Help: My Parents Need to Move! A Guide to Downsizing

Many of us boomers are facing aging parents with homes they have lived in for decades. We never like to think about having to move them, but preparedness helps all parties in the situation. I have had several opportunities to help clients in this situation over the years. A few years ago an elderly woman who was already in an assisted living facility had a home she needed to clear out and put on the market. She loved this home and especially all of the wallpaper and the red shag carpet. The only room that had been updated was the kitchen, however it still boasted a floral border that made the home feel it’s age. It was in a mid-century neighborhood (Walnut Hills) within the Cherry Creek School District on a great lot. I knew the area and that if we got it in spit spot shape, it would sell quickly.


Where to start? I recommend you consult a REALTOR® with experience in this area that has a team in place ready to assist with all aspects of the kind of work involved. This team includes companies that specialize in senior moving, estate sales, flooring, tile work, painting, inspectors, HVAC contractors, sewer scoping and a good handyman for necessary repairs. The first decision is how you want to present the home. Is there money in the budget to get it up to par to get top dollar or do you decide to sell “as is” and price it lower? What can the neighborhood bear?

Once you decide on your approach then you can put your plan into action. I find it helpful for all parties involved to put a step by step plan in place. One that is clear and concise.

Step 1: Decide on your marketing strategy (are you going for top dollar or selling as-is?).

Step 2: Have a stager consult on fix ups for max pricing if you have decided to go for it.

Step 3: Clean out and declutter (will furnishings be left in the house for staging or will it show better empty?) Have all family and friends claim what they want and decide what furnishing will go with mom and dad. This may be the time to hire downsizing specialist to help clean out, organize and pack.

Step 4: Schedule a sewer scope (you will want to know if money will need to be spent on repairing any breaks in the line).

Step 5: Arrange for a pre-listing inspection with a qualified home inspector (this will alert you to any health and safety issues that may come up once the house is under contract). Depending on the findings, make necessary repairs/replacements or adjust the price down accordingly.

Step 6: Have a painter give an estimate to have the house repainted inside and out if necessary.

Step 7: Obtain an estimate for flooring. Do hardwoods need to be refinished? New carpet?

Step 8: Consult with an estate sale company to get what is left moved.

Step 9: Schedule and coordinate all work deemed necessary as per marketing plan.

Step 10: Stage the property (if applicable)

Step 11: Have the property professionally photographed (even if it is to be sold as-is and empty). Every buyer starts their search online (like you appear to be doing) so you want to provide the most info as possible.

Step 12: Place the property on the market.

If you or anyone you know is in need of help with parents, aunts, uncles,’ friends please call us for a consultation. We are here to help step by step.