What seniors should know about selling their homes**Editor’s Note: This older blog article cites the value of the SRES accreditation (American), but we recommend seeking real estate agents certified by the Accredited Senior Agent Program (ASA), a Canadian program.
Ok so you and your family have finally made the decision to sell your home and move on, now what? Are you aware of all the options available to you? Will you consider moving in with an adult son or daughter who can help you with your needs as you grow older? Or perhaps you are considering moving to a senior supportive environment.
Many seniors would prefer to continue living in their own home, aging in place. Sometimes circumstances work against those preferences. Whatever the reason, there may come a time when parents, along with their adult children consider selling and moving on.
Unique issues and complex decisions
Selling a senior’s home really is different and can be much more complicated. You will most likely be dealing with several unique issues and complex decisions during the process. Though seniors usually make the decision to sell, it is not uncommon for their adult children to be involved in the process.
See your house as an investment
Once the decision to sell has been made you need to start looking at the home as an investment. That involves selling the home for the most money, in the shortest time and with the least amount of inconvenience.
For most people a home represents the largest part of their net worth so getting the maximum price for the home is of utmost importance. Many seniors will be living on a fixed income; therefore the equity in their home becomes an integral part of their overall financial plan.
Put together an action plan to effectively market your property for top dollar.
Consult with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist
The issues facing senior citizens when selling their home are much different than for younger people, and most real estate agents have little idea how to resolve them. A mistake can be very costly, and for that reason any senior looking to sell their home should consult with a specialist. This professional should maintain a network of other senior-focused professionals who can assist in tax counseling, financial and estate planning, and other aspects of the sale and move.
Create a marketing plan
Once you have selected an agent that you feel confident about and are comfortable working with, it is now time to put together a marketing plan for the home.
Comparative Market Analysis
The first step is to have your agent prepare a CMA (comparative market analysis). This is a key piece of information as it compares your property—the subject property—with other homes in the area known as the comparables.
The CMA will compare your home against other homes that have sold in the last 90 days, are currently listed for sale or that did not sell in the last 90 days where the listing has expired and terminated.
Determine your listing price
Once the agent evaluates the information and makes the necessary adjustments to make the subject property as close to the comparables as possible, it is time to determine a listing price for the property.
Under pricing and over pricing
Many seniors, once they decide to make the move, often make the mistake of “under pricing” the property in order to secure a fast sale. This is not recommended and should be discouraged.
In order to sell the property for maximum dollar, caution must also be taken not to “over price” the property either. This is also a very dangerous strategy as it will assist in selling other properties in the area.
Pricing and Buyers
Pricing a property within the recommended range will bring in around 75-80 percent of prospective buyers. Even in a hot market pricing the property too far above market value will limit showings as only 5-10 percent of all eligible home buyers will see the home. Listing the home below market value will guaranty that 100% of potential home buyers will see the home but again this is a very dangerous area. The public will perceive this to be a bargain which could result in the seller getting far less than what the home is worth. Selecting a proper listing price is one of the most important factors when selling a home.
Seller’s market or buyer’s market?
During the listing of your home your agent should have discussed the current market conditions presently being experienced in your area. You should have a general understanding of how the local real estate market works, along with the forces and influences affecting your local real estate market at the present time.
Questions like whether it is a seller’s or buyer’s market should be answered. Perhaps the market is more balanced. If so, your agent should be able to tell you what effect this will have on the price and the average number of days it takes to sell a home like yours.
Listing on MLS
Another important factor when marketing the home is to list the property on MLS. The multiple listing service is a very important tool to help gain maximum exposure because it markets the property to all the other realtors who are members of the real estate board. It also gives the public access through the public MLS site that is supported by the real estate board and its members.