle in a less stressful environment like a senior living community. These six home seller tips will help you break down the elements of a successful home sale.
It’s not unusual for sentimental attachments to cloud our judgment on key decisions in selling your house today. What’s the right asking price? You may have lived in your home for years. Many of your best memories may have been made there. Does this qualify you to make an accurate assessment of its current value and the expectations of potential home buyers? Probably not. You might be willing to accept less for your home than it’s worth, or you may wait too long to accept a fair offer under the mistaken belief that higher offers will be forthcoming. To find the current price for your home so you don’t lose a sale, request a comparative market analysis, or CMA, from your real estate agent. The CMA is compiled from data in your region’s multi list service and includes the most up-to-date sales information about similar homes in your neighborhood.
What will potential buyers see when they pull up to park? If the front of your home isn’t dressed to impress, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. Curb appeal is real, and you should try to optimize the exterior appearance of your home. 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 and fresh paint or restaining are mandatory. You might also 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.
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 a real estate agent on which repairs will maximize the value of your home.
Dealing with a lifetime of possessions isn’t easy, but it must be done, and it’s worth the effort. 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 on moving to a senior living community, 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.
Some real estate brokerages have agents who specialize in working with seniors. 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. 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.
Finally, you might even consider hiring a professional home stager. The idea behind this tactic is to 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.
This option isn’t for everyone, but it’s an easy way for seniors to sell their home quickly. There are companies that buy houses for cash and don’t care whether they need repairs or major updates. You’d be selling at a discounted price — usually 50% to 60% of the highest possible market value — to get rid of it quickly. But the upside is 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 whether this is a good option for you. Here’s an example of one such company.
We’re experiencing the best market for home sellers that we’ve seen in years. It’s true that selling a home after years of living in one place can be emotionally and physically challenging. Some seniors face physical limitations that can make packing up and staging a home difficult. And if you live in an older property, making upgrades and performing deferred maintenance may be necessary but difficult for you to complete. Whether you decide to list your home on the open market with a real estate agent or sell it as is to an investor, your emotions will be running high. This may have been the family home where you raised your children, and saying goodbye can be hard. But it’s important to remember why you’re selling and to look forward to your next chapter.
Moving to an Independent Living residence at Friendship Village Senior Living 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 can even help with the process of downsizing. We invite you to meet with a Friendship Village senior living specialist to learn more. Just contact us anytime to arrange your in-person visit.