Chicago Real Estate Tips For Seniors

To sell or not to sell? That is a question with which many seniors are wrestling these days. One the one hand, older homeowners are faced with rising maintenance costs, personal physical constraints, a desire to live a more carefree and less complicated lifestyle, a realistic look at future needs, such as being near public transportation and/or quality health care, and living in a “too-large” home. On the other hand, they are reluctant to leave a neighborhood where they are known and respected, move further from friends and family, consider downsizing and parting with treasured items, and undertaking the seemingly overwhelming job of emptying one home and setting up another. In addition, they don’t want to give up the security or the memories tied to their current home.

chicago real estateA knowledgeable and understanding real estate agent who is familiar with the needs and desires of the 55+ set, combined with the services of an attorney who specializes in both real estate and estate planning and an accountant who deals with senior tax implications, can be invaluable to you in looking at all aspects of selling your Chicago real estate and helping you determine what is best for you. Senior Expert Margie Behr also advises that you think about taking out a home equity loan before you put your house on the market and that you involve your whole family in the decision-making process.

If you do decide to sell, BankRate.com cautions you to first get a written market analysis and a financial evaluation which will help you and your team of advisors address the realities of the market, your investments, and tax objectives.

Once underway in the selling process, you‘ll have to prepare your Chicago real estate for showing to potential buyers. That includes removing, storing, or giving away some large furnishing, heirlooms, or collections, and making your home as “clutter-free“ as possible. If this task looms too large for you to deal with by yourself, your real estate agent can provide you with qualified, responsible people who will make the burden much lighter. Remember that a well-maintained property with plenty of open space makes the house seem larger and shows off its assets.

The exterior, too, needs attention so that its “curb appeal“ will make shoppers want to come inside and investigate further. Keep lawns mowed, bushes trimmed, and flower beds fresh and colorful. Walkways, siding/brick, and roofs should be in good condition and entranceways must be attractive and inviting.

What and where to buy? Bankrate.com stresses the importance of looking at all your options and comparing them to your physical needs-now and in the future. Carefully consider the benefits to a one-level home or a building with an elevator. Would a condo with no maintenance required be best for you? Have you thought about a retirement community? You’ll need to determine the value of being close to friends, doctors, churches, stores, public transportation, and facilities which foster leisure pursuits. Do you golf? Want to be involved in a recreational senior center? Will you want trails or bike paths nearby? Be sure to visit areas you are seriously considering–often and at different times of the day. Talk with current residents, drop in the stores, walk around the community with family members or a friend. You can also do some reconnaissance online at ChicagoCityHomes.com which give you very useful demographic information re: income, population, employment, crime rate, etc., or you can Google a specific neighborhood.

Two final precautions: 1) don’t commit to a vacate date on the Chicago real estate you’re selling until you have secured a new residence. You don’t want to have to move twice! 2) if family is really important to you, don’t move too far from them. Many grandparents have regretted their move so much that they have moved back to be closer to the children!

As you go through the process of relocating to/from your Chicago real estate, view it as an adventure, a chance to view the world from a different setting, meet new people, and make new friends–and enjoy the journey!

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