Whether a senior is selling their home to downsize, move to an assisted living community, or to purchase a home closer to their family, the process can be incredibly stressful. Seniors may seek the advice of a real estate investor to help them make smart decisions throughout the process.
Suggest they seek all available professional guidance
Apart from your expertise, you may suggest that the senior seek out the help of a real estate lawyer, agent, and/or home inspector prior to beginning the selling process. The reason for this is that many lawsuits stem from the buying and selling of property. Seniors may be particularly vulnerable, as some may feel it will be easier to push around a senior, legally speaking.
“Statistics have shown that once you are in the position of the defendant, you’re more likely to lose than to win. A simple error on a real estate sales contract or on the Seller’s Disclosure or any other document involved with the transaction can result in a Buyer pursuing a lawsuit against a Seller,” notes SeniorCitizensGuide.com.
It’s best for a senior to have all their bases covered, legally. Selling a home and moving is stressful enough without these added worries.
Help them to understand the costs associated with selling
For seniors, selling their own home can be a difficult and strenuous process. It’s most likely beneficial to hire an agent to handle the ins and out of the sale. Seniors need to understand the fees associated with that (5% to 6% of sale). But there can also be hidden fees in the form of escrow, transfer taxes, and more.
“There are two financial issues one must consider that are related to the costs of sale. One is transactional fees and the other is tax implications. Transactional fees vary, but can include commissions, escrow fees, inspection fees and transfer taxes. Taxes can include capital gains, estate tax benefits, which can be lost or gained, and income tax,” says Caring.com.
Help them to avoid real estate scams
The elderly are the biggest target of real estate scams. It’s important that you advise them on how to avoid such scams. Some red flags include any cold offers to buy, in which an “agent” suggests that they already have a buyer lined up and a contract in hand. All the senior needs to do is sign the contract. Also the “out of town purchaser” scam is one to watch out for. It involves pressure to sign a contract due to the buyer about to leave the area.
Suggest they don’t spend too much time/money fixing up their home for sale
Sure, making a bunch of improvements to a home can boost its listing price – but the stress of updating a home and watching as their memories are altered can be too much for some seniors. You should suggest that they list the home as is, without making too many modifications. Things like quitclaim deeds can help seniors transfer property as-is, leaving the bulk of the modification on the plate of the investor. This is often good for all parties involved, and the senior seller doesn’t have to upend their entire residence and the investor can make the improvements they really want after the fact.
Selling a home can be a stressful time for anyone – but for seniors who’ve lived in place for decades it can be emotionally draining. By helping seniors transfer their homes in the safest, easiest ways you can ensure they make the transition without any additional anxiety.
This article has been contributed by ElderAction.