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Making important decisions under extreme duress can be challenging. Pre-planning can help you avoid the pitfalls of making snap real estate decisions.

One of the real joys I get from practicing real estate is watching people live their dream. To see their face when they buy that first home is special. But there is another side to the equation.

There are many homeowners here in Berks County who have outlived their home's usefulness. In some cases, the house is too big and difficult to care for, or the master bedroom is up an ominous set of steps that can no longer be easily traversed. These homeowners are on the downside of the dream. Often they do not want to go through the pains of moving. But alas, the home has become their adversary. Even with the mounting effort to take care of the property, they do not want to leave, and this is where the paradox begins.

The Paradox

Many people put off the task of preparing for the inevitable move. Their procrastination often leads to the home and grounds falling into disrepair and becoming a shell of its once glorious self. If their condition or health falters and makes the house even more unbearable, they may end up forced into a situation they do not desire.

Unfortunately, this case often leads to getting fewer dollars for the property at a time when much-needed funds are necessary for finding another residence and, of course, retirement. This situation is what I call making real estate decisions on one knee.

How to Avoid the Paradox

Most people have a doctor, accountant, attorney, etc. It may be a good idea to add Realtor® to the list of professionals you trust and confide in. Long before you plan to move interview several real estate agents, like me (selfless plug). Let the agent you chose know you are in the process of pre-planning the sale of your property and would like a market evaluation otherwise known as a home value analysis or CMA. Each year this report can be updated, so you are aware of the overall condition of the real estate market. You may also consider hiring a home inspector to evaluate the general condition of your home. This evaluation can keep you current with the local codes and ordinances that may affect your property and help focus dollars on things that will likely need attention for resale.

One of the most important things to consider is where you want to live next. Take time and study the areas you desire to move to. Check out the different communities or facilities and make sure to understand the finances needed to make a move. Your Realtor® can offer great assistance with this.

Consider how you want to hold title to your property. You may want to speak with an attorney and accountant about a living trust.

It is a sad day when someone has to move from a home full of memories that they so cherish because time has caught up with them. By planning correctly and hiring knowledgeable professionals who will provide solid advice, courtesy, and the respect needed one can certainly lessen the burden and make good real estate decisions on two feet.

Remember, you take the memories with you. Make sure they are good through the whole process!

Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue