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What to Know Before Listing Your Parents’ House for Sale

A mother and daughter discuss assisted living outside together.


Your loved ones are ready for a change. As they grew older, their home turned into a grind they couldn't keep up with. You're happy that they’re making a change to improve their quality of life. But there's one big thing left for you to handle - selling their house.

Whether you're selling your parents’ home to pay for care or they’re just downsizing, it's best to do the prep work so it sells more quickly. There are certain things to know when selling any house. But those facts change when it comes to helping your parents. In this post we're going to highlight what you need to know before listing your parents’ house. By following the guidelines below, you can make this transition smoother for your entire family.

Research the Housing Market

Chances are your parents have had the same home for several years. A great place to start when selling your parents’ home is to research the local housing market. Do some digging and figure out what houses in the area are selling for. Take a look at how long those houses were listed before they sold. This will give you a great idea about what to expect once you list your parents’ house.

Find a comparable home in the area. Reviewing the performance of a similar property can help you determine your asking price. Given the emotional attachment your parents’ home has, it's tempting to factor that into the value. Stay grounded in the facts. Setting a reasonable asking price is a crucial step in the selling process.

What if Your Parent’s Home Needs Some Extra Help?

Many older adults have had their home for a long time. And sometimes that means the house needs updates to make it more marketable. If this sounds like your parents’ house, start by contacting a realtor. They can walk through the home with you and identify opportunities to make the home sell.

If the house needs new kitchen cabinets or repairs beyond your level of comfort, get in touch with a trustworthy contractor. You might have not expected to invest money in renovations, but it will make your parents’ home more valuable in the long run.

What's Going and What's Staying?

One of the biggest questions about selling your parents’ home is what to do with all their stuff. If your parents are moving to a senior living community like Willow Brook, here's what we recommend. Walk through the house with your parents with two colors of sticky notes. Assign one color to items they are taking with them and the other to what's being left behind.

The last thing you want is to be ready to list the house and have no idea what to do with all the furniture and personal items left behind. Once you have everything sorted, there's a few routes you can choose:

  • See if any family members have use of the unwanted items.
  • Contact an auction company or service to help you sell the items.
  • Offer the larger pieces of furniture as an incentive for potential home buyers.
  • What if Your Parents Are Unable to Help?

    It’s common for some seniors selling their home to not have the mobility or ability to help with the process. If you’re in this situation, there’s nothing to worry about, but it will require you to do some extra work. When you parents aren’t available to help, a good tip is to create a collection of their belongings that they can go through later on. If you’re not sure about an item, it’s best to include it or ask your parents about it.

    Cleaning out a home is a lot of work. While it’s a task that you can accomplish, staying organized and planning things out can help stop you from feeling overwhelmed. If cleaning out your parents’ house gets to be too much, you can always look into hiring a downsizing professional, an auction house or a moving company to help with the heavy lifting.

    Which Senior Living Community Are Your Parents Moving to?

    This might sound like a no-brainer, but you want to know the senior living community your parents are moving to before listing their house. To help inform the decision, you'll want to know:

  • The size of your parents’ senior apartment.
  • The cost of your parents’ level of care and housing each month.
  • Which furniture or appliances are included in the community?
  • Get an Understanding of Your State's Current Tax Laws

    You may already know this but selling your parents’ home is a taxable event. In most cases, if the home has been their primary residence for at least a couple years, they could qualify for a tax break. Set aside some time to speak with an accountant to discuss the impact of selling your parents’ home on their taxes for the upcoming year.

    Find a New Home and New Meaning at Willow Brook

    We know that selling your parents’ home can be tough. It's a place filled with meaningful memories, but the opportunity for new experiences is closer than you think.

    Willow Brook has three campuses where older adults like your parents have the support to live to their fullest potential. Explore our locations and contact our compassionate team for more information today.