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Anyone selling a home knows that it’s a big decision that requires serious thought and planning. But, if you’re a senior or someone getting ready to retire, there are additional considerations you need to take into account before putting your home on the market.

Your home can be a valuable asset (and one that may help carry you through your retirement). It’s critical you get the most out of your equity. To help streamline the process, we’ve compiled a list of what you should know before you put your home on the market.

  1. Choose a real estate agent who specializes in buying and selling homes for seniors. Your real estate agent should understand the specialized needs of seniors. This knowledge comes from personal experience, focused training, credential programs, and a thorough knowledge of senior/retiree housing options. It’s important your agent is aware of the schemes and scams that affect seniors and the implications of financial transactions. Victoria Witham carries a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation, has extensive experience working with senior clients, and fully understands the senior real estate market.
  2. Verify the current value of your home. Like many seniors, you may have lived in your home for many years and the value of your home has probably gone up and down. Before you put your home on the market, review the comparative market analysis (CMA) provided by your real estate agent. This data is drawn from a variety of listing services and provides up-to-date information about similar homes in your neighborhood that have sold.
  3. Understand the perks and pitfalls associated with buying and selling your home. At this point in your life, you may have a pension, IRA accounts, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and estate planning. These can all potentially be impacted by a real estate sale. It’s important to discuss these transactions with a financial advisor before you sell your home. Some retirement communities offer incentives when you purchase a home.  If you’re hoping to purchase a new home in a retirement community, make sure you contact Victoria prior to going into the community.  Most communities require your agent to be with you on the first visit.  Victoria started out in the New Home side of real estate and will help you navigate your way through the timing, making a contingent offer, incentives along with being there to answer any additional questions that come up during the process.
  4. “Declutter” your home before putting it on the market. You’ve probably accumulated personal mementos throughout the years. While these hold special meaning to you, potential buyers like to picture their belongings in your home. Pack away personal items and sell or donate excess furniture and knick-knacks before your home goes on the market. Your home will not only present itself better, you’ll have less to pack when you finally move. Additionally, it’s important to store valuables, personal items, and medications in a safe spot while your home is on the market.

As a retiree/senior, selling your home can be a difficult decision, but it’s also the opportunity to start an exciting new chapter. While the process may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. By choosing a dedicated, knowledgeable real estate agent, you’ve taken the first step towards a smooth selling and buying experience.