Staging for an Aging Population

It used to be that homes sold in very much the same condition they were lived in. A little tidying and cleaning and the house was ready for buyers. Home selling standards and strategies have changed a great deal. We know now that marketing the home to its likely target audience, including the set-up of the home for showings, increases the chances of a successful sale. This new way of selling can be difficult for senior sellers to adapt to without help from their grown kids.

On the flip side, senior buyer’s expectations have also been raised. Seniors are making a move earlier and by choice, seeking luxuries as well as safety and mobility issues. Leaving the large family home for something smaller and simpler does not mean compromising on quality and features. Anyone selling a property which may appeal to a senior buyer such as a bungalow or a condo, will be wise to consider the senior lifestyle in the staging plan.

Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group in Canada. This trend is expected to continue for the next several decades due to our small family sizes, an increase in life expectancy, and the aging of the baby boom generation. Statistics Canada reports that in 2011, an estimated 5 million Canadians were 65 years of age or older, a number that is expected to double in the next 25 years to reach 10.4 million seniors by 2036. By 2051, about one in four Canadians is expected to be 65 or over. You can bet this will affect the housing market in Canada.

What can we do for our seniors, and for ourselves as we join their ranks? Encourage builders to build more homes that meet the specific needs of the senior market. And help seniors sell the home that no longer suits their needs and get into a home that does. Staging is an especially important selling strategy for seniors, even though they may not understand why. Maximizing home equity is going to be important for retirement years. Staging leads to faster sales for more money. Staging for senior sellers will ensure that the property appeals to the target buyer, who is likely younger, has completely different expectations and a different lifestyle than the senior seller.

Selling the family home usually means dispersing of much of the contents of the home, whether there will not be room or there will be new furnishings at the new home. Hiring a stager for advice on what to keep and what to remove until the house is sold is critical. Common mistakes are to show the house as it was lived in, take too much out, or leave only the unwanted pieces. These mistakes will hurt the sale. If possible, allow plenty of time to sort though and give away or pack away the things identified by your stager to be removed; before listing for a better sale, and before moving into the new home for an easier transition.

Whether the sale is by choice or for health and financial reasons, staging will ensure that the property sells at its best. Whether the seller is aware of the need for current selling strategies, or it takes a family member to show them the way, the services of a professional stager will ensure an easier process for the whole family as well as a results driven, cost effective sales strategy.

Posted in ,