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Seniors and downsizing III: 6 Considerations a Realtor will Help With


Selling a home is always a challenge especially for seniors who have lived in the same place several years, even decades.  When considering selling you current residence seniors may find that it is less stressful to make the move into the new home first, taking only the items that are truly necessary and enjoy using, letting others handle the work to prepare the home to be ready for showing, even to the point of having a garage sale and  actually marketing the property. Another reason to move to a new home first is that buyers often want to view a home at a time which is best for them – and that time may not be convenient for a senior seller.  Thus, if you have moved into your new home, you won’t have that stress of leaving at an inconvenient time while the property is being shown.

One of the more difficult things to accept in selling a home is the fact that what you have lived with and loved for many years may not appeal to a new purchaser.  Certainly, you can decide that your home was perfect for you and you have no desire to figure out what might appeal to someone else. However, some thought should be given to deciding what to do to fix up a home which might help maximize the value of a home by having it in good shape. Generally, homes which sell more rapidly at a higher price are ones that are fresh and bright.

Another consideration is that your home may be in an excellent location but the improvements you made are not the amenities and style today’s buyer desires. If your home is probably going to be used only for a new home site then your considerations are different versus what you would do to a home where the floor plan better suits the needs of today’s buyers. These latter buyers might continue to use the property, even if they add upgrades.

Take one Sunday afternoon, go to some open houses in your neighborhood and see what the prices are for properties similar to yours.  It is difficult to appreciate the selling prices for homes in some areas, especially if you have not been in the real estate market in quite a while.  Agents who are holding homes open are always happy to discuss the market with you.  This is all a part of your learning process.

Another help would be finding a Realtor whom you know or following the advice of someone you respect and follow his or her recommendation in this regard.  It can be helpful to visit with two or possibly three agents to see who best fits your profile:  one who is willing to spend time talking with you about the value of your home, how to maximize its value, what might or might not be an appropriate expenditure to prepare your home for sale and how to best maximize the value of your property.

Remember that in all probability the asset in your home may be one of your larger assets.  You want to be careful that you maximize that value, so you don’t want to rush into any decisions. Where you decide to choose a new home and what you do with your current home are all decisions which require some thought. Having family, good friends or legal or financial consultation all help to make this a well thought out plan and one which won’t leave you saying, “Oh, if only I had done this differently”. Think carefully and then make your decisions.  These will tend to be the ones with which you will be happy and not harbor regrets.

One other matter which you should learn more about are the costs of a sale.  If your earnest money contract says that you are selling for $100,000 for example, you will not leave the closing table with $100,000.  There are the costs of the sale which much be taken into account. This is another place where a Realtor can be helpful.  Generally, the costs of a sale will run about 7% of the selling price.  If you owe any money on the property, that, too, needs to be considered in determining the net number you will realize from the sale.

A little forethought and care in thinking about these decisions will provide a solid result which you can look back on with pleasure.  Enjoy the process as you move on to this new stage in your life.  Find the joy in change which can open new horizons and keep you vital. Moving to a new place is most always a challenge, but even more so as we age. I would love to help you with your move, or even a brief consult, putting my forty-plus years of experience at your disposal. You can reach me, Mary Kay Casey, at 713-297-5653.