According to the 2015 United States of Aging Survey, 58% of older adults (60+) have not changed residences in over 20 years and 75% say they intend to live in their current homes for the rest of their lives. Home improvements and modifications help seniors adapt, enable them to have ease of living, and age in place. As the daughter of a 92 year old, who is fiercely independent and plans to stay in her home as long as possible, I can relate.
Sometimes, the best made plans can go awry and a single incident can turn those plans into something that is no longer doable. Something happens and you’re no longer able to stay in the home. You may need to downsize, maybe move to one-level living ,or to an independent or assisted living community. As a REALTOR®, who specializes in working with the senior sector, one the most asked questions I get, when those plans no longer work, is “I need to sell my house, and I don’t know where to start. What next?” For those 58% of folks who have lived in their home for over 20 years, the process of selling a home can be overwhelming and intimidating. The real estate industry is a rapidly changing one, not only with regards to market conditions, but laws change, regulations change, and required disclosures and paperwork constantly change.
So what about the “What next?” when you find yourself in a situation of having to sell? My first advice is to hire a professional. Your real estate professional will walk you through the steps of getting your home ready to market. My last article on “Downsizing Rightsizing” talked about getting control of our stuff and making those decisions about how to determine what is important to us, when we are downsizing and making choices about what items to keep.
You may decide to sell your home “as is” or there may be some updates that could be made that would make your home sell faster and for more money. In a buyer’s market, such as the one we are in now in the Roanoke area, competition can be fierce. Your agent can give you advice on how best to move forward when putting your home on the market.
Pricing is critical and is based on analyzing the home, taking into account similar homes that have sold recently, and positioning the price relative to what is currently on the market. Market value is basically what a ready, willing, and able buyer would be willing to pay for the home given the current market conditions.
Once your home is on the market, your agent will work with you on coordinating showings and making sure that potential buyers are qualified to buy. She will handle the negotiating of any offers and upon acceptance of an offer will work through any inspection issues and all of the ensuing paperwork and possible challenges, thereby simplifying the process for you
Your agent will work with your best interests in mind and will be with you every step of the way. If at all possible, work with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®). These agents have training in working with the very special needs of the senior home seller.