The death of a loved one, particularly a parent, is such an emotional experience without the added stress of then being faced with needing to sell their home. This is what happened to Sue Conway after her mother Rhoda, unexpectedly passed away in September 2018.
Rhoda, 86, had been enjoying life at Bilberry Place, a Retirement Living Plus development in Bromsgrove, after moving from Surrey to be closer to Sue.
“Mum was really settled at Bilberry Place”, says Sue.
“She’d left all her worries behind in Surrey and it was like the weight of the world had been lifted. She was enjoying making new friends and the convenience of being so close to town meant she was very active, always out and about socialising or taking a stroll.”
Rhoda’s time was sadly cut short after an impromptu trip to Weston Super Mare left her with a nasty cold which unfortunately developed into pneumonia.
“It was very sudden”, says Sue.
“I’d only seen her the day before and she was perfectly well. She absolutely loved going on these organised coach trips, she thought they were terrific, but on this particular occasion the weather took a turn for the worse. Mum wouldn’t let this stop her though, she was determined she would see the sea. She’d been wanting to go for some time and when mum had an idea in her head there was no stopping her!
“After she became ill we tried to get her to see a doctor but she was very stubborn, saying it was just a cold.”
The news hit the family hard, not least because Rhoda was finally settled in her new home and had such a positive outlook on the future.
Sue recalls: “During such a loss the last thing any of us wanted to deal with was the property side of things, and all the paperwork and monetary implications of this.”
Sue along with her daughter, Sian, began to consider how they would sell the apartment at Bilberry Place.
She says: “We put the property on the market in October before we had probate so we could begin the process.
“I’d done some research beforehand about the resales process as it was a slight concern of mine when mum was going into it. I was advised that McCarthy & Stone would be setting up its own dedicated, in-house resales service which was good to hear, but I’d never envisaged I would have to use it quite so soon.”
Despite the upsetting circumstances, Sue was pleased to have the support of McCarthy & Stone Resales, which took care of everything and meant she didn’t have the hassle of dealing with estate agents. Something that was all too fresh in Sue’s memory after recently having sold her own home.
“The thought of going through all that again was really stressful. Having to fit viewings in at the drop of a hat, all the comings and goings, phone calls etc, I just wanted it off my plate”, says Sue.
“The whole process with McCarthy & Stone Resales was extremely efficient and we had viewings lined up more or less straightaway. The great thing about it though was that the House Manager, took care of all of these so I didn’t need to be there.
“It was upsetting to have to keep revisiting the apartment, so knowing this was all in-hand was such a relief. I’d get email and text updates on how things were going and I felt reassured everyone was doing their very best to secure a sale quickly for us.”
With the House Manager’s knowledge of the development and the area, and the fact she knew the other homeowners at Bilberry Place better than anyone, she was uniquely placed to take perspective purchasers round, and deliver exceptional customer service.
Sue explains: “I’d read that if you rely on local agents to sell a retirement property you can often be waiting for some time, with little or no interest. Like me, they wouldn’t have the understanding to communicate about the lifestyle benefits and the fantastic communal areas and facilities, which is so important to people when making this type of move.
“They want to know about the social activities on offer, how the restaurant operates, they want to be introduced to some of the current homeowners and get a real feel for the place; and this needs to be done by someone who truly understands their needs and abilities.”
Sue received an offer in January 2019 and had probate granted just before exchange meaning they were able to complete very quickly afterwards in May. A single lady helped by a relative bought the property, and Sue was pleased to know that someone in a similar situation to her mum could benefit like she had, and in her words, “not let it go to waste.”
“We took the first offer we had”, says Sue.
“McCarthy & Stone had given us a realistic price range of what they thought we could get for the apartment, and the offer was bang on. They were a cash buyer too so it just made everything so easy.”
Rhoda had originally purchased the property using McCarthy & Stone’s Part Exchange scheme.
Sue continues: “I hoped when we came to sell mum’s apartment that we wouldn’t take too much of a hit. I was pleased to more or less break even on the price she paid, which was brilliant and the best outcome we could of hoped for.
“The fees were very fair and McCarthy & Stone doesn’t charge any exit fees like some other retirement providers, so this was also a relief to us.”
Commenting on Sue’s experience at Bilberry Place, Resales Director, David Gabriel said: “We were really pleased to achieve such a fantastic result for Sue and her family. It is always very upsetting when a close relative passes away so suddenly and having to deal with their estate can be a very daunting and stressful task. We are pleased to able to support Sue and her family, achieving a hassle-free sale for Rhoda’s property.”
“Combining the market expertise of a dedicated estate agency team that thoroughly understands the retirement sector, with the local knowledge of McCarthy & Stone’s exceptional House Managers, means our team can offer existing retirement property owners access to a unique selling service.
“As well as ensuring a fair financial deal, we focus just as much on the benefits retirement living brings. By doing so, we often open the eyes of potential buyers like Sue’s, to a whole new world of possibility.”