This is an ongoing series of posts on by Dr. Ann Meyerson about assisting clients through a real estate transition. Dr. Meyerson specializes in senior transition, but has been doing work recently on clients with hoarding issues. Read Ann’s other posts here.
As strange as this may sound, the process of working with elderly sellers is often two years to list and two minutes to sell. The reality of selling a home with elderly home owners is often a lengthy endeavor. The process is actually the AAA of Moving. Each phase of the transition involves the prospective sellers and their support group working together to make the transition, the actual sale and move go as smoothly as possible.
Anticipating the move involves the physical, emotional and financial considerations of the older occupants. Are there medical reasons or handicaps that would make a transition necessary on a certain time schedule? If moving and selling is not an emergency then the owners have time to consider their options and psychologically prepare for making the move. The process can take anywhere from nine months to 3.2 years on the average. One boomer couple, in anticipation of retiring, has been flirting with their move for over five years. I periodically update the market stats, have “market conversations” with them and discuss friends’ homes that have recently sold. The latest plan is to put the home on the market for spring 2016.
Accepting the move is when everyone says “now is the time.” When I receive the call, the preparation goes into effect. We assess the condition of the property. How is it showing? Are there repairs or spruce ups needed? What about de-cluttering, clean-up or neutralizing? Getting a realistic time frame for how long this will take is important. Of course, there can be glitches to the full acceptance of the move. Plans for the next home have to be carefully considered. The existing property has to be evaluated and a written market evaluation has to be presented to establish the realistic sale price. The acceptance stage may be gradual. I like to establish a time frame which is dependent on the individual needs and the reality of economic and seasonal market conditions. With all co-operating, a house can be physically prepared quickly and if the sellers are truly emotionally ready, this phase should not be as lengthy as the anticipation phase.
Acting on the move means show time! The length of time to actually sell a property should be three to six months from start to finish. All parties need to be on board with pricing. Those involved should be in agreement and understand what it means to have a residence for sale. Discussions must be had regarding showing instructions, market conditions and the steps in the process from List to Sale. That is why it is critical to have planned the next move and made the necessary arrangements. The more educated and comfortable the owners are with the transition, the easier the negotiation and sale process will be.
When everyone is in agreement on the plan of action, the troublesome steps like dealing with building inspections, agreeing on a closing date and of course, getting an acceptable offer will go more smoothly. It is interesting to see how a beloved home can become a burden if it stays on the market too long and the owners become weary of having strangers walk through their property.
The key to a successful and timely transition involves each of the AAAs. One condo that I recently sold was in discussion for over two years. We had to get the elderly resident moved. Work could then begin on the house which included paint, minor repairs, and then getting all of the family to agree to the list price. This took several months but finally the day came to put the house on the market. As I was putting the key box on the door, a neighbor came by and identified himself as an agent. He asked if he could bring an investor buyer over. We had a full price cash offer within minutes!
The truth is it did not take two minutes to sell, it took with preparation and hard work over two years to make the move from start to finish. Fortunately, my clients and I had built a relationship based on trust and solid information; this helped to make everyone comfortable and allowed the process to go through smoothly.
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 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare and her blog.