Should You Sell a Parent's Home Before or After a Move to Senior Living?
Wednesday Apr 29th, 2020
One of the decisions you will need to make once an aging parent decides to move to a senior living community is when to sell their home. Should you wait until their move is complete? Or sell the house first? While there is no right or wrong answer, each has pros and cons.
Let’s look at what to consider as you create a timeline for a loved one’s move to a senior living community.
Selling an Elder’s House Before They Move
Pro: Financial peace of mind
For many people, their house is their greatest asset. They may need proceeds from the sale to finance this transition. Even if they can liquidate other assets, an older adult may feel better knowing their house is sold and no longer their financial responsibility.
Con: Downsizing while trying to keep the house “show-ready”
Cleaning out closets, boxing up items to donate, and clearing out the basement aren’t the tidiest tasks. Keeping the senior’s home in show-ready condition during the process may be challenging.
While potential buyers may understand your situation, clutter makes the home look smaller and less appealing. It may even impact the selling price of the home.
Con: Showings can be disruptive
Living in a home when it is on the market can be tough for more reasons than keeping it ready to show. It’s fairly common for realtors to show the house with little to no warning and at odd hours.
Because many potential buyers work during the daytime, they often schedule home tours in the early morning or late evening. Finding places for your parent to go during the showings, especially if they’ve given up driving, can be challenging.
Selling a Home After the Senior’s Move
Pro: Staging for maximum profits
If you wait to list the home until after your parent moves, it will be easier to make repairs and any necessary updates. It also provides you with an opportunity to stage the home for maximum profit. If you aren’t able to complete this task on your own, hire a professional.
Professional home stagers have furniture and accessories sellers can rent to make the home look its best. That allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home, making it more likely to quickly close a deal.
Pro: Less stress for a senior homeowner
Without the rush to meet a buyer’s deadline, an older adult preparing to move can work at their own pace. They can reminisce with family members as they sort through old photos and belongings.
It also provides you and your parent with more time to plan how they will decorate their apartment or suite at the senior living community. This helps manage the relocation anxiety common among older sellers.
Con: Financial considerations
If the older adult’s home doesn’t sell as quickly as hoped, they may be stuck with unplanned expenses. A flooded basement or a broken furnace can result in expensive repairs.
You will also need to keep the utilities on while a home is for sale. Those expenses, when combined with the monthly senior living fee, can add up quickly. While senior living communities often work with financial institutions that offer short-term bridge loans, the idea of taking out a loan can be frightening for some older adults.
In a volatile real estate market, there is also the concern that a senior’s home might not fetch the price they’d like. Not knowing the final sale price can cause uncertainty for a senior seller.
Weighing Your Options
The bottom line is to carefully weigh your options. Talk with your senior loved one about which decision they are most comfortable with as you move forward.
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