When is a Senior Seller Really a Seller?

This is the fourth in a series of posts on assisting seniors and their families during transition. Read the first post here, the second post here and the third post here

seniors-sub-earnThe decision to make a senior move is a long process. Unless an emergency or dire circumstance occurs, the actual acceptance may fall behind the original “lip service” approval.  Many elders harbor the belief that they can “age in place.”  For some, who have the economic means or proper family assistance, this may be a reality. However for the majority of home owners, this is not the case.

Large homes can become both a physical and a financial burden.  Likewise, condos or apartments may also be an undesirable long-term option for seniors who have lost a partner or are in deteriorating health.

I am finding a not-so infrequent situation where seniors are acquiescing to leaving their current home, without really meaning it. Often the seller thinks they are doing all the right things, while psychologically the senior has unknown road blocks.  These elder sellers go through all of the preliminary steps. They explore their alternate living options, begin decluttering, consult their attorney and many even go so far as to meet with real estate agents, select one and put their house on the market.  The question is: are they really ready to make the move or are they practicing “Fantasy Real Estate?”

The rules of Fantasy Real Estate may not be readily apparent: but as the process begins they quickly become evident.  Here are a few signs that the seller is actually less than willing to sell:

  • Is the property priced realistically?
  • When given feedback that the market is not responding favorably to the price does the owner resist a price adjustment?
  • Does the seller set up an arbitrary price below which they will not sell?
  • Is the house difficult to show?
  • Are the time frames for showing unrealistic?
    • If the showing guidelines are too restrictive and the property can only be shown in good weather, this is not a co-operative seller.
    • When the seller insists on being present at all showings even though a licensed Realtor accompanies the prospective this may be an unwillingness of the owner to give up control.

These are but a few of the signs that non-sellers send out when they aren’t comfortable with the decision to make the move.  Not only must seniors and their families acknowledge this phenomena but the listing agent must also be savvy.  It is not fair to the seller to persist for too long in this unsuccessful marketing attempt. It also is not fair to the buyers, their agent or to the listing agent. A key factor in Senior Transitions may involve a heart to heart with all parties involved in the actual listing. Sellers and members of their support systems must agree not to proceed until Fantasy Real Estate becomes Real Estate.

Dr. Ann Meyerson is an agent at William Raveis in Westport, Conn. and specializes in helping seniors and their families during real estate transitions. She has been featured as an industry expert on Channel 12 News and has hosted the Real Estate Forum on Channel 88. Ann shares her professional time between Connecticut and Florida where she is actively involved in Senior Transitions and is affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. You can learn more from Dr. Ann Meyerson on FacebookTwitter,LinkedInYouTubeFourSquare and her blog.

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