Four Tips to Make Selling Your Parent’s Home Easier

Apr 16, 2024

Sold sign sitting in the yard in front of a homeWhen it’s time for your parent or loved one to move to Assisted Living, one of your first questions may be, “What do we do with the house?” And if it’s a sudden move, you might be feeling especially pressed for time.

Selling your parent’s house quickly and efficiently can help remove some of the burdens of this change. Below, you’ll find four tips to help the selling process go as smoothly as possible.

Tip #1: Get the Home Professionally Appraised

Especially if the home hasn’t been on the market in years or decades, the best way to understand its value and how much you could expect to make from the sale is from a professional appraisal.

An appraiser isn’t a real estate agent, but a professional who can assess a home’s features and upkeep, compare it to similar homes on the market in the area, and give an estimate for what it’s worth. This can help you price the home appropriately so what you’re asking aligns with what people are willing to pay.

Home appraisals aren’t free – they may run you $300-$400 on average, according to But the money you’ll spend will be well worth it so you have an accurate starting point on which to base your asking price.

Related: Overcoming your parent’s fears of Assisted Living >>

Tip #2: Assess Any Needed Renovations or Repairs

Your parent’s home may have been updated recently, or perhaps it hasn’t been touched in years. Give it an honest assessment to decide if you need to invest in some upgrades before selling the home.

Generally, a home that needs to be completely renovated should be sold as-is. You’ll make less on the sale, but you won’t spend money and time updating everything in the house.

On the other hand, if the home could use a few small upgrades that would provide value, go ahead and make them. Here’s a list of potential upgrades you can make that may help you snag a higher selling price.

  • Replacing the garage or front doors.
  • Adding insulation in the attic.
  • Kitchen upgrades – new appliances, refinished cabinets and updated cabinet hardware.
  • Having the front yard professionally landscaped.
  • Updating closet and storage spaces.

Use your judgment when making home updates: Will this upgrade be useful and seem timeless in a few years, or will it quickly look dated? Strive for improvements that will stand the test of time.

And remember – if the house is gorgeous but key problems like plumbing, wiring or roofing aren’t fixed, the upgrades aren’t going to fool anyone.

Related: The hidden costs of aging in place >>

Tip #3: Get Help with Decluttering

Perhaps the most difficult part of selling your parent’s home is figuring out what to do with the possessions inside. Sorting through items that are so closely attached to family memories can be emotionally exhausting.

However, think of this as an opportunity to keep only the things that really mean something to you, and to give what’s left to people who could use it. Because you’re probably so close to many of the items in your parent’s home, hiring a professional who specializes in older adult downsizing might be the right choice.

The National Association of Senior Move Managers is a network of accredited professionals who are experienced in both the physical and emotional challenges of downsizing for older adults. Visit their website to find a move manager near you.

If you don’t opt for professional help, keep the following tips in mind as you begin the decluttering process.

    • Remember – it takes time. A house full of items accumulated throughout the decades isn’t going to be cleaned out overnight.
    • Don’t forget about your parent’s wishes. Your loved one may be moving into Assisted Living, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a voice in your decisions. Make sure they’re included and that you respect their wishes on the most important things to keep.
    • Focus on what’s really important. The downsizing process is meant to help you hold onto things that really matter, and to donate or throw away the rest. Ask yourself if each item you want to save has value – whether useful or sentimental – and base your decisions on that.

Related blog: What do I do if nobody wants my items when downsizing? 

Tip #4: Hire a Real Estate Agent

Staging and listing a home are two of the most important aspects of the selling process, and a real estate agent can help you accomplish both of these tasks more efficiently.

Some sellers choose a family member or friend who’s a real estate agent, but the best agent to choose is one who knows your neighborhood well and has a proven track record.

Kiplinger suggests looking at for-sale signs in your neighborhood to gather names. You may want to attend a few of their open houses to see how they interact with buyers and if you agree with their methods. Once you’ve selected a few, give each a call and ask them a few questions:

  • How long are your homes typically on the market?
  • How many homes have you closed in the past year?
  • What do you typically get as the closing price versus the asking price?
  • How will you market my home?

If agents promise a much higher price than most of the other homes in your area, look elsewhere. Once you’ve found an agent you like, expect to pay five-six percent of the home’s closing price.

Is Your Parent Ready for Assisted Living?

Is your parent still living independently at home, but you suspect it might be time for a move to an Assisted Living community? Our free home assessment checklist can help you examine your parent’s current home and well-being and decide if moving to Assisted Living would be the right step.

Download the checklist today and get information on assessing your parent’s home cleanliness, ability to keep up with bills, personal hygiene and more.

Home Safety and Well-Being Assessment Checklist

Our checklist is the first step in determining if your loved one may be ready to move to an Assisted Living community.

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