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Selling Your Home After Retirement and Moving Away

Monday, July 3, 2023

Why sell your home after retirement? You may have opted for downsizing after retirement. Perhaps you want to change scenery or climate or you intend to live closer to family. 

In any of these scenarios, it makes sense to sell your home after retirement. For many people, their home is their main wealth. You have put a lot of money into it. Now might be the time to turn your main asset into cash and use the proceeds for financing the next stage in your life.

Selling your home after retirement is a daunting task. But with careful planning and consideration, it opens a whole new world of possibilities, enabling you to enjoy your golden years to the fullest.

Read on for tips on how to sell your home and move to your new destination. You will find valuable insights on the best ways to maximize your profits and minimize stress.

Why Sell Your Home in Retirement

A real estate agent preparing documents for selling the house next to a for-sale sign

If your property is paid or nearly paid off, selling it will bring in extra funds. This can provide you with more financial freedom to enjoy your retirement years.

Even if you are not strapped for cash, you may find that your home no longer suits your needs. The maintenance and upkeep of a large house can be time-consuming and physically demanding. Selling your home and downsizing to a smaller, more manageable property simplifies your life. A smaller home typically requires less maintenance, allowing you to spend more time pursuing hobbies, traveling, or enjoying leisure activities.

Selling your home after retirement allows you to relocate to a different city, state, or country. You can select the perfect location for your golden years: move closer to family, to a warmer climate, or into a retirement community. 

Preliminary Steps to Take to Sell Your Home

Before putting up a for-sale sign, research the current housing market. Analyze the listings in your area to see for how long a similar property has been on the market and what price it achieved. 

If the market conditions are not good, it might be a good idea to hold onto your property for a while. Note that the factors such as school holidays and the time of the year can influence the chances of selling your home at the best possible price. Historically, spring to early summer is the busiest season in real estate, with the highest demand and the most homes sold.

Now it’s time for some math. Calculate your potential profit by subtracting the following items from the amount you expect to get after selling your home:

  • Remaining mortgage balance
  • Capital gains tax
  • Necessary repairs and upgrades
  • Costs associated with a home sale (closing costs and real estate agent fees)
  • Cost of moving away after retirement 

Don’t forget to budget for a short-term rental if you plan to buy a new house with the proceeds from the current one and have nowhere to stay.  

Decide How to Sell Your Home

Do you want to use a real estate agent, or do you plan to sell your home on your own? While cheaper, the for-sale-by-owner route requires a lot of time and effort.

Real estate agents possess knowledge of the local real estate market. 

If choosing a real estate agent, research online and seek recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors who have recently sold their homes. Also, look around your area to see which agency has the most “sold” signs.

A man over 50 getting ready to prepare his home for sale

Prepare Your Home for Sale

The condition of your home and the perceived expectations of potential buyers dictate whether you need to do any major repairs, renovations, or upgrades. At least two or three months before putting your property up for sale, take a good look at every nook and corner. Is your home move-in ready? If not, proceed with the necessary work. It may make sense to have a pre-sale home inspection if your home is older. 

Invest in minor updating: Updates to the kitchen and bathrooms typically provide the highest return on investment. There is no need for a marble countertop in your kitchen, but burn marks should be addressed. As for the bathroom, re-caulking and new shower curtains might be all that’s needed. A fresh coat of neutral paint and some landscaping (if you have a garden) will also go a long way to make a great first impression.

Declutter your home: Donate, sell, or discard items you no longer need. This will make your home more appealing and ease the moving process. 

Stage it well: Remove excess furniture, unsightly items like worn-out rugs, and personal belongings (family photographs, kids’ drawings, sports memorabilia. Let in plenty of light and arrange the rooms for optimal flow and purpose. You can do all this or invest in a professional stager to enhance the visual appeal and create an inviting atmosphere that resonates with buyers.

Get a professional photographer: Your home should look as good as possible in the photographs while remaining true to real life. 

Set a Competitive Price

You will want to get as much money for your house as possible, while buyers don’t want to pay more than they have to. Pricing your home appropriately is vital for a successful sale. Pricing too high can deter potential buyers, while pricing too low may lead to undervaluing your investment.

To price your home right from the start, consult your real estate agent or research information about properties recently sold in your neighborhood.

Market Your Home Well

Your real estate agent will use various marketing strategies to showcase your home's best features. High-quality photographs, virtual tours, and well-written descriptions can significantly enhance your listing's appeal. They will post your listing online, put the signage in front of your house, host showings, and organize an open house to allow prospective buyers to experience your home firsthand.

If you decide to sell your house yourself, you need to do all that work. 

A for-sale modern home prepared for viewing

Let It Be Viewed

No matter how annoying it might be to you, resolve to allow as many potential buyers as possible to pass through your home. The more people see your home, the more chances you have of selling it, and at a higher price too.

Most estate agents say that the homeowner should clear out for showings. Buyers may feel awkward in your presence and hesitate to express their opinion. That may prevent them from considering your home as an option. Let your real estate agent handle the showing. If you are selling your property yourself, let the buyers and their agents view your home while you wait outside, ready to answer any questions they may have.

Negotiate and Close the Sale

When you get an offer, be ready to negotiate. A buyer who proposed an amount below your asking price might reconsider if you, for example, throw in a paint job or new door handles. 

If you are lucky enough to receive multiple offers, do not automatically go with the highest one. Consider other factors, such as the buyer's financing, contingencies, and desired closing timeline. 

Once you've accepted an offer, the buyer will typically have a final walk-through a day before the sale closes to ensure everything is in order. Then it’s time to complete the necessary paperwork and legal formalities to finalize the deal.

On average, when selling your home it takes about 50 days to wrap up the whole process, from acceptance of an offer to the date when you are paid out. 

What to Leave Behind Before Moving Away

By the time the sale closes, you should have emptied the house and moved out unless you agreed with the buyer to rent the place for a while. There are some items you should leave behind, namely: 

  • Kitchen cabinets, stovetop, oven range, bathroom vanities, built-in bookshelves, and any other permanently installed items (some people even include TV wall mounts in this category).
  • Light fixtures. If you want to keep your expensive chandelier, replace it with a cheaper alternative before opening your home for viewing.  
  • Window treatments such as blinds, shutters, shades, and curtain rods. As a rule, you can take the curtains with you, but check this with your agent or the buyer’s agent. 
  • If you have a garden, all in-ground plants should remain in place. The same goes for outdoor fixtures such as a gazebo, swing set, or water fountain. You can take with you moveable planters and containers, but heavy concrete planters are considered fixtures.

Of course, everything is negotiable, but be sure to include exceptions in the written sale agreement. 

A retired couple in their new home after selling a big house for a smaller one

Plan Your Move With Shyft

As the closing date approaches, it's time to bid farewell to your current home and plan your move. Have a comprehensive moving checklist to stay organized. Download and print it, and tick off line by line, from informing utility companies to forwarding your mail to your new address.

When it is time to choose a reliable mover, you don’t have to think twice. Contact AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft and get ready to enjoy a smooth, worry-free transition. 

Shyft is a technology-enabled moving marketplace designed to streamline relocation, saving you time and money. It is also easy to use, even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy.

Instead of searching for the appropriate type of moving company and getting quotes, rely on Shyft to connect you with the most suitable mover and provide you with multiple competitive quotes after only one quick video survey. Everything is done digitally.

That does not mean that you will be dealing with some machine. A knowledgeable person, your dedicated Move Coach, will be your single point of contact throughout the process. They will answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and oversee the relocation of your belongings from start to finish. 

You can reach out to your dedicated Move Coach at any point during your relocation if you have any questions or want information on the progress of your shipment. The Shyft team is available 24/7, including nights and weekends. 

To start your stress-free moving experience, download the Shyft Next app for iPhone or Android. Then call Shytf at 1-888-501-3181 or fill in a short form online and schedule a video call. A 30-minute video call through the Shyft Next app is all your Move Coach needs to create your inventory list and send you multiple quotes from different moving companies.

When you choose the quote that suits your needs and budget, it becomes locked. There are no additional fees or hidden costs. The price can only change if you modify the size or destination of your move. On top of that, AARP members receive an exclusive discount of up to $250 for every move. 

Contact AARP Moving Services powered by Shyft and embark on a fabulous moving experience.

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