Selling real estate is a very stressful and emotional time. When helping an elderly person sell their home, this generation has traditionally lived at the same address for a long time, has accumulated years of memories in ‘stuff’, knows the ins and out of this piece of property that they have invested love, time, money and energy into for many many years. When a senior faces a loss of autonomy, which is what often brings on the moment to have to sell, it also comes accompanied with some unaccomplished dreams, thoughts of “Why me?”, and “How did I get to be this age?”…..these thoughts and emotions complicate the real estate transaction and makes working with seniors a very special niche!
It’s easy to let go of something old, when you have something new to look forward to! If a senior has decided to move but doesn’t know where the next adventure awaits, it is best before even thinking of packing a box, to BEGIN with exploring the possibilities. Will it be a regular apartment building? A retirement residence? Buying or rightsizing to a new condo? Perhaps a “Age in Place” plan might be right option. Whether it be the prospect of making new friends, having more time for hobbies, the ease of no more stairs or the thought of not having to cook every meal….there is always SOMETHING to look forward to. Stay positive, change is scary, but it also can be exciting.
It is by visiting different options and comparing different set-ups that will help them understand what they like and do not like. This stage of exploring will guide them towards what feels right and their next step in life. Whatever they decide, this first step will help them move forward with confidence and will ease their comfort level towards selling their house and minimize anxiety levels.
When exploring options, we plan manageable steps and half day tours. We introduce your family to the best homes in your price point and help navigate the choices. We recognize when we need to take a step back to allow time for processing thoughts and overcoming physical fatigue before embarking on the next step.
When preparing the home for sale, we work in manageable blocks of time. We set reasonable goals and expectations and celebrate success along the way. We work hard and focus but we take time to listen to their stories and honour their memories of cherished items and photographs that we pack. We encourage participation but we take care of the heavy lifting and help make big decisions feel less overwhelming. It is a dance that requires patience and finesse.
Sometimes, when an adult child is a part of the process of selling a house, Mom or Dad may feel ignored and spoken about as if they are not in the room. They may feel resentful that others are coming in and taking over. If it would not feel right for you then it is unlikely that it will feel right for the elderly person being assisted. This is the seniors’ process and they need to remain involved throughout the whole process.
Our goal is to ensure that the person who is selling their home leans into the process at every step, that every step respects their timeline, that they are guided through emotions and advocated for. Ultimately Mom or Dad should remain the focal point of every transaction no matter what their age or needs are.
We appreciate all the emotions they could be going through at this stage of life. They may be dealing with a change in health, mourning the passing of a loved one, the fear of the next step that is filled with unknowns, they may not want to be doing this, but their children are nudging them forward…the list goes on.
Most likely they raised their family here. This piece of real estate is filled with decades of memories and filled with lots of items and they do not know what to start with. They may not even have the physical energy to engage forward. For years, if not decades they have nourished the current community that surrounds them and when they sell their home, this will all change.
We step into their shoes at every turn during the process of selling.
We happily answer questions …. Yes, even if the information is repeated three times. We understand that words fall into the ears and heart differently every time.
Throughout our journey, we take pause, pour a cup of tea and ask them how they are feeling. Ask them if all is going okay? Is there is anything they wish were different. We hear them. We see them. We take the moment
they need to make this safe and good for them. We Make every step of this process about them...not just selling a house.
Minimizing the Chaos of Moving– where are the Scissors!?
Often there is some memory loss when a senior is relocating. Imagine your kitchen scissors right now. You know exactly where they are. Now, have three of your children or strangers come in to help you ‘organize’ your move, put items in boxes, and then ‘…where are my scissors? Anxiety, frustration and confusion can be caused by the smallest things. That is just the scissors. Imagine the paperwork, the will, the medication, the dog food, the special hairbrush that someone said out loud was most likely a piece of garbage……….so much change and everything in upheaval.
We do our absolute best to minimize disruption to Mom and Dad’s daily routine. The easiest way to do this is to transition to the new home BEFORE selling the family home. However, we know this is not always a practical or financially viable option. As long the senior remains in the home, we are considerate of their daily needs, maintaining their routines and ensuring every item is in it’s place….whether it be the scissors, the TV remote, or the special pillow they use for sleeping.
We never assume an elderly person is always free and available. Their schedule is important and their medical appointments, scheduled visits with friends & coffee dates offer a regular routine that should be protected and respected. If they have a medical condition they may fatigue at the end of the day or be distracted after a medical appointment. This is all about the elderly person and keeping the focus on them is the primary goal.
Hearing loss and vision loss present different challenges for our clients. We take our time and learn which side is best to communicate for their hearing? For their eyesight? For the lighting in the room? For their dominant side?
An example of a specific medical condition is helping someone living with Parkinson’s? We are happy to accommodate visits and work when their medication most effective? What time of day is their sweet spot for signing documents, opening the house for visits or any other task that is being asked of them?
Our senior clients’ schedule and specific needs outweighs everyone else’s.
We consider It is a privilege to be called upon to help transition a Senior into the next phase of their life. Their safety, happiness and fulfillment are our focus and when they smile, we feel the satisfaction that we have given back, to somebody who has given so much of themselves to their family and society.