Throughout their lives, most people will move multiple times. The move can be prompted by different reasons at various life milestones. Young people expecting children usually move into larger homes, while seniors often tend to downsize. Seeing that the needs of people who are buying and selling homes can be vastly different, we have decided to put together an article detailing home buying and selling tips for seniors.
Home selling tips for seniors
As with any home sale, there are a few typical things you should do to ensure a fast and smooth sale.
- Home inspection
Although home inspections are often recommended when buying a home, you could ask a home inspector to take a look at your property before you put it on the market. You will be informed if there are any major issues with your home or if you are obligated to repair anything.
- Stage your home
An important part of any real estate sale is taking photos for the online listing and putting your home up for sale. If you are a senior who isn’t up to date with the latest home decoration trends, you could ask a professional interior designer for tips on staging your property so that it looks its best.
- Get ready to negotiate
Negotiation is a back and forth process that can take a while before both parties are happy with the agreed closing price. Unfortunately, most people tend to overvalue their property. To get a reasonable estimate on how much your home is worth, you can look at listings of similar properties and what they are selling for. Thankfully, the home inspection you performed will let you know in advance if there are any issues the buyers could leverage to bring down the price during the negotiation.
- Declutter before the move
Moving to a new home is the perfect time to declutter and get rid of some unneeded possessions. Some seniors choose to downsize in their golden years because maintaining a smaller home is cheaper and easier. If that’s the case, you might have to downsize since a smaller home might not fit all of your current belongings. Downsizing is also recommended when you are staging your house for sale – having a tidy and clutter-free property can significantly speed up the sale.
However, getting rid of your belongings can be really emotional. You could digitize your photos and documents for easier storage. That way, multiple large photo albums can fit in one small digital device. If you have relatives who are tech-savvy, you can ask them for help in transferring the photos. Larger items you want to hold on to might need to go in storage if they won’t fit in your new home.
Home buying tips for seniors
- Finding the perfect home
When you reach your senior years, what you consider to be a comfortable home is likely to change. Ideally, you should look for a ground-level home and try to avoid stairs if you can. A yard always makes a property look welcoming, but it also requires upkeep – so you might want to look at properties that are easy to maintain.
- Consider what features you need
If you are facing any mobility issues, you can look for a home that already has some accessibility features. However, keep in mind that there aren’t too many such properties on the market, and you might need to renovate a home to fit your specific needs. You can also consult with a contractor to figure out if it’s cheaper to buy a house with the features you need or to have them install the features for you.
It is perfectly understandable if you are tired of the busy city life and want to move to a rural area. However, you need to be realistic and consider a few things before you purchase a home in the countryside. Think of all the places you need to be close to, like public transportation, hospitals or care centers, and shopping malls.
- Organize the move
Relocating to a new property doesn’t only include buying and selling a home. The move itself presents a unique set of challenges. You’ll need to organize sorting and packing and ensure that nothing gets damaged in the move. Thankfully, there are movers who are experienced in helping seniors relocate, so you’ll have no problem finding professionals that offer this service. Hiring professionals definitely beats arguing with your relatives about how they handle your valuable and fragile items.
- Settling in
After the move is over, you should take some time to get familiar with the neighborhood. Find out where all the services you will need are located. Make a list of emergency contacts and keep it handy. If you have friends or relatives living in the area, you can give them a spare copy of your house key.
It’s important to be realistic about your needs. In this article, we’ve given you home buying and selling tips for seniors and outlined what you should pay attention to. Other than that, moving to a new home as a senior isn’t different from any other move in your life. With a bit of preparation, you can avoid most of the stress and focus on the good things about your new home. If you work with trusted professionals, you can relax, knowing that you’re in good hands.
Jack Ortner is a freelance writer who mostly covers real estate topics. Originally from Michigan, Jack is a nomad who has moved more times than he likes to admit. When he isn’t working, he likes updating his travel blog.