Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Melissa Morgan, a Realtor with BHHS Georgia Properties in Buckhead, about the ways to work with clients who are downsizing.
6. First and foremost, it’s time to get your client to focus on what must go with them to their new home. Today’s downsizing client is sure to have too much furniture, collectibles and trailing artifacts left behind by adult children. Typically, before leaving a listing appointment with a downsizing seller, I recommend three or four local storage facilities and provide a few complimentary moving boxes to get them started.
5. It’s important to be a one-stop resource for downsizing clients. Often times, they’ll need to freshen their homes for the market, ranging from hiring painters to updating bathrooms or flooring. This is where your resourcefulness and vendor connections will shine. Get them in touch with your best cleaner, too. A well-scrubbed home makes buyers think it’s a well-maintained home, leading to a higher sale price in less time.
4. Timing might be pretty important to your downsizing seller. Try not to have your client’s sale of one home and the purchase of their new home happen on the same day. Things can go wrong, and if you’ve got a tight timeline, you just know they will. I try to give my downsizing clients a good 10- to 14-day window to get out of one home and into another. It’s less stress and drama for all.
3. Is your downsizing seller leaving town? Then coordinate with the closing attorney to have as many documents prepped for signatures for them as you can prior to closing. You can even speak to the closing attorney about drawing up a power of attorney if you know the seller won’t be present at closing. Additionally, be sure to have your soon-to-be-out-of-state client’s address and phone number in their new locale, just in case documents need to be overnighted.
2. Some downsizing clients are also a little sheepish about taking the steps to a smaller home. It may prove useful to draw up a features/benefits list of their new home and/or community. They need to imagine themselves at their next new home in order confidently let go of the one you’re selling.
1. Depending on the length your downsizing client has been in the home, consider a full home inspection prior to listing the home for sale. Of course, you’ll be required to disclose any defaults discovered with the home with potential buyers (check your state disclosure requirements), but you can present a complete fix-it list or handle small repairs ahead of a sale. This minimizes the chances of being caught off-guard by a buyer’s demand for repairs, and tackles any concerns up front. It’s also a very good idea to gather up receipts for repairs and any warranty information that transfers to the buyer.
Melissa Morgan is a Realtor with BHHS Georgia Properties in Buckhead. A nine-year veteran of real estate, Melissa is an expert in relocations, move-up buyers, residential sales, schools and swimming/tennis communities, and she even negotiates short sales and foreclosures.