Buying or selling a home is complicated for anyone,
but seniors have many added issues.
Here are the top 10 home-selling and home-buying pitfalls
for seniors and how to avoid them:
Assuming you have to sell. A reverse mortgage or
other financing may help keep you in the comfy confines of your
family home and facilitate home modifications.
Conveying that lived-in look: Too much clutter can
kill a sale. Divest your home of some furnishings, collections and
heirlooms, by either placing them in temporary storage or more permanently
with family members or friends who will appreciate them. This is
an ideal time to take those treasures of a lifetime and start sharing
them with the family.
Committing to a vacate date before securing a new
home. Moving is stressful enough. Don't be uprooted twice before
you settle into the new home. The home-buying process is sometimes
rushed because of a pending date to vacate.
- Not opting for a senior-oriented real estate agent.
The issues facing senior citizens when selling their homes are
much different than for younger people, and most real estate agents
have little idea how to resolve them. A mistake can be very costly,
and for that reason any senior should consult with a specialist
-- most notably an agent designated as a Senior Real Estate Specialist
-- to help sell their home. A state-by-state listing of Senior
Real Estate Specialists can be obtained from the Senior
Advantage Real Estate Council. If no Senior Real Estate Specialist
is available, ask agencies for the names of agents who are most
comfortable with senior clients.
- Not getting a market analysis and financial evaluation.
Ideally, a "sell" decision should surround market realities
plus address investment and tax objectives, as well as lifestyle
and emotional needs.
- Disregarding future transportation needs:
Changing health conditions may prevent driving. Carefully consider
ease of access to public transportation, stores, work, businesses,
health care facilities, loved ones and favorite haunts.
- Missing steps in the process: Stairs and seniors
don't mix. Seek single-floor layouts, stepless entries and level
driveways. Non-slip floors, bathroom grab bars and levered door
handles will likely make life easier as well, either now or down
- Poor reconnaissance: Minimal time spent scoping
out the new community can spell disappointment. Explore many potential
options for relocation and then revisit your favorites at different
times of the year -- and even different times of the day -- before
- Moving too far from kids and grandkids: Warmth
is where the heart is. Many a new Floridian has backtracked to
home base to live near family.
- Using an agent who may not best represent your
interests. Calling a number off a yard sign will hook you up with
the seller's agent who may not represent your best buying interests.
Conversely, a buyer's agent may bring a seller a qualified buyer,
but not truly dedicated representation. Your agent should be your