Monday, October 28, 2019 / by Shawna Calvert
With life expectancy steadily increasing, most people will require some type of long-term care in their old age. While there are several options available, in most cases assisted living is the most practical and cost-effective choice for your older loved one. For most seniors, moving to assisted living means selling their home to cover the cost of care. Let's have a look at some important things you should know when helping to list your aged loved one's home for sale.
Selling a senior's home is just like selling any other property, right? Well, not exactly. Not only is selling a home where your loved one lived most of their life and raised a family a delicate affair but some specific technicalities need to be taken into account. That's why it's best to find a real estate agent who has experience helping seniors sell their homes when they decide to move to assisted living.
Put the Home Up for Sale in Advance
Selling a property always takes time, and selling a senior's home always requires at least extra 8-10 weeks for the relocation process. This timeframe allows the family and the senior to comfortably downsize, do some space planning for the new accommodation, find movers, pack, and eventually relocate.
Make the Property Look Attractive
When selling a home, first impressions are key. As harsh as it may sound, a lot of potential buyers can be put off by pictures of an elderly person's home and thus the house may eventually sell for less than it's worth. All real estate agents are aware of that but not all of them will give you any advice to help you make the house more sellable.
For most properties, increasing curb appeal will do the trick. You don't have to invest in costly upgrades - usually, mowing the lawn, power-washing the house from the outside, decluttering and depersonalizing the interior is enough. In addition to that, you should avoid taking pictures of old furniture, let in plenty of natural light, and photograph the property on a bright sunny day using high quality camera settings.
Consider the Finances
For most seniors, assisted living works out a lot more affordable than staying in their home, as the cost of maintaining a house and paying for in-home care can skyrocket. Assisted living fee structure is a lot more transparent and predictable in the long term than in-home care and nursing services. This makes it easier for the family to budget and project the expenses. Also, your loved one may be eligible for benefits that can cover assisted living cost in part or in full (the VA benefits are a great example).
However, the sale of your older adult's property may incur some expenses, like paying off the remaining mortgage and taxes. Plus the sale may affect eligibility for various benefits. If you're unsure of how the sale will affect your loved one's finances, consult a trusted financial advisor to make an informed decision.
Downsize the Smart Way
Downsizing is always a stressful part of moving to a senior living community because your loved one will have to make some difficult choices. Due to space limitations, seniors can bring only a few pieces of furniture and personal items to their new home. Help your loved one to choose the pieces that carry the most meaning and have happy memories associated with them. When your loved one moves, help him or her to arrange these pieces in such a way that the new home resembles the old one and feels familiar and comfortable.
Handle the Stress
Moving house is always stressful, even when you're young and full of energy. It's especially difficult for older adults, though, because they have to say good-bye to decades of memories and move to accommodation very different from what they're used to. As a senior's decision-making adult child, you'll need to stay strong and help your mom or dad handle the stress. Try to be patient, don't pressure your loved one and be considerate when you go through possessions and decide what to keep and what to sell or give away. It's also a good idea to ask a professional your parent trusts (like their doctor) to have a chat with them to help make things easier.
Selling a home full of lifetime memories and moving to a senior living community is never easy. A real estate agent who specializes in helping seniors sell their home will make the process faster, easier, and less stressful for the senior and the family.