Selling a Parent’s Home

I’ve been spending all my non-working time the last few weeks getting my Dad’s home ready to sell and I know first hand what a stressful time it is.  I’ve waded through decades of saved letters, papers and photos, I’ve scrubbed and cleaned, I’ve painted and drywalled, I’ve finished laying unfinished hardwood and hung new doors. I’ve decorated and staged. Since my dad was moving from a 5 bedroom home to a one bedroom assisted living condo, I’ve also packed up and taken a lifetime’s worth of books, housewares and furniture to the goodwill. Just writing it out makes me feel tired.
Having done all that, here are some steps that I’ve learned that can make things easier

First step: Meet with a trusted real estate agent Know how much your parent’s place is worth so you can plan how best to proceed. Work with them to develop a plan of attack on what needs to be done in terms of upgrades, maintenance and staging. An agent with a list of contractors and handymen to help can be a big blessing for busy families.
Get the full picture Meet with your parent’s financial advisor to figure out what you are working with, how much your parents can afford, and possibly how quickly you need to sell. A financial power of attorney is something you may wish to discuss with your parents. A clear vision of their finances is essential to help make decisions in their best interests.
A lifetime of stuff Clutter can be a difficult thing for parents to let go of. That rocking chair may have a lifetime of memories attached. Storage fees for things they will never have room for add up. Dividing special things up to family and charities they think highly of can help. Don’t overcrowd your parents at their new place. Try to make this as pain-free as possible.
Most important step: Just keep telling yourself why you are doing this A high level of patience, respect, understanding and love are critical. This time can be filled with stress, depression and anxiety. Take your parents feeling into account, let them say goodbye to their home and try hard to make them comfortable in their new place.