Helping Your Parents Move Out of Their Home

If illness or an accident means that your parents need to leave their family home and move to assisted living, it can be a difficult transition.  If one or the other isn’t ready to leave the home where they raised their children, it makes it stressful family members.

It is important that family members present a united front in what needs to be done.  Parents often are saddened and overwhelmed by the decision to sell their home. Leaving a home that they have lived in for many years can be tough for your parents.  Getting that home ready for sale after being lived in for decades can be even tougher for you and your siblings.

Here are some tips on selling your parents’ home that will help make the transition easier:

Talk to your parents:
Take time to speak with your parents about what to expect when getting the home ready for sale, selling the home, and moving.  This process can be overwhelming and making them feel a part of the process and arming them with information will ease some of their fears and allow the move to progress.

Be patient:
Moving is one of the most stressful life transitions for anyone.  For seniors, it can be extremely emotional.  There are many memories in a home where they may have raised a family and the home represents their independence, which they may not be ready to relinquish.  Maintain a positive attitude about the move and provide constant reinforcement about what a good decision they are making.

Get help from an expert:
Working with a realtor is key to making the process go smoothly. With your siblings and parents, make a list of what you are looking for in a realtor and then select one that meets your criteria.  Realtors offer advice on selling for the right price, provide
referrals for other services and give you and your parents a clear picture of what to
expect during the selling process.

Curb appeal:
Don’t forget the critical importance of curb appeal in selling your home for the right price.  First impressions make the difference.  Make sure the landscaping is tended, the exterior doesn’t have peeling paint or a cracked sidewalk.  Be sure to clean the yard and make any necessary repairs on the exterior of the house.

Potential buyers want to be able to see themselves living in the house; that means you
should remove personal items and clear out as much clutter as possible. Minimal furniture and décor make the rooms look more spacious.  Help your parents prioritize what want to take with them and what might be given to you and your siblings.  Remaining items can be sold, given to charity, or disposed of.  Consider using a professional service that works specifically with people who are moving to help declutter and stage their home for sale.

Your realtor will be in the best position to provide advice regarding the cost/benefit trade-off of any home updates or repairs.  Kitchens are a major selling point in any home, so consider whether the appliances need updating.  Some other cosmetic updates that can lead to a higher selling price include installing new carpeting, removing wallpaper and painting rooms in neutral colors, and updating outdated bathroom tile and fixtures.

Price according to the market:
Selling prices for homes are based on what comparable homes in the area are selling for.  A common mistake is to ask the realtor to list the home at a higher price than he or she recommends based on the current market, trends in the area, and the condition of the house.  Often this leads to alienating potential buyers – especially in the very early stages of the listing process when the home is new to the market and interest is highest – and may result in future price reductions.

Don’t try to do it alone:
It is easy to become overwhelmed when preparing your parents’ home for sale while trying to live your life with all its responsibilities.  Ask relatives and friends to help ease the load but be prepared to be realistic about what they can contribute in terms of time and talent.  Every extra pair of hands will lessen the stress you feel.  There are professional services you can call on to help as well — home stagers, housecleaning services, landscapers, contractors, senior move managers, and movers. Don’t try to do it alone.