Plan ahead now for a quicker, simpler move later.
Leaving a house that’s been lived in for 40 or 50 years can be difficult. But sometimes, a future move is in the best interest for you, your family and your health. Leaving your house to find a new home that better serves your needs can be a long process but starting early—even if you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge—can ease stress down the road.
Leslie Frye, realtor with RE/MAX Advantage has been in the home business since 2005. She recently obtained a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) certification, which is available to real estate agents who have demonstrated the necessary knowledge and expertise to counsel clients older than 50 through major financial and lifestyle transitions in relocating, refinancing or selling the family home.
According to Leslie, picking a realtor who understands you and your unique needs is the first step toward a successful move.
“The population is aging; baby boomers are retiring—I’m a baby boomer myself,” said Leslie. “The bulk of the population is getting ready to retire or is retiring, and that’s just the law of averages that brings more seniors into my path.”
The next step to preparing a house to sell is decluttering. It’s best to allow plenty of time for this process, as aging adults often accumulate a great deal of material things, many which hold sentimental value. Leslie suggests bringing in a neutral party to help homeowners sort through their things and determine the best way to dispose of unwanted items.
“Downsizing and cleaning out is necessary in many cases to sell the home; the home shows better when people can see the most floor space” said Leslie.
Next, take note of any aesthetic maintenance that needs to be done. “Have someone help assess the condition of the property evaluating it for deferred maintenance that can impact the sale price,” said Leslie. Things like tidying landscaping, painting the trim and cleaning the gutters can be an afternoon project for a family member or hired help, and can increase home value significantly.
On the other hand, more permanent changes to a home such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars in bathrooms have the potential to decrease home value. Leslie recommends seriously evaluating your longevity in that house before adding anything. Permanent changes to the accessibility of the home may be a signal that it’s time to move sooner rather than later.
Finally, Leslie says it’s important to keep an eye on the market. “It’s been a sellers’ market for a while, inventory is low, and buyers are competing to buy.” As sure as a pendulum
swings, the market can shift as well. Similarly, many real estate agents suggest listing a home to sell in the spring and summer, as there is generally more activity in the market during the warmer months. Planning ahead means you can list your home at the optimal time, increasing chances that it will sell quickly.
If you have been considering a change, talk with your family and friends to see if now is the right time to start simple steps so your house is ready to sell when you’re ready to move. Remember, a move in residency can be exciting from meeting new neighbors to designing and decorating a new living space.
“When all is said and done, so many people are excited after a move: they have new friends, new activities and they don’t have to drive to get to things,” said Leslie.