If you’re considering downsizing during your retirement years, now is a perfect time. Even Lance Armstrong just downsized here! The Austin real estate market continues to be hot with quick sales and rising property values. A REALTOR® can help you find the best buyer for your current property and locate the ideal location for your next home, whether that’s a house, condo or a retirement community.
First, Evaluate Your Current Property
A major portion of your downsizing journey depends on how your current property assesses on the market. As of the summer of 2018, house prices throughout the Austin area are up almost 9 percent versus last year, so it’s a good time for seniors to unload their larger homes and use that equity on a more suitable smaller house.
Remember that your home’s value will largely depend on its condition and what work you may be willing to put into it before listing it for sale. For seniors who are unable to personally manage the necessary tasks, your REALTOR® can suggest trusted contractors and service professionals to help.
Once you’ve decided to investigate or move forward with downsizing by selling your current property, a valuation will be done. Your REALTOR® will pull property comps to see what other houses in your neighborhood have recently sold for and identify any unique offerings your own property may have.
Second, Look for Areas to Update
Your home’s listing is like a job applicant’s resume – how well it presents is an indicator of whether it will be successful. During your property evaluation, your REALTOR® should discuss areas where small, inexpensive updates may have a huge impact on how quickly your property sells. The greater value you realize, the more money you’ll have available to put into your next property or have on hand to fund your move to a retirement or assisted living community.
Some simple updates that can be impactful prior to listing include:
- De-personalizing your space so that prospective buyers can picture their own belongings in each room.
- Repainting the walls to fresh, neutral colors to brighten and present a clean look.
- Cleaning up the yard and planting colorful annuals to improve curb appeal.
- Replacing light bulbs to create better lighting and a brighter space.
- Swapping out cabinet and drawer pulls and door hardware.
Often, seniors have lived in their current home for many years and are aware of all the imperfections. Be sure to discuss them with your REALTOR® during this stage.
Third, Look to the Future
Once you’ve determined how to proceed with your current property – small updates, big fixes or right to listing – it’s time to look to the future.
Do your retirement downsizing plans revolve around a smaller or more senior-friendly one-story home? If so, consider the classic homes of Barton Hills, which date to the 1940s but have been well-preserved and carry relatively low purchase costs. Perhaps you’re looking for a new home in a neighborhood closer to your family. If so, check out the areas that have built up most recently, typically further from city center like North Loop and Goodnight Ranch. You’ll realize significant cost savings by checking out homes further out plus access newer build construction that carries less maintenance costs. It’s a good idea to begin the search during the time that you’re preparing your home for listing so you can experience as seamless a transition process as possible from your old home to your new.
Remember, downsizing isn’t only about smaller spaces. It’s crucial that seniors evaluate a home’s proximity to things that could become increasingly important as the years pass, such as transportation, local amenities, and medical facilities. The home should also be suitable for your mobility status, with few, if any, stairs and rooms that are open and easy to navigate.
Finally, Strike While the Iron is Hot
Current data shows that Austin houses are staying on the market less than a month before an offer is accepted, which means that the process can move very quickly once you list your home and determine the type of downsizing move you’re going to make. This is especially true of seniors with larger, family-style homes that are in demand. When you receive an offer, your REALTOR® can help you work through it quickly to determine whether you want to counter, accept or reject it. And once you find a new home to buy, it’s equally important to strike while the iron is hot and place an offer on the home quickly. You can make it a contingent offer, so you can get off the hook if your home takes longer to sell, but you won’t want to miss out on viable properties by delaying your offers.
As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)® I have worked hard to understand the needs, considerations, and goals of real estate buyers and sellers aged 55 and older. Working with older adults to meet their housing needs requires an understanding of their lifestyle and financial needs. Whether you are buying, selling, relocating or refinancing, older adults can be confident that a Realtor® designated SRES® will be able to help them every step of the way. Contact me to help you and your family!