Staging Your Parent’s Home for Sale When Transitioning to Assisted Living

When your parent in his or her Golden Years makes the decision to move to an assisted living community, your mother or father’s life is on the pathway to major change. A primary part of that significant life transformation likely is leaving a residence in which you parent has resided for what very well may be a long period of time. 

Selling your parent’s home as part of the process of transitioning to assisted living can be a logistical and emotional experience. In order to optimize your parent’s investment in his or her residence, you may want to consider staging the home for sale. 

There are some unique considerations that you need to bear in mind when it comes to staging your older parent’s home for sale in anticipation of a move to an assisted living community. Through this article, we discuss not only some basic facts and factors about staging a home for sale but also the unique challenges associated with staging the home of an older individual heading to a new phase of life in an assisted living community.

Overview of Staging 

In basic terms, home staging is the preparation of a private residence for sale. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the broadest swath of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by insuring it is a welcoming, attractive environment that a wide range of buyers can see themself living in.

Three Primary Facts About Staging

The National Association of Realtors has identified three primary facts about staging that are important for both you and your aging parent to understand:

Many buyers struggle to envision a residence as their own: When a home is empty, buyers struggle to envision integrating their own furniture into a room and using the space to its full potential. Just a handful of pieces can give them a better sense of room proportions and possible furniture arrangements.

Buyers spend more time in a staged home and a staged home sells more quickly. Staged homes often lead to higher sales prices and faster sales. A National Association of Realtor’s report found that 23 percent of buyers’ and sellers’ agents said that home staging raised the price offered between 1 percent and 5 percent, when contrasted with similar homes that were not staged.

About 33 percent of real estate agents who work for sellers report that they stage all of their sellers’ homes. They do not necessarily stage an entire home, however. Some rooms are more important than others. Listing agents said these are the top 5 priorities for staging:

  • Living rooms – 90 percent  
  • Kitchens – 80 percent
  • Primary bedrooms – 78 percent
  • Dining rooms – 69 percent 
  • Bathroom – 56 percent

Hiring a Staging Professional

There are a number of elements to pay attention to when it comes to hiring a staging professional to work on your parent’s home prior to the residence going on the market for sale. These include:

  • Training of staging professional
  • Specific experience of staging professional
  • Determination of how well a staging professional gets along with others involved in the process including you, the real estate agent, and most particularly, your parent
  • Background of staging professional in working with older clients
  • Industry credentials
  • Cost for services

Unique Challenges of Staging an Older Person’s Residence

There are unique challenges faced by adult children who are assisting older parents in preparing a home for sale in advance of transitioning to assisted living. This includes challenges surrounding staging of a residence.

  • The reality is that many people in their Golden Years are unfamiliar with the concept of residential staging. A good number of people who put their homes on the market before moving to assisted living have lived in the residence being sold for many, many years. The idea of staging likely was not even “a thing” the last time they bought or sold a home.
  • Time and again, older individuals end up feeling at least somewhat offended by the prospect of having someone come in and change the way their homes look in advance of putting them on the market for sale. They simply do not fully understand that staging is not intended as a criticism of what currently exists in a home. Rather, it is intended to clear a residence to some degree, to even make it less unique. This then allows prospective buyers the ability to better picture their own furniture and other items in the residence. 
  • Oftentimes, an older individual has not actually moved to assisted living in advance of putting a home on the market for sale. In addition, there is a good number of older people who cannot take leave of their residences when stagers need to work. This can frustrate everyone involved in the process of getting a property ready for sale.