Q. I’m helping my elderly relatives transition to a senior living community—what kind of steps need to be done to make this go as smoothly as possible?
A. The first step is to contact one or two experienced realtors to obtain a market analysis of your property. Make appointments so they can preview the home, and then return with a written report to review with you and your family. This report will include information on comparable properties in the area that have recently sold, and will also include properties that are still on the market or under contract; that will give you an idea of what your home is worth. In addition, a good REALTOR® will be able to educate you about local market conditions that may affect your home’s value, and will give you information on sellers’ closing costs so you know how much equity to expect once the home closes title after you accept an offer.
Q. What kind of resources can I contact to help me plan this transition?
A. This is an excellent question! In the past decade, a new specialty has sprung up with the growth of senior living communities, assisted living facilities, independent apartments and other types of housing being created for our aging population. There are now senior transition specialists—small companies whose sole purpose is to work with older homeowners as they prepare for this often-traumatic transition from the home they have lived in for decades to a newer, smaller space that will fit their health and living needs. They are skilled professionals who listen carefully to each client’s individual needs, work with them to downsize possessions by packing, decluttering and/or donating, and help them plan what to take with them to the new apartment or smaller house by drawing up floor plans and measuring furniture, paintings, etc.
They also coordinate the move, if needed, and supervise the whole process from beginning to end. As Kesha Davis of KD Relocation Solutions says: “We offer planning, coordinating and supervising services to reduce the stress of moving.” Very often, the owner’s children will work with them, or simply hire them to help maintain delicate family relationships and assist when children or other relatives don’t live nearby.
In addition, there are companies who come to run tag/estate sales, price items for auction and help clear out a house prior to listing it or after it goes into contract. Each property is different, and your real estate agent will be able to advise what approach would be best for you and your family.
Q. Is there a time of year when we should get started?
A. Certainly, more homes go on the market in the warmer months, but real estate is sold throughout the year, and in recent years, as we have enjoyed advantageous mortgage interest rates, seasonal selling becomes less of an issue. Many buyers look in the “off” months when there is less competition from buyers whose children need to finish out the school year or whose companies have not planned on transferring them until the summertime. Buyers also comprise many expanded categories beyond the traditional nuclear family—there are increasing numbers of single buyers, unmarried couples, family members looking to move in together (mother/daughter, parents living with single children, brothers and sisters, etc.), couples in the LGBT community, etc. Home ownership continues to be a big focus for anyone looking for a good investment, retirement planning, changes in family size and stability in lifestyle.
For recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact me for more information. I will help you with a comprehensive market analysis (CMA) of your home, answer any questions you have and advise you on how to approach preparing it for sale—now or anytime in the near future!
By Barbara Ostroth