Many seniors in retirement decide to make a move to a senior living community so they can enjoy all of the benefits that go along with a maintenance-free lifestyle. If you are considering this change, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is when to sell your house. It’s a question that potential residents often ask Sunrise team members for advice about when they visit.
Is it better to sell your house before you move so you have peace of mind about your finances? Or is waiting until after you’ve adjusted to your new community a less stressful option? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Here are a few factors to consider so you can make a confident decision.
When Is the Best Time to Sell Your Home?
Ask yourself the following questions when you are trying to determine a timeline for moving:
1. Will you need the proceeds from the sale of your home to finance senior living?
For many older adults, their house is their most valuable financial asset. It’s common to use the equity in a homev to pay for senior living expenses. If you prefer to sell a home after you move but need the proceeds to help finance moving expenses, there is a solution that might help. It’s called a bridge loan. This special type of loan allows the borrower to use the equity from their house to help with senior living expenses. Once the home sells, the loan can be paid.
Bridge loans are available from banks and other mortgage lenders, in addition to companies that work exclusively in the senior housing industry. Elderlife Financial Services and Senior Act Financial Services are two examples.
2. Will paying for expenses associated with two homes create a financial hardship?
If you find a senior living community that’s a good fit for your lifestyle and future goals, you might be anxious to move. If you decide to wait to sell until you are settled into your new space, will your budget accommodate paying for both places?
Because the real estate market has been on a rollercoaster ride in recent years, this may be a difficult decision. If the old place doesn’t sell as quickly as you hoped, will the added financial burden be too much? It’s important to be realistic about how long you can cover the expenses of both locations.
3. Can you pack for a move while also keeping the house show-ready?
Living in a home that is for sale while you are also preparing for a move is a juggling act. Buyers usually have high expectations for homes they are viewing. A tidy, well-organized house gives the impression that the place is well maintained. By contrast, a cluttered home can make people wonder. If you are trying to downsize and pack, it may be tough to keep the house ready to show on short notice.
A less stressful choice for older adults who need to do a lot of downsizing prior to moving might be to list the house once the move is complete. Also, consider hiring a professional stager to create an environment that will attract buyers and close deals more quickly.
4. Can your lifestyle accommodate multiple showings?
Real estate agents typically suggest that homeowners leave the house during showings. It allows buyers to take their time exploring the home and picturing themselves living there. In a hot real estate market or when a home is newly listed, that might mean there will be multiple showings a day. This can be a real inconvenience, especially when showings are in the early morning or late evening to accommodate potential buyers’ schedules. Requests for showings can also come on short notice. Be honest with yourself about whether these interruptions will pose a hardship for you.
Relocation Professionals for Seniors
As you explore your options for selling your home and relocating, it is important to know about two groups of professionals who provide assistance to seniors who are relocating. One group is a senior move manager, and the other is a senior real estate specialist® (SRES®).
Both types of professionals have experience working with older adults who are transitioning from a private home to a senior living community. They can assist with everything from hiring and overseeing movers to setting up and managing an estate sale.
Real Estate Finances and Senior Living
Sunrise Senior Living has another resource you might find useful as you prepare to sell your home and move. Check out our panel discussion with Elderlife Financial Services and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices detailing how you can simplify your transition into Senior Living, maximize the value of your home.