A jump on the market: Couples making successful senior moves now say that planning is everything

Sellers thinking about making that big senior move during 2024 are getting mixed signals from the market now—including higher interest rates that tempt them to play it safe, sit tight, and hold onto their old house with its low-interest mortgage.

But Colorado couples who have pulled off senior moves in this market overwhelmingly say they’re happy they did it—and have advice for anybody sitting on the fence, waiting for a better moment to sell:

“Start discussing it early and educate yourself,” says Jan Sturgeon, who with his wife Maureen made a move into a luxury low-maintenance senior living community this fall, after their Highlands Ranch home sold virtually overnight.

“It’s easy to misread this market,” says Blair Bryant with The Steller Group’s Senior Solutions, the real estate company that coached the Sturgeons through that move. (Steller has three seminars on senior moves coming up in December and January.)

“The temptation is to put off a senior move until rates are much lower and prices are as high as we saw in 2022,” Bryant says. “But prices are still very good, and economists see little possibility that we’ll get super-low rates again anywhere in the near term.”

Meanwhile, economists see a likelihood that rates could dip a bit in the coming year. “If that happens,” says Bryant, “a surge of buyers will take advantage. And if you’re not doing things now to get ready, you’ll potentially miss a big opportunity.”

Even before they met Bryant, the Sturgeons had started prepping for a move—including the big job of decluttering their single-family home of 25 years.

When they began working with Steller last year, the move kicked into overdrive—doing a modest remodel that Bryant had suggested to appeal to more buyers; and staging the house for sale. (Steller has in-house contractors that helped carry out both tasks.)

The listing went live on a Friday this past spring and was under contract by Saturday, with backup contracts waiting in the wings. Now Jan and Maureen are thoroughly enjoying their new place in Wind Crest Senior Living in Highlands Ranch.

That includes the social scene with new neighbors who have made similar moves—including Doug and Roxanne Headley, who sold their place in Arapahoe County for a move to Wind Crest at almost the same moment, guided by The Steller Group.

“There are lots of neat experiences to hear about,” says Jan, who began his own career at Control Data Corporation. He speaks highly of the sense of community and of the fitness center, where he met members of Wind Crest’s hiking club and joined a fall trip up Devil’s Head Peak near Sedalia.

Both couples advise getting an early start on decluttering—the logical first step of a downsizing project. “Allow yourself time to get educated on that,” cautions Maureen Sturgeon.

Steller’s free seminars coming up all deal with that decluttering task, as well as other aspects of timing a successful sale.

Steller has free seminars on downsizing set for next Friday, Dec. 1, in Lakewood; for Jan. 18 in Denver; and Jan. 23 in Centennial. Visit DenverSeniorSeminars.com

-Courtesy of The Denver Post’s Mark Samuelson

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