“My Mom is no longer able to live in her home by herself.  My siblings and I have decided it is time to sell her home to free up the equity that will provide for her care as she lives in her new retirement community.  It was our family home for over 50 years, and it is overwhelming knowing how to start the process.”


I hear this scenario a lot as I work with my senior clients.   It is an overwhelming task, and you would be wise to seek out the assistance of a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, (SRES).  A Realtor with this special designation has been trained to work to ensure that your Mother’s best interest is always in first position.


Because everyone’s financial situation is different, the first step is to contact an attorney who specializes in eldercare law and a tax professional who will analyze how the taxes will affect the sale.  


When the time comes to put the house on the market, your SRES will help you through all of the necessary tasks to get it ready for the market.   The first step is to meet with you at the home.  He or she will be gathering data in order to prepare a Comparable Market Analysis.    This is commonly known as a CMA.    Factors such as number of bedrooms, lot size and the condition of the property will be considered when suggesting a competitive listing price.    You will be presented with an extensive study on what surrounding homes have sold for, how they look and how long they were on the market.


Homes that look fresh and clean and are clutter free usually sell for top dollar.   For this reason, your SRES will talk to you about what needs to be done before it ever goes on the market.  Does is need paint?  Does it need some siding repair or a new roof?  Does it need some surface updates?  A pre-inspection might be advised to let you know what items must be addressed first.   The new buyer’s lender will have a say in what repairs are necessary for the sale to go through.  Sometimes repairs can be negotiated between the buyer and seller.


Staging means preparing the home for showings.   This means getting the home in tip top shape before anyone sees it.   You only have one chance to make a first impression.   Homes that are staged usually sell quicker and for top dollar.    A coat of paint in neutral tones, new kitchen countertops and stainless appliances along with a professional cleaning job will make the house shine.    The yard will need a clean-up too.   If the yard has been let go and the shrubs are all over grown, the prospective buyer might not even care to look at your home.


When the home is ready to be listed in the multiple listing service, your SRES Realtor will review all of the documents necessary for the sale.  This will include a seller’s disclosure.  You will be asked to answer a series of questions about the home.    The buyer will review these as a condition of the sale.


Once an offer comes in, your SRES will meet with you and the family to discuss the factors of the offer.   At that time your Realtor will help you decide if you should counter any offers.   You might want your attorney to review any offers before accepting any offers.


Once an offer is accepted, the sale will be handled through escrow or an attorney.   Documents will be prepared to transfer the ownership to the new buyer.  After you and the buyer have signed the documents, it will be recorded.  This is what is known as closing.  Once this happens, you will receive the proceeds of the sale of the home.


Lynn Mattecheck, RE/MAX Equity Group

Principal Broker in the State of Oregon