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Selling Your House for Top Dollar Before Moving Into Senior Living

happy senior couple walking in their retirement community

Most experts are predicting a housing market rebound this year. If you’re moving into a senior living community, this spring could be the ideal time to sell. Of course, if you’ve lived in your home for decades, some things may have changed since the last time you were in the real estate market. Not to worry, here are some suggestions and tips to help ensure you get the most for your home.

Your Real Estate Professional

Working with a skilled real estate agent who knows your local market inside and out can help you sell your home more quickly, and often, for more money. An experienced agent will have connections that could help you find the right buyer. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple agents. You’re more likely to find a better fit by exploring several options. Once you’ve found an agent you like, verify their license with your state’s department of real estate. Also, check their online reviews or ask about previous clients that you could contact as references. When you begin reaching out to prospective agents, let them know what your ideal closing timeline is to see if it’s realistic and how they can help you meet it.

Know Your Home’s Current Value

Finding the right balance between pricing your house too high (and scaring off potential buyers) and too low (not getting top dollar) can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t kept up on the real estate prices in your neighborhood. A good place to start is with the comparative market analysis (CMA) from your real estate agent. The CMA is compiled from data in your region’s multilist service and includes the most up-to-date sales information about similar homes in your neighborhood.

You can also research online real estate websites like Zillow and see what homes with similar features and square footage have sold for recently. Keep in mind that you might want to raise this number if your home is objectively more desirable (for example, if it’s on a quiet cul-de-sac) or move it down if it’s less desirable (such as if the roof needs to be replaced).

Your real estate agent can also help you determine the right pricing strategy for your market. Depending on what they think, you may even want to underprice your home a little because if enough buyers are enticed, a bidding war could break out, allowing you to make more than you originally expected.

Downsize and Declutter

Dealing with a lifetime of possessions isn’t easy. Before you list your home, plan on selling, donating, discarding or storing unneeded items to reduce what you have to move. Using stickers in different colors for donating, gifting, storing and keeping makes the process go much more quickly. If you plan on moving to a senior living community, examine the floor plans of residences you’re likely to choose to help determine what to take. If you don’t have the time or physical ability to take care of this on your own, your agent probably knows who you could hire to clean and declutter for you. If your budget is tight, consider asking friends or family for help.

Remove Personal Items

When the time comes to show your house to prospective buyers, keep in mind that you’re showing your home, not your possessions. Since potential buyers will attempt to picture their own possessions in the house when viewing your home, now is the perfect time to pass on unneeded furniture and other heirlooms to family members.

Minor Repairs are a Must

Buyers today prefer homes in move-in condition. If your old water heater or stained carpet needs replacing, it’s best to do it now and make that a positive selling point. Houses wear out over time, and deferred maintenance can make selling your home more difficult. Make a list of everything that needs to be repaired or replaced, from leaky faucets and toilets to broken light fixtures.

Curb Appeal is Real

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Some easy updates that really improve curb appeal and really up your home’s charm include touching up exterior paint, adding window flower boxes, installing a new mailbox, and adding mulch around shrubs and trees. If this type of outdoor work is too challenging for you now, consider hiring a landscaping professional.

Make Your Home a Stage

After you’ve cleaned and decluttered, you can make it even easier for buyers to imagine themselves in your home. Be sure to remove objects and clutter that visually shrink a room, such as large ottomans or too many plants, and remove everything from the kitchen counters except for one or two new-looking appliances. Also, don’t forget to stage the deck or patio. Depending on your budget and moving timeline, you may want to consider hiring a home staging professional. Stagers can work with what you have or supply rented furniture and decor. While it’s possible to stage a home yourself, professionals will have experience with layout and design, and they know the tricks that can win buyers over.

Take Professional Listing Photos

Many buyers first see homes online, so having excellent photos is key. Here are suggestions for taking real estate listing photos:

  • Clean, declutter and stage before taking pictures
  • Take pictures in early morning or early evening light (also known as the golden hour)
  • Lighten dark areas of your home with supplemental lighting
  • Frame and crop every shot
  • Take wide-angle shots (but not so wide that they’re distorted or misleading)
  • Provide more than one perspective of each room
  • Have a logical order to your photos, starting with an attractive exterior shot

When the Time Arrives to Show Your Home

Realtors and potential buyers have certain expectations when they come to view your home. The house should be “showroom ready” with no dirty dishes anywhere in the kitchen, no visible pet food, all the beds made, and so on. Ideally, you should leave the house to ensure privacy for prospective buyers and an opportunity for the selling agent to talk up your property. Remember, having fewer items in the home makes each room appear larger. Leave your closets at least one-third empty. In bedrooms, no more than three items: the bed, a night table and a dresser. If you need to temporarily store some furniture off-site, go ahead and do it. Your home will show better. Buyers also want to see that a home has plenty of natural light, so remove heavy draperies and open the blinds.

There’s an Easier Alternative

You can also sell your home with far less effort by simply selling it as is. Some companies buy houses for cash, and they don’t care whether the house needs repairs or major updates to make it sell for top dollar. Some seniors find this to be the easiest option to get their homes sold quickly. Unlike a conventional home buying process, these sales don’t involve mortgage approvals, inspections and counteroffers. The offers come from individual or group investors who buy houses in your area. You can schedule a home visit to get an idea of what these investors are willing to pay, but you should also speak with a trusted real estate broker or financial adviser to determine if this is a good option for you.

Make Home Maintenance a Thing of the Past

Selling a home after many years of living in one place can be emotionally and physically challenging. Some seniors face physical limitations that can make packing up and staging a home difficult. If you live in an older property, making upgrades and performing deferred maintenance may be necessary but challenging for you to complete. Whether you decide to list your home on the open market with a realtor or sell it as is to an investor, your emotions will be running high. This may have been the family home where you raised your children, and saying goodbye can be hard. It’s important to remember why you’re selling and to look forward to your next chapter.

Enjoy Your Future at Lake Port Square

Moving to an independent living residence at Lake Port Square will simplify your life and open up a world of new experiences to you. It will free you from the worries and challenges of homeownership and lead to a healthier lifestyle. Discover lakeside living at its best. Just contact us here, or call 352-585-9352.