Selling a Loved One’s Home

February 12, 2014

It’s become obvious that mom is struggling to keep up with the responsibilities that owning a single-family home requires, and beyond that, it’s clear that her cognitive and physical abilities are starting to slow down– making you worried about her safety.

Helping a loved one move into a senior living community is the next step and it’s been agreed upon by all family members. After spending time researching and touring local communities, you’ve found the perfect place for your loved one to call home. Now it’s time to sell the house.  Logistically it makes sense, but emotionally it can be extremely trying. Understanding both the financial and emotional aspects of this move will decrease the anxiety and confusion felt by all involved.

In order to finance senior living, people often sell their homes; however it’s important to consider all available options, including the possibility of renting the property out. Not only does renting offer your loved one an ongoing source of income but it’s less permanent than selling, which may lower your parents’ (and your) anxiety level during this time of transition. If your family is set on selling, then the next move is to hire a realtor. A realtor will help determine the house’s price, the duration it may take to sell the home and any other related costs you might not have considered (necessary house updates, staging, agent commissions, and closing costs).

Along with the financial aspects of moving it’s good to be aware of the emotional toll selling a home can take on your family. The home is likely to be full of cherished memories and keepsakes; making time to reminisce and sort out who gets what will ease the transition for everyone. Most importantly, this will reassure them that some of the family mementos will become part of their children’s homes for their children to cherish. As you help mom and dad sort through the memories, you can also work through how to furnish their new place too.

Your loved one may be feeling an immense sense of loss and as though they’re losing a grip on their independence and livelihood. It’s important that they’re reminded that this can be a new beginning for them, not an ending.

Here are some ways to help them stay positive:

  • Emphasize the benefits of assisted living – fine dining, daily activities, and secure grounds.
  • Talk about the excitement there is in meeting new friends and people with similar interests.
  • Discuss decorating their new apartment with a mix of old and/or new furniture that they’re comfortable with.
  • Remind them that you’ll visit often and take them off-site whenever they want.
  • Encourage them to look at this as an opportunity to try new things, challenge themselves and grow as a person.