Senior Living February 16, 2022

Helping our Senior Loved Ones Prepare their Homes for Sale

At some point our senior loved ones will be making decisions around their housing needs. Sometimes this involves staying in place, looking for a home with a first floor bedroom, exploring assisted living options and in some cases looking at nursing homes. As family members, our seniors may ask for advice when considering getting their homes ready for sale.

In this article, I will discuss the emotional impact on our seniors as well as offer practical suggestions for helping our senior loved ones prepare their homes for sale in the current real estate market.

To seniors, their homes are significant both financially and emotionally.”… home is more than just a place they live. It represents their journey, their accomplishments, their family, and the life they have created,” says the American Advisors Group’s “Importance of Home Survey.

Starting the conversation…

When working with seniors we need to take into consideration that design trends have significantly changed since most older people went through the buying process many years ago. Wallpaper, flooring, colors, patterns have all gone through transformations over the years. As an example you can see this article from House Beautiful on design trends of 2022.

The sale of a childhood home can trigger many emotions. It is bittersweet saying goodbye to a house full of memories. There will be time to grieve. You have to help them separate the home with the memories.

We need to be very sensitive when discussing how the current interior design of their home will fit into the current marketplace. With all of the home improvement and design shows out there, our seniors need to know that buyers tend to frame their taste based on what they see online or on the latest shows. These design features often conflict with styles that our seniors have grown to love. For those seniors that have lived in their homes a long time with emotional ties to their home it is very important to be cognizant of their feelings when broaching the subject of making any changes to the homes.  Seniors often see their homes through a lens that incorporates the milestones of their lives. Change is often difficult. Their homes may feel like an extension of themselves. When we tread carefully and respectfully, we will more than likely find success in helping our seniors understand how to get the highest and best price for their homes.

I always try to focus on the positive features of their home and gently discuss facts about what is currently selling and the impact on price. When the facts are presented including statistics, people tend to be more receptive to change.

According to National Association of Realtors in a 2021 publication,

  • “Forty-seven percent of buyers’ agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home.”
  • “Eighty-two percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”
  • “Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46%), followed by staging the master bedroom (43%), and staging the kitchen (35%)”.

Seniors can consider many options including doing nothing, doing light cosmetic changes such as changing paint colors and lighting, doing light renovations, to doing a full staging of the home. There is always a choice to be made.

Making sure our seniors understand the options and are informed on how the market has changed over time is an important step in the process.

We can start the discussion with suggesting potential changes to the home that could make an impact on time on the market and price. Suggestions could include:

*Deep cleaning

*Painting the front door and exterior

*Cleaning up landscaping

*Updating paint colors

*Updating light fixtures

*Replacing flooring

*Putting in new appliances

*Updating hardware

*Changing out countertops

Of Note- “Always check with local building codes if a repair requires a licensed professional”

If you are at a point of deciding that you want to help your senior begin this process, please feel free to reach out to me. I can connect you with Sibcy Cline Home Services, a resource for contractors etc.

Additional resources:

For more information on downsizing, please see my blog post: Tips to Help You Downsize.

There are also service providers such as a provider in Cincinnati – “Home Stretch” that can help with getting the home ready for the market. They can help with various stages of home preparation.

If after discussion, your senior would consider hiring a staging company, there are many to choose from in Cincinnati. As an example, Design to Market in Cincinnati offers full staging services.

A wonderful way to donate furnishings to help those in need: New Life Furniture Bank 

Photo by Blue Bird from Pexels

If you find yourself in the position of starting these conversations with a senior close to you, please feel free to reach out to me. I am here to help!