Roadmap to a Smooth Transition


by Susan McDade

Relocating is never easy! In fact, on the life stress scale it is #2! Transitioning your loved one to an assisted living community, long term care, or retirement community is especially stressful.

Many times, children are trying to organize the move from another state, and have no idea about resources available in the area. The Senior or aging homeowner is struggling emotionally with not only the transition, but selling their home and trying to consolidate most of the contents! It can be overwhelming. Here are some things to consider to assist with making the process a smoother transition!

When putting the current home on the market, make sure you are using an SRES Designated Realtor (Senior Real Estate Specialist) to list the property. SRES Realtors are specifically trained to work with seniors. An SRES Realtor is prepared to handle “senior specific” challenges. For example, the homeowner may have physical limitations that prevent them from being able to leave the house during showings. SRES Realtors are prepared to help make arrangements for this. They understand that they must take their time, be patient, and communicate with the homeowner in person!

Using an SRES Realtor will also prevent the homeowner from being taken advantage of. A person’s home is typically their biggest investment, and the Senior homeowner is usually on a fixed income. You want to maximize the profit of the sale. An SRES Realtor will act as an advocate to negotiate the best terms of the sale for the homeowner.

Before you sell, consult a financial advisor to determine how the proceeds would best serve the homeowner. There are always tax implications, and usually other investments to consider. The homeowner may have a large amount of equity; some have paid off their homes. There must be a plan for re-investing.

If the homeowner is downsizing and purchasing a new home, ask your Realtor about the HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) program. This is a FHA insured mortgage program designed specifically for buyers 62 years old and up. For some, it can make a huge difference in their monthly expenses.

Consider using a professional stager. A stager can view both the new living space and the current home and determine which items would work best in the new home. They will also take into consideration items of particular importance to the homeowner to help them feel at home in the new space.

You may want to hire an estate sale professional. There are many that specifically work with seniors, helping them determine what they want to keep, sell or donate. They will inventory, price, advertise and organize the entire process.

Professional organizers can help with the remaining contents of the house. They will organize, pack, move, and unpack all items the homeowner keeps. They will also help with “settling in”and get the Senior organized in the new location.

Finally, engage a service to act as coordinator of these services. It will save you time and money, and allow you to focus on what is important to you!