Get marketing know-how when you're downsizing

Lane Tharp, SRES, CSABy Lane Tharp, SRES, CSA
Coldwell Banker
Atlanta, Georgia

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance,
Georgia chapter

It is exciting to move to a more manageable home after years of maintaining a large home and yard. The choices for downsizing are much greater now than ever before.

Downsizing may involve moving to a smaller home, a ranch condominium, or even a larger home on a smaller lot. It may also involve changing your community from a single-family home in an established neighborhood to an apartment home, a golf or lake community, a retirement community, or an assisted living facility.

The savvy home seller will want to approach this transition with a plan so that the move goes as smoothly as possible.

Locating a Professional Real Estate Agent

The first thing you will need to do is consult with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Look for the SRES designation. This professional has received special training to address the needs and concerns of those who are downsizing.

In addition to helping you and your family to coordinate a move that is as smooth as possible, she can advise you on the benefits of certain locations, such as the availability of local services and programs for seniors as well as whether that location offers property tax breaks for seniors.

Of course, your Realtor will also be able to advise you in the purchase of your new home and help you through that process.

Cleaning House

Before considering a move you should take stock of the contents and condition of your home. Belongings acquired over many years will need to be sorted and disposed of in some fashion.

Your Seniors Real Estate Specialist can simplify this process by getting you in touch with professionals who will help you and your family decide which items you want to keep in your new home and which items you want to discard or donate to charity. You may even want to hold an estate sale.

Immediate Benefits:

  1. Letting go of presents you never wanted or used
  2. Discovering a long, lost treasure
  3. Finding a forgotten stash of money
  4. Walking in your closet without having things fall on your head.
Marketing Your Home

Next, your Realtor will evaluate your home and assist you in deciding what it will take to make your home sell quickly and for the highest possible price.

Be sure to check out the competition. What are the homes selling for in your neighborhood? How do they compare with your house? Attend Sunday open houses and have your Realtor show you how your home compares with others in your market.

Remember the three things that sell a home are location, price and condition. The location of your home is not something you can do anything about but you will want to do your research and consult with your Realtor on the correct listing price. Beyond that, condition is everything.

You must think of your house as an item you have to sell, not as your home. You must commit to the work and inconvenience it takes to have your home “on the market” so that it sells as quickly as possible.

To make your house look its best:

  • Clean, Clean, Clean – make the entire house sparkle. Keep the beds made and dishes washed and put away at all times.
  • Create a feeling of space by removing clutter and excess furniture. You may need to put some items in storage.
  • Remove family photos and personal collections. You want buyers to look at your house, not your things.
  • Create curb appeal. Keep the lawn cut and edged, shrubbery trimmed, and weeds removed. Put a bright, pretty pot of flowers by the front door.
  • Use fresh, neutral paint to replace old wallpaper and dark colors.
  • Make sure that your house does not have an odor from pets or from cigarette smoke. Try to remobe the odors rather than covering them up with scented potpourri or candles – fresh is best.
  • First impressions count. Paint or replace the front door, replace outdated fixtures, polish brasses, and clean the windows inside and out.
  • Clean out closets so that they look spacious, even if they are not.
  • Eliminate any moisture problems and musty odors in basements and crawl spaces.

Remember that when a Realtor arranges to show your house to a prospective buyer, turn on the lights and leave the house so that the agent can speak with the buyer in private.

Your Seniors Real Estate Specialist will be able to direct you to other professionals whose services you may need in a time of transition like this. Many of these professionals are members of the Georgia ElderCare Network and can be reached through its website

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