Preparing a Senior’s House for a Sale
If a senior you love will be moving to a retirement community this winter, preparing their house to sell is probably a high priority. Presenting the home to prospective buyers in a positive and welcoming manner will help ensure your aging family member receives the best possible return on their investment. And we know just how important that is.
For most seniors, their home is their greatest asset. The proceeds from the sale of it are often used to finance a move to a senior living community.
So how can you help your older family member get their home ready to sell?
Here’s what the experts have to say.
7 Tips for Selling a Senior’s Home
- Getting Organized: If your loved one is moving from a private home, they’ve likely accumulated more belongings than they will have room for in their senior living community apartment. The process of sorting through everything and figuring out what to do with it all can feel overwhelming. It helps if you try to group items according to their final destination. Set up boxes and label them with those destinations, such as Move, Charity, Family, or Storage. Start by sorting items that have low emotional and monetary value to achieve some early successes before tackling your prized possessions.
- Sort and Pack: Don’t underestimate how emotional this process can be for your senior loved one. Easing in to the process is probably the best way to tackle downsizing. Try starting in the rooms used less often. The attic, the basement, an unused dining room, a formal living room and guest rooms are probably the best places to start. Work your way in to the most frequently used rooms and closets of the house.
- Fix What’s Broken: Fix things that are broken. While it might seem obvious, many sellers neglect this step. It can leave buyer’s wondering what else around the house has been let go. So take time to complete all necessary maintenance and repairs.
- Interior Refresh: Once you’ve cut down on the clutter and tackled home repairs, it’s important to freshen up the home’s interior. Clean the windows so the home looks bright and cheery. Have dirty carpets cleaned. If walls are looking a little tired, a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color can give the house new life.
- Create Curb Appeal: First impressions are important in the real estate market. Make sure your senior’s house has good curb appeal. A freshly painted front door, well maintained landscaping, and a welcoming wreath can all help create a positive first impression for visitors.
- Light it Up: Place floor lights and lamps in rooms where overhead lighting is low or missing. Open up curtains and blinds to allow sunlight in. A brightly lit interior makes the home feel warm and inviting.
- Personal Items Packed: Our final piece of advice is a tip real estate agents say is an important one. Because you want prospective buyers to be able to picture themselves living in the home, pack up family photos and overly personal decor.
Senior Move Manager and Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES)
Finally, there are several groups of professionals you can turn to for help if this process feels too overwhelming or if you live too far away to help your family member.
One group is HB Move Management. They help with everything from creating a plan for what items will make the move and what won’t to overseeing the moving crew on the big day.
Realtors who have the SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist) designation are another group you might find helpful. They receive additional training in topics unique to seniors, such as reverse mortgages. You can search their database to find a local SRES professional near you.
For more information on making a move later in life, please visit our Moving & Downsizing resource center. You will find more details on our free workshops and home visit program there, in addition to our complimentary Downsizing Guide.