The Senior Move

Acting as the real estate professional for a family or executor when a home was the long-time residence of a senior or a senior couple requires special skills, learned skills and a great deal of care and patience.

In 2006 I embarked on a journey into the field of senior real estate service. In 2007, after one year of study and meeting with top professionals from accountants to trust company executors, I launched the Accredited Senior Agent professional designation for Canadian Realtors. Over the years, thousands of Canadian Realtors have taken the course and for that I am proud. I can claim to be the “guy who wrote the book” on this subject.

As an active Realtor during the past years at RE/MAX Ultimate Realty Inc., I have personally sold more than 60 houses or condominiums where I assisted seniors with downsizing or dealt with estates, and in two cases, helped seniors in their 60s to acquire their lifetime dream homes.

Listing and selling is not the sole role of a Realtor in a senior process. There are many professionals from lawyers to downsizing firms to be consulted. There are unfortunately families who are not in sync, families who are fractured, and a professional, trained Realtor has to work with all parties to make the end result work for everyone. Sometimes, with Family Wars, the process is very difficult. Combine that with a parent who does not want to move and the situation calls for someone with exceptional skills and experience in this field.

I did not just write the material, I have grown and am one of a limited number of Master‑ASA designated Realtors in Canada. I am but a member of this esteemed group. We meet, we attend seminars, we consult with each other and we have many programs to give us more insight into the world of seniors, their families and the dynamics of the real estate process.

As a professional, being a trained arbitrator and mediator and having learned with the Essential Conversations group, it is part of what I do, assisting families who cannot agree on the process, who are at odds and frankly in too many cases allowing old hurts or grudges to burden the process that must be undertaken.

I do my job and well but as a person who cares about the senior field, I find myself doing a fair amount of hand-holding and ensuring that there is an ease in the process.

Due to my work and experience in this field I have the honour to be the official Realtor for Baycrest Hospital’s life-lease program at 2 Neptune Drive in Toronto. In 2016 I was appointed as their real estate professional to purchase suites to transition into rental units for those 65+.

There are easier ways for a Realtor to make a living than working in the complex world of senior real estate practice but I can sincerely state, I am doing what I love to do, helping families who feel frustrated by what lies ahead when it is time to move out mom or dad or handle the estate.

It is not easy to be a problem-solving professional but at all times, be it mom, dad, the family or the executor, I will always put my clients first.


Do I need independent legal advice when signing real estate documents?
It would be prudent to ensure that you have an experienced real estate lawyer review documents before signing. Some documents are simple, like the standard listing form and the lawyer is not needed. A review though of an offer before acceptance is advised as independent legal advice should be in place if someone is not familiar with the real estate process.
Is there a “best” time of the year to sell?
Frankly, houses even get sold on Christmas Day. Stats show that spring and fall are best over other months. Spring because people want to settle in before the summer vacation time and before the new school year. There used to be times when sales fell off, but given the multi-ethnic culture of today, many do not celebrate old traditions such as Christmas holidays.
How to chose a retirement home?
With great care because that is going to be your home for some time to come. Create a wish list of what you want, ensure that you have the prime points down on paper. Do not settle. Check with friends, pay a visit, tour homes, check their pricing, many will let you stay for a few days, a week on a trial basis (for a fee) and always ask your questions. One must do their diligence as picking the wrong residence can be expensive and feel like one is trapped. If you are spry, what is in the area, is there shopping, a library, a subway stop, etc.? Here is a great link,
How to chose a nursing or care facility?

This is where the family steps in. If money is not an object the exercise is easier, but for tight budgets, in Ontario, one is given 3 choices traditionally, and must select one and quickly as bed space is limited. Unfortunately, few plan for this day and many families are in crisis. We offer a professional health care expert to work with the family to ensure that all goes smoothly and the best options for their loved one are achieved.

What do I do with the money from the sale of my property?
It is difficult for someone who has never invested much in their life to suddenly come into a large sum of money and then trust a stranger to invest it for them. A good financial advisor can assist but you have to screen them as not all are alike. Ask for strong recommendations. For the most cautious of investors, look to the smaller banks, trust companies and credit unions who pay more for GICs than the big banks. The government protects your deposit up to $100,000. For example, you sell your home and reap a great price of $800,000 net after commissions and costs. If you are a couple, you each buy $100,000 in a lender. For $800,000 just buy 8 x $100,000 GICs at various institutions and you should be covered and can sleep at night.
Is my money from my property sale tax free?
If it is your principle residence, you are tax free. If it is from an investment property you will be faced with a capital gain if you have made a profit above your original purchase. If a capital gain, speak to your accountant for more advice.
Is Moving Very Stressful?

It does not have to be. We provide consulting for free with a professional transition manager who can bring ease to the process. She will guide you as to what to take to your new home, what to give to family, what to donate, what to sell and what to just toss out. Doing it yourself or doing with family is stressful and very time consuming. There is no need for that as transition management today is practical.

What About My Stuff, the Things That Fill My Home?
Again, that is for the transition manager. She knows what has value and can be sold. Garage sales are difficult, they are very time consuming and take a lot of physical work. We do not recommend them. There are better options today from inhouse internet auctions to consignment shops.

Note: The answers herein are not to be considered independent legal advice or any other advice outside of the expertise of real estate transactions solely. Any party who wants to consider an answer herein should seek independent legal or other professional advice before proceeding.