Are you part of the increasing percentage of women whose parents are getting older and considering (or thinking about considering) selling their home?
Whether it’s to downsize, move to a warmer climate, or move to a new type of living facility, senior moves can be very different than moves at a much younger age. Girlfriend Guru and Real Estate expert Cathy Perry shares some tips for making the sale of mom and dad’s home easier.
One of the harder facts about getting older is that our parents are aging, too. And whether it happens sooner or later, at some point Mom and Dad are going to want or need to sell the family home. Whether they are downsizing to a villa on a sunny golf course or making the decision to move to a retirement or assisted living community, selling their home is likely to be difficult for them, and possibly for you as well, especially if it is the home you grew up in. Here are some keys to selling without stress.
What to do first? Locate a real estate agent who has the “SRES” designation. SRES stands for Seniors Real Estate Specialist, and these agents both enjoy and have special training in working with the senior client. You can find agents with SRES designations on the website www.seniorsrealestate.com or www.nationalcaregiverslibrary.com. (The Caregivers Library website has tons of great resources for families who are serving as caregivers, so be sure to check it out if you’re in that situation.)
Issues frequently seen in homes owned by seniors include deferred maintenance and a need for deep cleaning, dated décor, and LOTS of stuff. So in addition to an SRES designation, an agent who works extensively with senior clients should have a large network of high quality home service providers who can address these issues as they arise – a handyman, painter, and carpet cleaner to name just a few. The SRES agent should also be happy to act as the go-to person to set up these appointments for the senior client (after obtaining all of the appropriate approvals, of course).
A practiced home stager offers valuable advice on changes that can be made to attract the largest number of today’s buyers, who have been conditioned by the media to expect perfection at a low price. A stager can work with what the client already has to make the home appeal to the widest possible buyer population, or when needed, can arrange for furniture and accessories to be rented while the home is on the market.
Several firms offer Senior Move Management services, which include having an organizer help the client and his or her family sort through family possessions and decide what to keep and what to give to other family members or to charity. They have associations with companies offering estate sale or liquidation services, or those able to appraise valuable antiques and collectibles. Some Move Managers will also pack and handle the move, and may even help the client set up their new living space so that it is immediately comfortable and feels like home!
Finally, some local retirement communities may offer a number of days of respite service, allowing the senior client to try them out before deciding if it’s the right place for them. Using a respite service such as this allows Mom or Dad to leave their home while necessary repairs and remodeling occur, alleviating the stress and potential physical dangers of staying at home while work is being performed.
So if you’re visiting Mom and Dad over the holidays, and the subject of selling the family home comes up, you can assure them that there are many great resources out there to help them through what can be a stressful process. If you find an agent that both you and your family is comfortable with, you are well on your way to a successful sale!
CATHY PERRY, our real estate guru, knows that buying or selling a home involves a lot more than looking at homes on the internet or putting a “for sale” sign in the yard. With a background as a wealth management executive and an interior design entrepreneur, Cathy brings it all together into a concierge model of real estate services designed to give her clients the highest level of service and expertise. You can find Cathy at her blog or her website.