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!

Senior Living December 2, 2021

Help Your Retiring Parents Buy a Home

While there has been much hubbub about the Millennials’ potential to change the housing market, it is retiring baby boomers who are in control right now. If your parents are among the people looking for a new home to enjoy retirement in, you can help them.

Freddie Mac recently found that baby boomers are the dominant demographic in the housing market. While Millennials were expected to be behind the majority of real estate sales this year, it seems baby boomers are giving them a run for their money. The company surveyed 4,900 homeowners born before 1961. These individuals control two-thirds of the home equity in the U.S., and 40 percent of them hope to move at least once more. If your parents are among these market-shaping seniors, then they may to be looking for a new residence. With interest rates as low as they are, the time is right for homebuyers with good credit.

However, the cost of health care and the limits of Social Security and retirement savings may make it more difficult to afford a home. Lending standards are strict, and medical debts and small retirement incomes are difficult to work around. One of the best things people can do for their parents in this financially difficult environment is to offer help with the homebuying process. explained a few of the ways you can help your parents buy a new home:

Purchase it yourself and charge rent
One option is to buy the home yourself and charge your parents rent. This way they don’t have to deal with strict lending standards nor do they have to raid their savings for a sizable down payment. In addition, this is an opportunity for you to invest in a property and gain equity without worrying about your tenant. It is important, though, to set rent prices at levels comparable to nearby properties. Otherwise, the Internal Revenue Service could start poking around.

Buy the home and don’t charge rent
If you’re feeling especially generous and are in need of a second home, you could buy the home for your parents and forgo charging rent. There are tax advantages to buying a home for your mom and dad. If you opt for this arrangement, the government will allow you to deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes on your home. In this case, it would be best to keep the title of the home in your name to avoid a gift tax.

Co-sign the mortgage
The first two options require buying a home, but the third necessitates co-signing a loan instead. Your own credit might be enough to offset the impact of smaller retirement income or other financial problems retirees face. Parents often prefer this option, since it offers them some financial independence relative to the other two choices. In addition, you won’t have to shell out much of your own cash in this arrangement.

Medical expenses and retirement income and savings limitations have created difficult circumstances for some baby boomers who hope to buy a home. Luckily, their children can step in and help by purchasing the properties themselves or co-signing mortgages. This way, baby boomers can move into homes that suit their retirement lifestyles.

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Senior Living November 25, 2021

Tips to help you downsize

You make the call and I am here to sell your home so that you can move to a smaller house close to family. I’ve got the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to help make your move a smooth one.

When I get to your house to help you with staging, there is an overwhelming amount of items cluttering your home. Just like that, what you thought would be a smooth process has now become a lot more difficult. You start thinking, “Where is all this stuff going to go? This will never fit in a smaller home or condo.”

This scenario is very familiar. This is my job to help my clients with downsizing. I chose this article because it gives useful tips on getting ready to downsize.

I also include some helpful local Cincinnati links at the bottom of the post that are great resources to help you, consign, donate and/or eliminate the “stuff.”

Now your house is cleared out and ready for the market, you are in the best position to sell your home.

Tips to help downsize

Don’t give up yet! Helping downsize and get rid of some bigger items can be a lot easier than you think. Here are some tips to help simplify the process.

Stay on task and on schedule

When you begin to think about downsizing, it’s important to stay on task and adhere to a specific time-line or check list. It’s easy to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to worry about where all that stuff is going to go once moving day comes. However, the longer you put it off, the more stressful things can get.

Plan for the new space

To begin, plan ahead by figuring out how much space will be available in your new home. It is helpful if you have a floorplan available that you can take a look at. An idea of how much space you will have can help narrow down which items will make the move with them.

Use a tagging system to categorize items

From there, work to separate and tag the items that will stay behind into different categories. What items can be donated? What items will be sold? What items can go to children or other family members? Creating a tagged system like this can streamline the downsizing process and will help keep you organized.

While figuring out which items will go where, try to be objective. Many people attach memories to their belongings, making it hard for them to say goodbye. What may look like a piece of junk to some, may have sentimental value to you. Keep what is important and eliminate what you no longer need or use. Sentimental items can be stored in a special container or space if they are too difficult to eliminate.

Help get belongings where they need to go

Once you have finished deciding on where everything will go, it’s time to get everything to its respective place or new owner. You may have family members or friends nearby that will be willing to assist with getting these items where they need to go, but in the case that they do not, you can hire a downsizing professionals or a moving company to take on the burden of transporting everything.

As space clears up in your home, and moving day approaches, you’ll be thankful that you had an SRES® agent like myself to help them navigate through the downsizing process.  I am here every step of the way.

Helpful links in Cincinnati Ohio for downsizing

This article originally appeared on the National Association of REALTORS® website. As a REALTOR® with the Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Designation, I find their blog full of helpful information and you can see more here.  

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I have not verified any of the information contained in those documents that were prepared by other people.
Senior Living November 25, 2021

Preparing your home for Aging in Place

As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I am frequently called to meet with my friends, clients and their families about the various housing options for seniors. Aging in place is an option many people choose.

While there’s plenty of snowbirds that choose a warmer climate to move to, there’s also a growing number of seniors that are choosing to stay in their own homes or to purchase a smaller more accessible home in the same area or closer to family.  I feel that this article is helpful because it addresses the option of aging in place. After reading the article, I believe you will be closer to determining if this option is right for your family.  I am always available to meet with you and your family to explore the many options available to our seniors.

How to prepare your home for aging in place

Though aging in place doesn’t necessarily constitute a big move, like migrating south might, there are still plenty of considerations to remember to make sure the home is manageable and comfortable to live in as you get older.

Layout considerations

Whether you are staying in your own home or moving to a slightly smaller home in the same area, it’s important to make sure your home has the right layout in order to make mobility and accessibility easy. A one-story floor plan, or a floor plan where your bedroom and necessary facilities are on the first floor works the best for aging in place, as it’s possible you may need a walker or wheelchair at some point.

Accessibility adjustments

Consider making other adjustments, including handrails in bathrooms for additional stability assistance, and widening doorways to accommodate a wheelchair, should you need it in the future. Swapping doorknobs for lever handles could also help, in case you run into any arthritis or joint issues in your hands and wrists.

Think about your location

Aside from making sure the home is easy to move around in, and accessible in case you have any health issues, you’ll also want to consider the location. It’s important to make sure that the area you’re planning to age-in-place in is close to medical facilities, senior support facilities, and has a good public transportation system, just in case you’re not able to drive in your later years. Proximity to friends, family members, and activities that you enjoy could also be something to consider if maintaining relationships and social circles is important to you.

Keep your yard manageable

Other things you may want to think about as you decide if your home is right to age in place in could include the size and manageability of your yard, the age and condition of your home, and the safety of your neighborhood. Lots that are large and a little worn down could prove to be more troublesome as you age and aren’t able to perform some of the tasks needed for upkeep. If you are planning to move to a new home to age-in-place, you may want to consider somewhere with a small yard, or a community where lawn and house care are available or provided.

Though for many people aging in place may be the ideal plan for retirement, it may not always be feasible. Checking through the above considerations can help you plan and adjust to make sure your home will suit your needs as you get older.

This article originally appeared on the National Association of REALTORS® website. As a REALTOR® with the Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Designation, I find their blog full of helpful information and you can see more here.  

A short bio and link to About Me page.