Seniors couple with sold sign outside their home
  • 30 Nov 2021
  • 3 min read
  • By Shaun O'Dowd

What agents should consider when selling a retiree's family home

Retirement, Downsizing, Purchase of land contract, Residence contract, Service contract

There comes a time in many senior people's lives when they decide to sell their family home and downsize into something smaller - often in a retirement village.

For the sales agent, selling the home of senior people moving into retirement living can present considerations different from a normal sale.

One factor is that the new contract to enter into a retirement community may not involve a normal purchase of land contract, but will involve a residence contract or a service contract.

Another is that selling the family home and downsizing might be an emotionally turbulent and anxious period for seniors.

Reasons for downsizing

Aveo Retirement & Age Care National Sales Innovation Manager Marilyn Graham says there may be many reasons seniors might opt to downsize, including health concerns, the inability to no longer look after their existing house or even cope with its stairs.

She says seniors looking for retirement living are seeking lifestyle, safety and security and the ability to still live independently and comfortably in a low maintenance property. They are also keen on neighbours of the same demographic who share similar interests, challenges and hobbies plus access to any available additional support services onsite if they need them.

While some retirement villages still operate on a standard freehold basis, it is common for them to offer a leasehold or licensed contract to seniors more akin to a 'right to reside'.

"It's important for the agent's clients to understand that, contractually, that operates differently," Graham says.

She says a retirement village operator such as Aveo obviously doesn't handle the sale of seniors' family properties but can assist with connecting people with local networks of real estate professionals to facilitate that.

More flexibility when selling

Graham says there are benefits to sellers and their agents when selling the family home and moving into a retirement community because retirement village contracts can offer more flexibility during the sale process.

"What that means is that we generally don't need their property to be sold before they can deposit on a home in one of our communities," Graham says.

"It's a bit more flexible in that way. If they're preparing their home for sale or it's currently on the market and they don't have a contract, they're able to enter into a contract with us that is still subject to the sale of their current home.

"There's often less pressure to make sure settlement dates align at a particular time. So, it becomes a little less stressful for the resident."

Graham advocates that the agent understands the difference between the contracts so that, if some confusion arises with the client, the agent can differentiate between the two transactions and talk confidently to both.

An emotional experience

Graham says it's also about understanding the whole process can be an emotional experience for the client.

"It's usually a very large downsize for them from a family home to a small villa or an apartment," she says. "They also can be dealing with some health concerns at the same time."

Graham welcomes agents visiting Aveo retirement villages to gain an understanding of the facilities and lifestyle their clients are buying into.

"It's in everyone's interest for the agent to keep the sale on track, so we will support agents through that where we can," she says.

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