You are not alone with the questions you have.  Here are a few of the questions we are frequently asked.

When is the right time to begin the move process for my elderly parents?

Often, concerned family members question the timing process to begin assisting their elderly parents with a move. It is never too early to begin the discussion. While the actual move may be months or sometimes years away, the emotional preparation begins much earlier.

Individuals and their support family should explore all of the next phase options prior to the actual implementation. Relevant questions include:

  1. Where is the next home going to be?
  2. How much will it cost? What is actually affordable?
  3. What is the current home worth?
  4. What is involved in putting it on the market?
  5. Do repairs or maintenance need to be done?
  6. Most importantly, when is the appropriate time to make the move?

In many cases, these questions need to be explored before any action can be taken.

When my parents move into assisted living should we sell or rent their house?

This is an excellent question that is asked quite often by concerned families. There is no set response to this inquiry; it really depends on each individual situation.

There are many considerations. What are the plans for this house in the long term? If family members are considering using the property for personal use, it may be advantageous to rent it short term until these decisions are reached. Senior parents may also need a little psychological room to give up "their home" in stages and renting out the property can be a temporary solution.

Another extremely important factor will be an economic one. If the next move requires a significant financial contribution, the house may need to be sold immediately to free up the funds for current use. In this situation, it is necessary to determine the real estate value of the property. The marketability of the house and a review of market conditions should be explored. Even on a preliminary basis, a Realtor should be consulted to assist with obtaining accurate information.

Renting a property involves many factors. The profitability of the rental income will depend on the existing mortgage costs, real estate taxes, maintenance fees and operating costs. There may also be estate and tax considerations that should be addressed with an accountant or financial adviser.

Is it better to sell my mother's house before or after she moves to her new residence?

In my experience with transitioning elder home owners, this really depends on what each seller is comfortable with. In an ideal situation, the house or unit will be in prepped to be put on the market. Some sellers embrace this process while others are not comfortable or capable of handling the decluttering and staging aspects. Often, the required changes are too overwhelming and should be handled after the current owner has vacated.

A house on the market must be able to be shown with ease. Showing hours when possible should make it accessible to potential buyers.  Often, elder home owners have difficulty with morning showings and may require 24-hour notice. It is not advisable to have a seller present when the house is being shown. Input from the owner is not appropriate when a licensed agent is bringing a potential buyer. It may also be upsetting for Mom to watch someone go through her home and she can be a negative influence through no fault of her own.

The reality is that an older seller may not be physically or cognitively able to leave the property each time it is shown. An experienced real estate agent will work around these showing circumstances. However, I have found myself that it is critical that a possible buyer be able to imagine themselves in the property. When Mom is hovering, it is more difficult to close the deal!

The entire transition team working with Mom should help her decide what is best for her.