By: Darleen Mahoney
Once it’s been decided that potentially downsizing for retirement living or moving into a senior living community is on the horizon, the most stressful aspect can be selling the home. There are many things to consider outside of the emotional tolls of leaving a home with years of memories attached. There is also the reality that the house itself is most likely the largest source of income/equity, therefore, its very important to sell the house at the best price that the market will allow.
Staging a home and making it more appealing to a wide range of buyers is a best practice and that may be challenging for some Seniors while they are still living in the home. There are a few options for staging a home. It can range from keeping living spaces very organized and decluttered and quick paint fixes to having a professional “stage” the home for sale. Typically, a service will stage a home to make it look larger, utilize neutral colors and will take any personal items of the current homeowner and put them away. These services may replace existing furniture and other personal items which can be stressful for Seniors but can also raise the value of the home. Buyers should not focus on the current homeowner’s taste, style and personal choices.
If a Senior is moving to an Assisted Living community, they will most likely need to downsize right away. This can be such a taxing process both emotionally and physically. According to AARP https://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-08-2011/retirement-downsizing.html , it’s recommended that you plan to, “hit the ‘heart of the home’ rooms first. That’s usually the kitchen, living room, and family room, which tend to be the most cluttered and contain items with the greatest emotional value and everyday use. Make four piles-keep, donate, give to family members and trash.”
Other things to consider while staging is touching up paint, changing out hardware, new blinds, replacing burned out lightbulbs, adding fresh flowers or potted plants, fixing visible issues around the house that a buyer would notice, and rearranging furniture to create the look of a larger space. Best practice is to keep in mind that when a potential buyer walks through your home, they need to be able to picture their own personal items and sense of style as well. If there is a strong color palette in the home, it may be necessary to re-paint a more neutral palette to assure that the potential buyer is seeing the actual house and not just the wall colors.
Also, consider the front of the house. A potential buyer should never drive up and before they even enter the house think, “what a lot of work” before entering the home.
Remember the most important things in staging with Seniors is that there may be more emotional attachments to their personal tastes and their personal items Its important to be cognizant of that and walk through the process at their pace while explaining why “staging” will only benefit them in the long run.