A Guide to Home Selling and Buying for LGBTQ Seniors
With the rise in real estate prices across Minnesota and the factors in the marketplace, is it time for our LGBTQ elders to consider selling their home in 2023?
To address this, we asked realtor Scott Belcher of REMAX Results in Minneapolis what he sees with this specific segment in the real estate market.
Belcher pointed out that “many LGBTQ seniors do not have children and/or grandchildren that are often a strong influence as to where our heterosexual seniors choose to live. For LGBTQ seniors, this means more freedom to consider relocating after retirement.”
“After a cold winter such as we just went through,” Belcher continues, “the idea of retiring in a warmer state is on the minds for many of us. For some, this might mean planning for a permanent move or the purchase of a second home.”
Sometimes this means downsizing one’s home and furnishings. As Belcher pointed out that “often the biggest challenge with downsizing is mostly in our mind. So many of us have acquired a great deal over the years, and the process of downsizing to a smaller space can be both overwhelming and /or liberating.”
“To start,” Belcher explains, “I encourage my clients to take a tour with me to see a few condos or possibly one level townhomes (if available, as they are in high demand) and to visualize what a reduced amount of living space, with a well-designed floorplan, can offer. There are many options that will reward them with less required maintenance, less need to clean space that we no longer use, and a safer living environment better suited for aging-in-place.”
Regarding the need to actually downsize your life, Belcher explained that “there are numerous resources available that can help with the downsizing process. This might include companies which can assist with planning for the new space, deciding on what to keep and packing it for your move, possibly selling some items on consignment, or donating to a family in need.”
When it comes to selling your current home, there are some key actions an LGBTQ senior must undertake before having it listed. Belcher said that is to start with a “conversation with a trusted realtor sooner versus later.”
“If you have been in your home for more than a few years,” Belcher explains, “the process of selling will take time. This can be very stressful, and the right realtor can make it a much more pleasant experience. As your realtor, I believe our role includes much more than simply listing your house to sell. Our role includes providing both direction and resources to best prepare your home to sell in the shortest amount of time, at the best possible price, and with the least amount of stress for you.”
“We will carefully evaluate your home and assist you in highlighting its best features while minimizing any that might be a negative/distraction for potential buyers,” Belcher continued. “The goal is to encourage buyers to see themselves living there, and to make their best possible offer based on the condition, the location, and the price of possible competing inventory.”
Which leads to the purchase of a new home. Given some considerations to LGBTQ seniors diving into the home buying market, the best advice Belcher will give to you is “to avoid getting caught up in a bidding war where you may have regrets later. I advise my buyer to spend an appropriate amount of time making a clear and concise list of what you both want and need in your next home and to think twice before compromising too many of the items on the list.”
“As we age, our needs change,” Belcher explains, “and our new home should be chosen carefully with this in mind. Depending how long you plan on being in the new home, being realistic, you should consider potential for physical challenges down the road. In addition, if you like to be social, you will want to be cognizant of your aging friends and family that might have physical limitations. As we age, our friends age.”
Taking all of this heart may help in the transition between your longtime home and your new one. As listings fluctuate with market conditions and rising prices across our region, it takes these tips and viewpoints to find a way through to finding a happy home at this stage in your life.
Belcher concludes that “while we will continue to enjoy our memories of the places and spaces we have lived in before, there are new memories to be made in a new home. With an attentive realtor, and a strategic plan of action, you can enter a new home, carefully chosen and better suited to your changing needs, both for today and in the future.”