Modern medicine is a wonderful thing – it has greatly increased our life expectancy and children that are being born now have a life expectancy well over 80. While this is certainly something to be celebrated, many of us are now facing seeing our parents and grandparents facing different difficulties in their twilight years than we would have expected thirty years ago.
If your aging parent now has needs that make their home unsuitable for them, you likely need to sell their home to fund their care, whether that be in a home that offers assisted living benefits or in a full-time care home.
While this process can be overwhelming, you can move quickly to provide your parent with the care they need. Follow our guide below to learn how to sell a home on behalf of an aging parent.
Your first step is to make sure you’re legally able to sell the house on behalf of your parent. If they are mentally capable of selling their home but not physically, this should be straightforward, since they’ll be able to make decisions with you and sign the necessary documents. However, most of you here have a parent that in the process of (or soon will) losing the ability to make logical decisions for themselves, and so you need to attain power of attorney.
Power of attorney (POA) allows you to make financial decisions on your parent’s behalf. In most cases, you should seek this shortly after your parent’s diagnosis of their condition. If this isn’t possible and their condition is more advanced, you can apply for guardianship instead.
Once you have POA, you’ll be able to sell the home on behalf of your parent.
You may already have this step covered, but it’s worth mentioning because this can be such a stressful time for all involved. Make sure all utilities for the home are being maintained if your parent is no longer living there or have them shut off for a short time. It’s best to maintain the home’s heating throughout the winter and make sure someone is still regularly checking in on the house.
To make the process as stress-free as possible, spend some time now finding all the necessary paperwork. Find:
- Mortgage information, if your parent still has one
- Title report
- Any other necessary information, such as liens on the property
With a parent moving on to other accommodation, cleaning and clearing their home can be a strange experience. First, make sure they’ve got the essentials they need. If they are moving into an assisted living facility they may be able to take their favorite furniture with them, but most care homes only allow some personal touches. Collect family pictures and any personal belongings that will bring them comfort in their new surroundings to take to their new accommodation.
Bare in mind that it may not be best to leave any valuables in their possession, even if it’s near-and-dear to their heart. This isn’t so much about the possibility of theft (though that’s always something to be mindful of), but the reality that someone who is starting to get forgetful may lose it or even give it away to another person staying at the care home.
If you are planning to put the home up for sale with a realtor, clear out any clutter and arrange the home to best represent a layout other people may use, even if the home requires some modernization.
If you are not the only heir, it’s best to seek out your parent’s will to find out if there was anything in the home they left to anyone in particular. If so, they will need to take the object now or when the house sells unless you plan to put the furniture into storage.
With legalities sorted and the house ready to sell, it’s time to decide how you want to sell. This will largely depend on the home’s current condition and how marketable it is. If it’s in good condition and/or in a very desirable location, you’ll likely make the most money by selling it on the market via a realtor.
However, many of us are dealing with homes that are outdated and need complete modernization, and some that also need major repairs. In this case, the thought of putting it on the market with a realtor may be daunting. You have two options:
- Sell at auction
- Sell to an investor
Selling at auction can be a good option if you aren’t sure how much the home should sell for, but you are certain there will be a good amount of interest in the property. Otherwise, there aren’t that many benefits to it because it usually takes 12 weeks from start to finish and there is no guarantee that the home will sell.
The other option is to sell to a cash home investor. A professional home cash-buying company will allow you to avoid the fees of a realtor and sell the home in as-is condition fast.
Selling a parent’s home is never easy, and for most of us, clearing it while they’re still living isn’t how we imagined our future. Selling any home is stressful and if it needs repairs and renovations it can sit on the market for a while. Bearing in mind that most of us need to liquidate the home as soon as possible to pay for our parent’s care, the added stress of selling the home can make this time in our lives one of the most difficult.
If you need to sell a home in Massachusetts fast, we’re here to help. We buy homes in as-is condition, meaning you don’t need to do any repairs or renovations to get your parent’s home ready for sale. All you need to do is reach out to us with a few details about the home and we’ll give you a free no-obligation cash offer.