Having lived in your home for most of your life, the decision to sell your house does not come easily. The prospect of purging years of mementos and collections and retaining an experienced realtor whom you deem trustworthy is no less than overwhelming.
While The Aitken Home Team is fiercely protective of all clients, seniors are especially esteemed and encouraged to adhere to five simple steps for selling a home:
1. Trust Your Instincts
The most successful real estate transactions begin with hiring the “right” agent, the one whom you feel you can trust. Seniors often face circumstances that differ greatly from those of their successors, therefore it is important to seek a realtor who has experience and success in assisting senior clients. Approximately 20,000 real estate agents in the United States specialize in working with senior clientele and are trained to advocate accordingly. They are known as “SRES®” and are experts at marketing older homes and supporting relocation services. These unique specialists are experienced at handling senior financing and providing top-notch service on an individualized basis. There are also many experienced agents who are not a part of SRES, however, it is important to follow your gut when searching for an agent who will best meet your needs.
2. Know Your Timeline
Timelines are imperative to successful life decision making. Make sure you are mentally prepared to accept your future transition and start making a list of tasks that should be performed prior to listing your home on the market. Schedule a timeframe in which each specific item is to be completed and stick to it. Enlist the help of family, neighbors, and friends if possible and get to work! Make sure to factor in professional services such as painting, landscaping, professional cleaning, home organizer, and other maintenance specialists. Such professionals can be quite busy and getting someone to come to your home on a specific day might be tricky!
3. Purge, Purge, Purge
Memories are attached to much of what we as homeowners acquire over the years. It is, however, crucial to the home staging process that excess be purged. The goal of downsizing your home also pertains to your collectibles as your house needs to become a desirable product once it hits the market. In the event that other homes in your neighborhood or on your street might be listed in tandem with yours, it is important that your residence be set apart from the rest of the inventory. Be sure to remove anything you do not need, sell off excess furniture, clean out the garage and attic and declutter the yard as well. Remove cracked flower pots, old fencing, and anything else that makes your property look less than spectacular.
Consult your realtor regarding appropriate staging for your home. This particular step could cost up to one to three percent of your home’s final sale price, however, it stands to produce a return of eight to ten percent. Successful staging could also increase the value of your home! Consult your realtor today in order to learn the benefits of successful staging.
4. Consult Your Trusted Financial Advisor
Be sure to consult your financial advisor in order to best understand your current financial status. Perhaps you will need a bridge loan or other financial means in order to make necessary repairs or updates prior to listing your home. You might even need to hire a professional cleaning service or a home organizer to assist with the purging process. Part-time help might be necessary in order to perform outdoor tasks and you need to know how much you can afford and what you might possibly need to gain in order to benefit from a home sale. If you do not have a financial advisor, many assisted living facilities, senior centers, and senior living communities can offer helpful guidance or a good reference.
5. Make Future Plans
No one knows the future and circumstances can sometimes change on an hourly basis. It is important to plan ahead to the extent which is possible as health circumstances could arise, the housing market might change or the family could become ill. Be sure to consider what “might” happen while maintaining the optimism of what “could” be. Selling your home is sure to be a bitter-sweet experience, however, you do not want to face this when you are backed into a corner. At the very least, have a tentative future plan and design a road map for achieving goals in order to bring the plan to fruition when the time is right. In addition, have an idea of where you are going once your home is sold. Consider all scenarios: assisted living, a senior community, independent living, apartment, condo, house, living with family, etc. This allows for mental and emotional preparedness and will make future transitions less “bumpy”.