This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Hope Peele of The Peele Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact The Peele Group at 703-244-6115 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.
Question: What’s my first step when thinking about selling the home that I’ve lived in for decades?
Answer: Selling a home can be challenging under the best of circumstances but selling a home while having to downsize can be even more daunting. Not only are you facing years of accumulated possessions with strong memories attached — for both you and for your family — but you are also trying to get your home show-ready, so that you get the best price possible. It can be difficult to know where to even start.
Many of my friends’ parents have recently started to downsize — even my own parents! In addition, I have guided many clients through the process and have witnessed firsthand how overwhelming this process can be.
My #1 recommended first step would be to plan early and #2 is to engage the expertise and support of an experienced Realtor. Your Realtor’s input and guidance will make the process go much more smoothly. Here are my top tips for navigating both downsizing and the home sale process.
Assess Your Needs
Before diving into the selling process, start with planning and soul searching. I like to tell my clients to KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING! Assess your needs and your preferences. Consider factors like moving into a smaller space, closer to family, or transitioning to a more manageable living situation. Understanding your goals will help you make informed decisions throughout the process. Knowing where you are going helps you to stay focused on the end goal.
Seek Professional Assistance
Hiring a real estate agent experienced in working with clients who are selling their family home can be invaluable. A knowledgeable agent can guide you through the legalities, market trends, and negotiation processes, and make sure that you get top dollar when selling your home. If you are staying local, they can facilitate the sale of your current home and the purchase of your new home, making sure that all the details line up.
Understand the Market
Stay informed about the real estate market in your area. Ask your Realtor to set you up on reports for homes selling in your current neighborhood, and to run a report on all recent sales. Having a clear understanding of the condition of those recent sales will help you know your home’s worth and will enable you to set a competitive, yet realistic price and attract the most potential buyers. Your real estate agent can guide you on how to interpret all the data.
Prepare Your Home
First impressions matter! Invest time in decluttering, cleaning, and staging your home to make it appealing to potential buyers. Every step of this process will pay off! Consider small repairs or upgrades that can enhance your property’s value and attractiveness. Fresh paint is a good place to start — not only does it brighten your home, but it also gives a nice fresh feel! Your Realtor can help you come up with a list of things to complete before going on the market, as well as help to coordinate getting things done. They have amazing contacts, because they do this every day, and they insist on quality services for their clients. Realtors have professional organizers, estate sale companies, packers, movers, stagers, and contractors who are vetted and known to be reliable and reasonably priced. You can choose some or all these services, depending on your unique needs — for your move-out or for your new home.
Be Aware of Tax Implications
Consult a tax professional to understand the tax implications of selling your home, especially if it has been your primary residence for a long time. There may be tax benefits or exemptions available depending on your length of ownership and your age. It’s crucial to be aware of these and to act accordingly.
Consider Your Health and Well-being
Selling a home can be stressful, so prioritize your health and well-being throughout the process. Engage extra help! Take breaks! Conserve energy! I can’t stress this enough. Selling a home is a stressful process, and having the support that you need is crucial. Make your well-being a priority during this significant life transition, so that you set yourself up for being healthy and happy in your new situation.
A Realtor can play a crucial process in this as well. While friends and family can offer great support and advice, your Realtor can offer the more analytical approach that is so important.
Be Cautious and Informed
Last, but not least, watch out for potential scams or dishonest folks looking to take advantage of you! Always work with reputable professionals and make sure that you verify credentials before giving anyone money or personal information.
Here’s a book that I recommend to my clients and give to attendees of our Downsizing Seminars — “Downsizing the Family Home” by Marni Johnson. According to AARP, “it’s part journal, part workbook, part scrapbook and it gently walks downsizers through their profound journey.” If you are interested in an invitation to our next Downsizing Seminar, send me an email at [email protected] and I will add you to the invitation list.
Selling a home can be a complex transition. With the right support and preparation, it can be a positive experience. Start by examining your most important needs and by partnering with a capable and experienced Realtor first. By doing this first, and by staying informed and prioritizing your well-being, you can navigate the home sale process successfully and start the next chapter of your life with confidence.
Hope Peele is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia. She grew up in Old Town and currently lives in Del Ray. As a partner with The Peele Group, Hope is dedicated to guiding her clients successfully through the many-faceted process of buying or selling a home. Contact Hope at 703-244-6115.
If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.
McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria
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Get ready to Shake, Rattle and Roll with this one-of-a-kind, high-octane rockabilly concert experience! Rockabilly Rumble is the all-new, musical experience celebrating the southern rock music that exploded on the scene in the 1950s. Organized by Alexandria City High School Alum and pro-musician Sam C. Jones, this band of world-class performers will have you dancing in your Blue Suede Shoes all night long with songs made famous by Bo Ridley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and more. Relive their most popular hits, along with some forgotten gems. “Rockabilly Rumble” is a dance-worthy, foot stomping evening you’ll never forget!
This show is 21+ only.
YOU MUST HAVE A VALID PHYSICAL ID. A PICTURE OF YOUR ID IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.