You’ve planned for retirement living for years, and you’ve found the perfect community with a host of remarkable amenities and services. You’re 100% excited to enjoy the freedom, opportunities and fun of independent senior living. You’re also 100% ready to let go of maintenance and lawn care and home upkeep and embrace all your newfound free time.
You’re just not 100% sure where to start when it comes to getting your home ready to sell.
You probably have lots of questions, such as how to downsize in retirement, how and when to sell your home, and where you can find solid real estate advice just for seniors. Start with this list of seven things to do to get your house ready to sell. And our helpful bonus checklist to make your actual home selling process less stressful.
- Have a family talk. If you still live in the home where you raised your kids, you probably still have a lot of their belongings. Toys, high school trophies, books, boxes — things they don’t want to throw out but don’t want to take with them. Give your adult children the chance to reclaim items that belong to them, then let them know what they leave behind will be tossed out or donated.
- Think about your senior living floor plan. Remember that you may be moving from a 2,000-square-foot home with attic, garage, and basement into a 900-square-foot apartment. Not everything is coming with you. Start with the largest pieces of furniture you plan to take with you, then decide what to do with smaller and smaller pieces.
- Remind yourself of the items you no longer need. You may have a garage packed with tools or a backyard shed full of lawn and landscape equipment. Or you may have a kitchen full of gadgets and appliances. Your retirement community offers maintenance-free living, both inside and outside your home, and it also has remarkable dining options and a culinary staff. So, ask yourself, do you need that big bread maker or that tree trimmer? (Hint: The answer is usually no.)
- Find the right real estate agent for your home. A real estate agent will help you price, stage, and market your property, show it off to prospective buyers and negotiate offers for you as part of their commission. The right real estate agent should know your local market well, so they can help ensure your house is priced properly, which may earn you thousands of dollars more in the sale. If you’re looking for specific real estate advice for seniors like yourself, take your time and be picky. Ask family or friends for a good referral and meet with a few agents before choosing one.
- Get your home ready to show. Downsizing is just one component of getting your home ready for the market. Ask your real estate agent to give you suggestions on what you can do to make your home more appealing for today’s buyers. That may require updating your appliances, countertops, or hiring a painter to freshen up the colors throughout your home.
- Consider having your home pre-inspected. A home inspector can pre-inspect your home to catch any issues before you list your home. Problems like faulty wiring, plumbing issues, or an aging HVAC or roof can allow you to be proactive on repairs before a buyer’s inspector catches the problems.
- Set a realistic timeline for yourself. The downsizing and home selling process needn’t be completely overwhelming. This should be an exciting time for you, and an enjoyable phase as you transition to the freedom and independence of your senior living community. Give yourself time to work through the items in your home and deal with the range of emotions that you may experience. This may be a happy time overall, but letting go of your family home may still be an adjustment for you and your family. Try to remember why you’re selling your home, and keep in mind all the benefits waiting for you at your senior living community.
One last thing to think about: Making your move to independent living signifies a time of exciting new possibilities, hobbies and friendships. Keep your eyes on your goal of enjoying the best of independent living. Getting your home ready to sell is one important step toward the lifestyle you truly want.
Here’s a handy checklist to literally get you moving.
- Find the right real estate agent. A local real estate professional will know your market and help you understand your home’s worth.
- Depersonalize your home. Remove family photos and mementos, make your design aesthetic as neutral as possible, and take down any taste-specific decorations or furnishings. This will help potential buyers imagine themselves in your home.
- Ask about staging. Removing personal items is important but staging using contemporary furniture may also be a good idea. Your agent may recommend a professional stager who can help decorate the interior of your home to make it more appealing.
- Be sensible. Even if your home is clean and tidy, musty basements and pet smells can turn off potential buyers. Be sure to address any odors your home may have.
- Don’t forget curb appeal. Your real estate agent may suggest improving your landscaping, fixing broken sidewalks or driveways, enhancing exterior lighting, painting your garage door or replacing your mailbox. Little things like this can definitely help your home appeal to buyers before they even walk in the front door.
If you’re interested in downsizing and selling your home, and you’re looking for Life Plan Communities in the Palm Beach County area, we invite you to learn more about The Waterford. Learn more about The Waterford and the many benefits we offer our current and future residents by contacting us today.