One of the most common issues facing seniors and their adult children is choosing the best and safest place for senior care. Subsequently, another decision arises as to when to sell mom and/or dad’s home when it is no longer a safe place for them.
This is an issue that often can create stress for a family. Part of solving this dilemma is being realistic about
This is where Betsy Phillips with Compass Realty comes in. Betsy helps her clients think through options while providing realistic expectations about pricing, updates, and comparable sales.
Betsy and I shared coffee over Zoom to discuss the housing market as it relates to Seniors and housing.
Leslie: What are you seeing in the North Shore /Chicago real estate market today?
Betsy: Today’s buyer is busy. Unlike their baby boomer parents they are not necessarily interested in renovating. Painting, maybe. They prefer to invest their time in experiences and raising their families, rather than shop the aisles of Home Depot. They are looking for a turnkey home, updated and move-in ready.
On the other hand, bring in the boomers. They are not looking for a project either. Been there and done that. They would, however, like to sell their homes and downsize. However, this is extremely difficult to do for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is where do they move? Much of the new real estate product here is rental properties. The apartments are expensive and very small. Rents continue to rise and if someone is on a fixed income, it may not be doable. There are mental hurdles, too. Many baby boomers have a bias against renting.
Another hurdle is new empty nester housing in the Chicago area is very expensive. In many cases the price is higher than the price for which the owner can sell their existing home. It is a dilemma. The economics may require them to stay put until such a time they can secure more affordable housing. However, if someone needs to use the equity in their home to pay their living expenses, they may not have a choice except to sell.
If you are an owner, the choice of whether to stay in your home or move may be bewildering. Inventory designed specifically for aging in place is hard to come by.
Leslie: There may come a time for many people when aging in place is the preferred option, however, they may need some accommodations. What improvements or accommodations are you seeing owners make to their homes to make it safer?
Betsy: The most common accommodations include grab bars, ramps, and walk-in showers. Other accommodations for the elderly can include non-slip floors, placement of outlets, removing furniture for ease of mobility. Removing area rugs is key. They are so easy to trip over.
Leslie: One of the observations you shared with me was the number of homes that sit empty while mom and/or dad are residing in some sort of care facility. Why is this cause for concern?
Betsy: Vacant homes are susceptible to several problems that can turn out to be very expensive. Besides the normal deterioration of a home due to aging and weather, there can be small problems that go unnoticed and unfixed. Subsequently they can become very large problems. An example is a leak after a strong downpour. Water is insidious. Another issue can be an infestation of pests. Vandalism is on the rise. These new criminals are not deterred by cameras or neighborhood watches.
Leslie: What is the best way to approach this housing dilemma?
Betsy: When working with families, we often suggest that they seek help from a professional who can assess the person’s ability to carry out the tasks of daily living as well as live in their home safely and independently.
Leslie: It sounds like you are advising people to consider their options and work with professionals to make informed decisions.
Betsy: Yes. I am happy to help and will visit the home to provide a marketability assessment if a sale is to be considered. Our firm, Compass Realty, provides funding options for improvements if needed. Those funds are paid back when the home is sold at closing.
For more information or to contact Betsy please call her at 847-525-2111. Her email is Betsylph@gmail.com