What is the biggest challenge
homeowners face when selling their property?
The biggest challenge, by far, is
downsizing as a senior. Senior move management is a whole new industry.
This is an untapped opportunity for stagers as Baby Boomers retire or
transition to an over- 55 adult community.
If seniors wait until there is an
emergency, an illness or the death of a spouse to start the moving process,
it can be traumatic and expensive.
We had the experience of helping my
husband's parents go through that downsizing process long before I was in
the staging business. His parents were both limited physically and one of
them was in a wheelchair when they decided it was time to join us in
Jacksonville. We had planned to move them to an assisted living community
near us when they were ready.
My husband and I both worked full
time and only had a one long week-end to complete the process. It included
selecting the things that would move into the new smaller space, going
through the contents of the house, planning an estate sale, hiring a RE
agent, packing furniture, clothing and mementos.
We sold the house "as is"
because we didn't know any better.
Now, looking back, I'm sure that we
could have spent $10,000 for carpet and paint to have made $80,000 more on
the sale. And also, if we had gone through a more organized process, we
could have gotten maybe $15,000 more for the furnishings and contents of
the house. It all worked out okay but it was very difficult and
emotional issues kept us from making wise choices.
Picture from House
To contrast that story, most of my
senior downsizing clients have a positive experience emotionally and
financially when they plan ahead. Not long ago, the Campbells, who lived in
a moderately large house in a gated community, decided to downsize. We staged
the house after some minor updating.
While it was on the market, they found
a smaller home in the retirement community outside of Mayo Clinic. We chose
their favorite things to bring to the new, smaller house. An estate sale
was planned for all the rest.
After some minor updating... carpet,
paint and repairs, the new house was ready for them. They got a great deal
on it because the previous owners did not update anything. They bought the
new, 1800 sq. ft. house for about $220,000 and sold the big, 2800 sq.
ft. house for over $400,000. They only lost the office, formal living room
and one bedroom. The kitchen was a tiny bit smaller. It's really beautiful.
They have no lawn maintenance issues and more time for their hobby...
This obviously is a much better
scenario. Plan ahead and take care of the needed updates to maximize your
profit on the large house. Be prepared to do some minor updating on
the new smaller space to get a great deal.
Most importantly, start planning long
before you have crises. You will thank me.