One of the most important elements is finding a real estate professional who understands the needs of the senior population. There is a designation called a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) who has training with elder needs. They can guide you to many resources saving lots of time and money especially if the family does not reside in the same area as the parent.
The next thing I usually see the family do is decide what to do with the family furnishings, etc. Sometimes you will want to put some of the items in storage for the parent. Often times I have found the parents also want to simplify their lives and thus offer their possessions to the family. If possible talk it over with the parent and then depending on his/her wishes have the family over to decide what everyone wants to keep. Sometimes an estate sale is in order, especially if the home is full of heirlooms and collectibles. Most estate sellers will meet with the interested party and go over cost to do an estate sale. I have even had estate sellers after the sale clean out the home of unsold items by donating to charities such as Goodwill. This service makes it a lot easier on the family member in charge of the estate.
Now come the repairs and sprucing-up phase. It is important to get an intelligent idea of what to do – I would suggest keeping major remodeling to a minimum. This is where the real estate professional comes in handy. It is also important to identify at this phase who your next potential buyer might be.
Staging the home often bring higher offers. I had listed a family home that was in its basic original condition – rather than leave it empty we painted the home and got it staged. The staging showed off the large size of the rooms and pulled attention away from imperfections. In this case the staging company suggested a baby grand piano in the living room. Boy, did the look of this home pop! We sold it to a great family in short order.
One of the final steps before putting the home up for sale is pricing it RIGHT! Do this well part well and a good offer will be just around the corner. Remember – Life will be simpler once some of the key actions of the estate are started and completed.
A SRES has training to minimize the rollercoaster feeling that the family goes through during this difficult time. With all the above in place the process should be pretty straight forward. Good luck!
Let me know if you have any additional question on senior real estate issues.