According to Realtor.com’s most recent Housing Market Trends Report, the inventory of homes available for sale across the country remains low and those on the market are selling at record speeds although prices remain at record highs. Translation? The U.S. housing market is as hot right now as the summer temperatures. This means if you’ve been considering downsizing for a move to independent living or assisted living, you could be in for a big financial win. Here’s how to research home prices in your area and how to find the right real estate professional for seniors selling their homes.
Pricing Tips for Seniors Selling Their Home
Determining the right listing price for your home is absolutely key in attracting the most potential buyers, lessening time on the market and helping to smooth the entire process. But there are many factors at play in doing so; you can’t just pick a price out of thin air or go just on what you think the house is worth. The best thing to do is to look at comparable home sales (comps) in your area that are similar to your property. Consider these things when researching comps:
- Location: Ideally comps should be within a half-mile of your home.
- Time frame: Look for homes sold (not pending) within the past three to six months (or less if your market is particularly hot).
- Size: Keep the comps you consider within 300 square feet of your home’s size.
- Type of home: If you’re pricing a single-family home, don’t use comps for townhouses or condos.
- Bedrooms/bathrooms: Make sure the comps have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as yours.
- Condition of the home: You’ll want it to be as close to your home as possible so look for things like similar finishes, appliances and flooring, as well as whether there have been recent updates (or updates are needed) specifically for things like HVAC, plumbing and the roof.
- Age of home: Again, you’ll want the age to be similar to your home.
- The neighborhood: Homes in your neighborhood are ideal, but those that have similar appeal such as amenities like a community pool or tennis courts, proximity to retail, dining and entertainment, public transportation access and school ratings will work too.
- Price per square foot: This is the sale price of a home divided by its square footage; find this for each comp you consider and then compare that number to your preferred price per square foot.
There are a few ways to find comps. If you’re interested in tackling this yourself, you can search public property records or sites like Zillow.com. You can also have your real estate professional do it for you with information from the local multiple listing service (MLS) and they often provide a competitive market analysis which offers even more insight into area trends.
Finding a Real Estate Professional When Downsizing
While it’s certainly easier than ever to list your home yourself; that can be a lot to take on while also planning a move to independent living or assisted living. A real estate professional can take much of that burden off of your shoulders by:
- Helping you price and list the home based on comps
- Attracting and screening buyers
- Facilitating showings
- Arranging inspections and appraisals
- Negotiating offers
- Handling (endless) paperwork
The key is to select the best one to help you get the most for your home; which is no small feat in and of itself since there are so many real estate professionals out there. The best way to start your search is to ask family, friends, acquaintances and neighbors for referrals. Looking at online reviews can help, too.
Ideally, you’d want to choose two to three realtors in which to compare. These questions can help you vet them more fully:
- What houses in this neighborhood have you sold in the past year?
- What comps should I be considering?
- Based on the comps, what listing price do you recommend?
- How will you market the house (advertising, social media, enhanced listings, photography, videography, open houses, showing other realtors)?
- What commissions and fees will you charge to sell the house?
- What issues need to be addressed with the house before putting it on the market, if any?
- Will I work with you directly or with a team member?
- What is the best way to communicate with you?
- How long is the listing contract?
- Do you have experience working with seniors who are downsizing?
Ultimately, you want to feel comfortable with the realtor you choose so traits like trustworthiness, integrity, worth ethic and attentiveness are important too. Having a great rapport with them can be tremendously helpful as well in getting the most out of selling your home.