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Should I Sell My Home Before I Retire?

Considering selling your home before retirement? It is best to plan ahead.

As a REALTOR at Active Adults Realty, we deal with many clients who are getting ready to retire. When the time comes, do you know what your next step is going to be? If you are planning to relocate when you retire, now is the time to put your plan together.

What is the first step?

How do you prepare to sell your home before you are retired?

Decide where you want to live when the choice is all yours. And, determine when to sell your current home if you plan to move.

The best time to sell is not necessarily when you have retired and are ready to move. Markets can change from a Sellers Market to a Buyers Market in a matter of months. Without a crystal ball, I dont know anyone that can accurately predict markets, whether real estate or the stock market.

If you know you intend to move in a year or two and homes are selling really well where you live right now, my advice is to find a great Listing Agent. Get your home on the market while the iron is still hot.

Downsize your stuff

Start your downsizing now so you will have plenty of time to determine what your family wants and what items you need to dispose of before you move. Why wait until the last minute? You have a lot to accomplish, so lets start now.

When you hear downsizing your first thought is that means you will move into a smaller home. I have to tell you that is not necessarily true. You might actually buy a home with the same or more square footage but it will be a different layout.

What you should be downsizing is all of your accumulated stuff. Do you still have things that your parents and grandparents left you? Ill bet a lot of it is still in boxes in the attic or the basement. You need to go through it, ask your siblings, and your children if they want any of it now. If they dont, you need to start donating it to Thrift Stores, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and church groups. Do not put this off!


Homes, like cars, need maintenance and some parts require replacement. If your home has not been updated in the past 20 years or more, it needs updating in order to sell. Again, why wait until the last minute to take care of repairs? Get a professional Home Inspection and find out what needs to be done and do it while there is time and no rush jobs required.

If you have always wanted hardwood floors or an updated bathroom, why not make this change? The worst case is you get to enjoy the updates for the remaining years in your home.

If you have good quality appliances, you may only need to replace outdated cabinets. Be certain to add functionality with drawer organizers and roll-out trays. Changing cabinet hardware and replacing old light fixtures can make the world of difference without costing thousands of dollars

Remember, tastes change. The home buyers of today are looking for more open floorplansmore modern, streamlined, and uncluttered looks. A lot can be accomplished by repainting walls in neutral tones like grey or a creamy neutral rather than stark white.

Stage your home

When I mention home staging to a Seller, the first thing they ask is Do I have to put away all my family photos? My answer is almost always Yes, we dont want to distract potential buyers from looking at the house.

A few family photos scattered throughout the home are not a problem but the goal of staging is to make your home feel spacious and inviting. Home staging can make your home show like a modelplay up all the most positive features and downplay any negatives. Effective home staging is critical to selling your home quickly and for a good price. For more information how home staging can help sell homes more quickly, read our article: Delaware Homes Using Home Staging Sell Quickly

List and Sell your home

Once you have downsized your stuff, repaired, updated, and staged your home, its time to list your home to sell. If you have a relationship with a great Listing Agent, they would have been part of the planning, the decisions on repairs, the updates, and decluttering.

If it has been years since you bought or sold a home you may not know how to choose a Listing Agent. We can help with that. Over the last 15 years, we have learned how to select a great Listing Agent. We have also gotten recommendations from our Buyers that have relocated here from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New England, Pennsylvania. Delaware has become the new Boomer Melting Pot of the Mid Atlantic and Northeast Regions. We have a network of great REALTORS to recommend.

For more tips on selling your home, you can request a copy of our complimentary Home Sellers Guide.

Once your home has been sold, put the money in the bank, rent a place convenient to your jobs, and start taking weekends and vacations scouting out potential retirement locations.

Do you know where you want to live? Even if you are sure the answer is Yes, I have always known I want to retire to Florida or the Carolinas, stop and think about it. It is a big decision and you want to carefully consider your options. Moving again and again while retired is costly. Please do yourself a favor and think about everything that is important to you.

Where do your children live? More importantly, where will your grandchildren live? How often do you want to see them and do you want to be part of their lives?

Our most successful retiree clients are the ones that started early, contacting us anywhere from one to three years before their planned relocation. They followed at least some of the advice and tips we shared here and ended up living happily in the home and community they chose for many years.

Some of the more difficult clients to help have been the ones who made a quick decision, went house hunting on their own and succumbed to a good sales pitch. When they realized a year or two later that they were miserable, the financial hit to relocate again was significant. Homes typically appreciate over time but they are not meant to be bought and sold every few years. This is why taking the time to plan your retirement is so important.

My Best Advice

Get Advice and help from the very beginning. The minute you start thinking about the possibility of relocating to Delaware or moving from your family home to one that is better suited to your new lifestyle.

At Active Adults Realty in Delaware, we have the experience to help you factor in all the pieces and steps needed to sell your home when you retire. Contact us todayor give us a call and we will be happy to take time to discuss your ideas, plans and help you make the best decisions for your future.

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