Dr. Ann Meyerson is a Realtor and Transition Counselor. She
specializes in helping seniors and their families during real
estate transitions. She has developed guidelines and strategies to
assist clients with the preparation and sale of a home as well as
working with them throughout the move process. Dr. Meyerson has
done extensive speaking on "The Psychology of Moving" to audiences
exploring their options and has promoted the concept of preparing
seniors both emotionally and logistically for this important next
Featured as an industry expert on Channel 12 News and as the
host of The Real Estate Forum on Cablevision, Dr. Meyerson is
licensed by the National Association of Realtors in both Florida
and Connecticut since 1985. She received her graduate training at
the University of Maryland in Counseling and a doctorate in
Educational Leadership at Georgia State University.
Dr. Meyerson shares her first-hand knowledge
of the journey and can relate with warmth and humor about working
with her widowed mother and two teenage daughters on making the
right move for Mom. Dr. Meyerson has expert advice about the real
estate process from "When Is the Right Time to Make the Move",
"What are the Steps to Getting the House on the Market" to "How Do
We Select the Most Suitable Real Estate Agent."
Below are Dr. Meyerson's answers to some of the top questions
we've received about
moving elderly parents.
Q: When is the right time to
begin the move process for my elderly parents?
A: Often, concerned family
members question the timing process to begin assisting their
elderly parents with a move. It is never too early to begin the
psychological process. While the actual move may be months or
sometimes years away, the emotional preparation begins much
Individuals and their support family should explore all of the
next phase options prior to the actual implementation. Relevant
- Where is the next home going to be?
- How much will it cost? What is actually affordable?
- What is the current home worth?
- What is involved in putting it on the market?
- Do repairs or maintenance need to be done?
- Most importantly, when is the appropriate time to make the
In many cases, these questions need to be explored before any
action can be taken. A well thought-out plan and goals will ease
the transition process. With careful planning and consulting with
family, friends, lawyers, financial advisors and realtors, positive
steps can be taken. In a crisis or when sellers are not motivated,
the wrong decisions can be made about house pricing, timing,
necessary preparation and the logistics of the sale.
For seniors and their families, the decision-making may not be a
smooth or easy process. In order to understand the full process, it
is helpful to get a Realtor's Assessment. Many Realtors have
expertise in this specialty and can help the family with their
decision-making at the beginning stages of the move.
Learn more about how to handle tough
conversations with your elderly loved ones.
Q: My parents keep making
excuses for not moving. What can I do to help
A: As a Realtor working with
Senior Transitions, I am finding a not infrequent situation in
which seniors are acquiescing to leaving their current home without
really meaning it. Often the seller thinks they are doing all the
right things while psychologically they are putting up many road
blocks. These elder sellers go through all of the preliminary
steps. They explore their alternate living options, begin
decluttering, consult their attorney and many even go so far
as to meet with real estate agents , select one and put the house
on the market. The question is; are they really ready to make the
move or are they practicing Fantasy Real Estate?
The rules of Fantasy Real Estate may not be readily apparent but
as the MLS listing and the showing process begins they quickly
become evident. Here are a few signs that the seller is actually
less than willing:
- Is the property priced realistically?
- When given feedback that the market is not responding favorably
to the price, does the owner resist a price
- Does the seller set up an arbitrary price below which they will
- Is the house difficult to show? Are the time frames
for showing unrealistic?
If the showing guidelines are too restrictive and the property
can only be shown in good weather, this is not a co-operative
seller. When the seller insists on being present at all showings
even though a licensed Realtor accompanies the prospective this may
be an unwillingness of the owner to give up control.
These are but a few of the signals that non sellers send out
when they aren't comfortable with the decision to make the move.
Not only must seniors and their families acknowledge this phenomena
but the Listing Agent must also be savvy. It is not fair to the
seller to persist for too long in this unsuccessful marketing
attempt. It is also is not fair to the buyers, their agent or to
the Listing Agent. A key factor in Senior Transitions may involve a
heart to heart with all parties involved in the actual listing.
Sellers and members of their support systems must agree not to
proceed until Fantasy Real Estate becomes Real Estate.
Q: When my parents move into assisted living should we
sell or rent their house?
A: This is an excellent question that is asked
quite often by concerned families. There is no set response to this
inquiry; it really depends on each individual situation.
There are many considerations. What are the plans for this house
in the long term? If family members are considering using the
property for personal use, it may be advantageous to rent it short
term until these decisions are reached. Senior parents may also
need a little psychological room to give up "their home" in stages
and renting out the property can be a temporary solution.
Another extremely important factor will be an economic one. If
the next move requires a significant financial contribution, the
house may need to be sold immediately to free up the funds for
current use. In this situation, it is necessary to determine the
real estate value of the property. The marketability of the house
and a review of market conditions should be explored. Even on a
preliminary basis, a Realtor should be consulted to assist with
obtaining accurate information.
Renting a property involves many factors. The profitability of
the rental income will depend on the existing mortgage costs, real
estate taxes, maintenance fees and operating costs. There may also
be estate and tax considerations that should be addressed with an
accountant or financial adviser.
The realities of being a landlord also need to be examined.
Determine if there is a family member locally who is willing to
accept the responsibility. Property management can be a very time
consuming and is an ongoing job. Ask a real estate agent to provide
you with a standard lease so you can review what will be required
of the owner and the tenant. Determining the correct amount for the
rental is also key.
A final word of advice: The worst decision regarding selling
versus renting is to do nothing. Please do not keep the property
empty while family decisions are made. Obviously, there may be a
period when repairs or fix-ups to the house may be required before
it can be sold or rented. Long term, a vacant house or condo can be
problematic and only delays the decision-making process.
Determinations about what to do with the property need to be made
simultaneously with decisions about the entire senior transition
Q: Is it better to sell my mother's house before or
after she moves to her new residence?
A: In my experience with transitioning elder
home owners, this really depends on what each seller is comfortable
with. In an ideal situation, the house or unit will be in prepped
to be put on the market. Some sellers embrace this process while
others are not comfortable or capable of handling the decluttering
and staging aspects. Often, the required changes are too
overwhelming and should be handled after the current owner has
A house on the market must be able to be shown with ease.
Showing hours when possible should make it accessible to potential
buyers. Often, elder home owners have difficulty with morning
showings and may require 24-hour notice. It is not advisable to
have a seller present when the house is being shown. Input from the
owner is not appropriate when a licensed agent is bringing a
potential buyer. It may also be upsetting for Mom to watch someone
go through her home and she can be a negative influence through no
fault of her own.
The reality is that an older seller may not be physically or
cognitively able to leave the property each time it is shown. An
experienced real estate agent will work around these showing
circumstances. However, I have found myself that it is critical
that a possible buyer be able to imagine themselves in the
property. When Mom is hovering, it is more difficult to close the
The entire transition team working with Mom should help her
decide what is best for her. She will usually let you know what
makes her feel comfortable. If it is economically feasible to move
Mom or to make other arrangements for her while her house is on the
market, this may be the best alternative. Of course, there is
always the exception! I had a very dear senior seller who not only
wanted to be at every showing, she actually served pineapple juice
and cookies to the prospective buyers! We did get her home sold for
a good price and her transition went smoothly.
Contact Ann Meyerson, Ph.D., Licensed Realtor in Florida
561-929-2149 or 203-216-4072
Leading Real Estate Companies LRE