Selling A Home For Seniors – One Of My Joys!

oldercouplewebDid you know that as many as 1 in 14 home sales involve sellers over the age of 75? According to the National Association of Realtors, it’s true. Many of them have lived in their home for 40 years or more.  Not only have they accumulated a life time of possessions, but a life time of memories. Selling their home is an emotionally charged time in their lives and it’s hard for many to let go.

While many seniors have computers and use email, most are not as technically savvy as people in younger age groups, and they move at a slower pace. They are from an era before the old answering machines, much less cell phones. They would just “call back later” if someone’s phone line was busy.

Many real estate professionals love a fast sale and a 30 day escrow, but senior home sellers usually do not. It may take few months to plan and execute a move. They are not just packing up their belongings and moving to the next home. Most likely, they will be liquidating many, if not most, of their possessions. It can be a daunting task. Hopefully, they have family members who will help them with this process. It involves sorting through everything they own and often ending in an estate sale where things they spent a lifetime collecting are sold. Then they have to let go emotionally.

They may be moving in with family, to an Independent Living facility, or even Assisted Care. Their future may not one they planned for or really want.

For a Realtor, the process is different from most others. When I work with my senior clients, I spend a lot of time in their home; they usually do not come to my office. We often do not communicate via email; we talk on the phone or face-to-face. I am prepared to spend extra time with them to discuss their concerns, answer their questions, and even talk about their fears.  I let them know I understand how emotional this time is. I take documents to them for their review and signature. I try to anticipate potential challenges and mitigate them so there is no added stress. When appropriate, I communicate frequently with their family members to keep them informed about the process also.

My senior clients usually want to know something about the people who are buying their home. Knowing about them helps with the transition. Is it a family with young children or none? Are they a young family planning on starting a family?  Is it a single person or another retiree? They like to know that new memories will be made in the home they loved so much.

Working with seniors may take a little longer, but I love it!

From Our Home To Yours

2-IMG_9173Christmas is my favorite holiday. I just can’t help it, I love this time of year. The decorations, the smell of pine trees and candles, the Christmas carols playing, the squeals of excitement from children. People seem to be kinder to one another this time of year, they smile more.

Now that my daughter is an adult with a home of her own, Christmas at our home is a bit different. While decorating this year, I decided that if I had to climb a ladder, I wasn’t putting it up. Step ladder, was okay, but no more ladders!

We have carefully assessed decades of Christmas ornaments and sadly eliminated some, those that were just worn out. We still have a couple of macaroni and dried bean ornaments with our daughter’s photo in the middle, made when she was in elementary school. What memories!

My friends and I used to do it “all” at Christmas…we baked and cooked and prepared the guest rooms, getting ready to host extended family and friends. We shopped for and wrapped endless Christmas gifts. We stood in line at the post office. We took the kids to “Breakfast with Santa” and “The Nutcracker”. We had Gingerbread House decorating parties for the kids. We went to school programs and visited nursing homes with Girl Scout Troops. We went to Christmas parties, and sometimes hosted them. We shopped for the perfect Christmas tree, sometimes even cutting it down ourselves, then decorated it while drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas carols. We popped popcorn and watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol”. We went to church on Christmas Eve and helped with the Christmas flowers, music and programs. We made sure the kids found the reindeer hoof prints on Christmas morning and the crumbs that Santa left after he ate the cookies and drank the milk we left for him.

What stands out to me while I remember years of holidays is that it was never about the presents. Yes, the kids loved opening presents and Santa was always generous. And, we love getting thoughtful gifts from our loved ones. But, what stands out is that it was the gift of ourselves and our time that was the most meaningful.

Does your daughter remember what gifts she received when she was four years old? Or does she remember sitting in the balcony at the Crystal Cathedral watching the Christmas program and the angels flying by and saying “Mama, are we in heaven?” Still brings tears to my eyes!

The gift of our time is really what is most important to our loved ones. So, this Christmas, my wish for you is that you enjoy the time you have with your family. The time spent with them is more precious than any gift you can purchase. Cherish your time with loved ones and create wonderful Christmas memories!

Merry Christmas!