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Seniors – Preparing Your Property For Sale

  • By: Lorilee Desantis
  • Published: June 2, 2016

Seniors – Preparing Your Property For SaleSeniors and their families must often make hard decisions for end of life planning. That means having all your “ducks in a row” for the inevitable. This includes your will, trust, life insurance beneficiaries, investments and how and where you will be spending the rest of your life. Where will you be living and how will that be accomplished? Many times seniors will need to move from their present home to a facility that can better manage their care. This can be hard on the person moving out of their comfortable, long-time home as well as the family who likely have cherished memories in the home. If you find that you must sell your home in order to move to a more suitable place, or you are helping a loved one to make this transition, here are some suggestions for prepping the home for sale.

  1. Always work with a professional Realtor to list, stage, market and sell the home. Your Realtor can also help you plan with a timeline to meet your goals.
  2. Contact an an estate organizer to help go through items in the home. They will help find necessary documents, sell items that need to be sold and make an inventory list of valuables in the home. This is the first step in de-cluttering a home. Loved ones can begin packing various items to go to new homes or to storage.


  1. Deep-clean the kitchen, including cupboards, drawers, oven, stove top and refrigerator inside and out. Wipe down outside of cabinets.  Be sure floors and appliances sparkle.
  2. Repair leaky kitchen or bathroom faucets.
  3. Review the house interior, room by room and:
    • Take down, reduce or rearrange pictures and objects on the walls.
    • Patch and touch up or re-paint all walls as needed.
    • Clean windows and screens – inside and out.
    • Have carpets and draperies cleaned as necessary.
    • Polish wood floors
  4. Make sure rooms are well-lit by using natural lighting and replacing burnt-out, dim light bulbs with higher wattage bulbs.
  5. Clean fireplace of visible soot
  6. Dust/clean light fixtures, window blinds and sconces.
  7. Organize and de-clutter the garage and basement. Move items to storage if needed.


  1. Go around the perimeter of the house and remove all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc. to the garage or, if applicable, take to the dump.
  2. Basic landscape:
    • Remove any dead plants and weed all planting areas
    • Put down fresh mulching material
    • Keep your lawn freshly cut, edged and fertilized and shrubs trimmed during the growing season
    • Place blooming flower pots/ boxes at front door and on steps, walkways, patio/ deck and windows for color
    • Cob web/power wash outside of house
  3. Check roof and gutters for dry rot and moss and make any required repairs.
  4. Clean out gutters and sweep off roof.
  5. Repair any run-down fencing and re-paint as needed.
  6. Check condition of the front door and trim. Clean dust, remove cobwebs and re-paint if finish is peeling or worn – first impression or “curb appeal” is VERY IMPORTANT!
  7. Clear patios or decks of all small items such as tools, planting equipment, charcoal, toys, etc. Place outdoor furniture attractively and wipe down.
  8. If there are outdoor pets, make sure pet area is clean and neat.
  9. Get a new Welcome mat.

If the senior wishes to live in the home while it is being sold, here are some suggestions for the interior in addition to the above mentioned items.


  1. Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. In general, a sparsely decorated home helps the buyer “mentally move in” with their own things.
  2. Rearrange or remove excess or “bulky” furniture in the home to make rooms look bigger.
  3. De-clutter closets. If you need space to store these extra possessions, use the garage or rent a storage unit.
  4. Organize your kitchen. Clear all needless objects from countertops, shelves and top of refrigerator. If it hasn’t been used for three months, put it away.  Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, magnets, pictures, etc.  Pack up and store away anything you don’t need every day.
  5. Be aware of cooking “aromas” and try to avoid seafood, vinegar and fried food smells. Baking blueberry muffins, bread, sugar or chocolate chip cookies can create the right atmosphere.
  6. In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from the countertops, tub, shower stall and commode top. Keep only the most essential cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc. in one small group on the counter.  Deep clean the bathroom. Clear counter tops, get a new shower curtain and bath mat and coordinate towels in one or two colors only.

In General

Try to look at the house through a “buyer’s eyes,” as though you’ve never seen it before. This exercise will help you to see what needs to be done. Any time and money invested on these items will usually bring you the return of more money and a quicker sale.

This blog article was written by Sue Bonzell, a Realtor with Terra Firma Global Partners.

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