5 Things Every Realtor Should Know When Selling for Seniors 

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We are excited to present the first article in our Caring Transitions Owner Expert Series 

written by, Caring Transitions of Rochester Owner and Realtor Karen Menachof, for Caring Transitions



When choosing housing or buying and selling real estate, the needs of older adults and their families can be complex. Often complicated by issues such as family dynamics, deteriorating health, personal loss and financial constraints. Senior Real Estate expert Karen Menachof provides 5 best practice recommendations for real estate professionals selling property on a senior citizen's behalf.


Review the Process 

It is not at all uncommon for seniors to have been living in their home for 30 or more years. If that’s the case, then the legal and logistics issues associated with selling their home are probably unfamiliar and somewhat daunting. Be sure to review the process in detail and provide plenty of time to address questions that are sure to arise. 


Explain the Buyer’s Point of View 

Much has changed since the days when your client purchased their home. While “good bones” may have been a great reason to choose a house in the 1950s, your clients may need to be educated about what makes a home attractive in today’s market. Not only have tastes changed, but todays buyers often prefer to buy a fully updated, move-in ready home. Provide guidance about what buyers are willing to pay more for and/or what will cause them to walk away so that your buyer can make informed decisions about home improvements and pricing. 


Review the Showing Process 

Your clients should be informed about what buyers expect when they come into the home. Be specific about these expectations with clients (i.e., no dirty dishes anywhere in the kitchen, no pet food visible, beds made) and find out how much advance notice your clients will need to prepare for showings and then get out of the house to ensure privacy for prospective buyers. If your client cannot manage this easily, consider customizing the plan to accommodate the circumstances. 


Confirm Your Clients Availability 

Be sure you know how your clients can best be reached so that they are easy to contact throughout the process. Just because they have an email address or cell phone doesn’t necessarily mean that they check them regularly, so explore what will work best. 

Similarly, you may want to let prospective buyer’s agents know if you’ll need extra time to approve an offer or get documents signed. I find that it often takes longer than with other clients, as seniors are not comfortable signing documents electronically, but prefer to meet face-to-face. 


Explain the “Hidden Cost” of Homeownership 

Seniors often don’t realize that, when they sell their home, they are also responsible for leaving it empty and broom clean. I often hear folks suggest that their buyers should be happy to have their old tires, lawn mower, work benches, or Christmas decorations. As their realtor, you’re the one who has to break it to them…they will have to bear the expense associated with emptying the house of anything that wasn’t specifically requested by the buyer. Don’t wait until the walk through to find out that your client doesn’t understand this.

Infographics Source - https://www.zillow.com/blog/hidden-costs-of-homeownership-2017-219659/

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