The primary focus of my business is to help older adults with the process of moving from a home they have often lived in for decades. And it is a process─ sometimes, one that goes on for years. My clients know they have my full support, because I would, by far, prefer they make the decision to move when they’re ready, rather than the alternative. That is, someone else having to make that decision for them as a result of a life changing event, such as a fall or sudden change in health.
After years of helping seniors sell their homes, I have learned this: When a senior has some idea as to where they are moving to, and understands how the process works, the when becomes a decision they are much more comfortable with.
As we approach retirement age (whatever age that is), many of today’s older adults begin to experience what has been termed the “Freedom Threshold.” This is when we are no longer held down to a geographical location due to the obligations of work, children’s school, or any number of reasons. We begin to feel a freedom that we can live where we want rather than what is convenient or required. Older adults are freer to dream of pulling up stakes to move to a location that offers, what most ultimately want─ a more manageable lifestyle. For some it is a senior community, or out of state to their dream destination. For others, it is closer to their grand children (or perhaps, further away from their grandchildren). This ‘where’ is often the beginning of a compelling reason to move.
But sadly, the how to move becomes the hurdle that stops many older adults from pursuing their dreams. Many find themselves overwhelmed with questions such as, how do I prepare my home for sale? Should I fix it up? And, what do I do with all my belongings, all my treasures that I’ve accumulated over the many years? These are NOT easy questions. It is not easy decluttering a home you’ve lived in for years. What do I take? Who gets what? Do I keep this and that or do I …. throw it out? Oh my, I couldn’t!!!
There is good news. One, there is a smart strategy for attacking this hurdle. And two, there are professionals out there called Senior Move Managers who are very good at what they do. I am very fortunate to have very good companies I can call on to come to my client’s aid. They will consult and customize a comfortable and sensible plan. They will do all the packing, heavy lifting and find a home for all the items you’re ready to say good bye to. On the other end of the move, they’ll set up your new home so that it is ready for you upon your arrival.
Do I “fix up the house” for sale or not? There are sensible improvements that can be made to your home that won’t cost you more than some cleaning supplies and some elbow grease. A clean home with thoughtful furnishings and accessories is a great start. Where to put money into a home is a decision that should be carefully made with the assistance of your real estate agent. I strongly recommend locating a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) in your area. (The SRES http://www.seniorsrealestate.com/ is a designation awarded by the National Association of Realtors to agents/brokers who have completed additional education in working with the unique challenges of seniors.) There are improvements that tend to have higher payoff potential, such as painting and flooring, as well as improving the curb appeal. However, carefully consider your expenses. If you’re not expected to see an additional return from the the sale of your home of two or three dollars for each dollar you’re investing into your home, I’m not sure it makes sense. If you’ve invested $10,000, you should see an additional $20-30,000. Every home will be a little different. Consult with your real estate professional on the best way to proceed.
I encourage you to envision your next move. You may want to tour senior communities in your area, or begin to look at real estate in your dream area and discover your where. I do hope you have a plan of attack and you’re feeling resourced and you know whom to call for help on how to move. If not, contact me─ I would love to help. Ideally, you are now feeling the when to your move will be a decision that will come easier.