It’s a good time to sell your house. What are you waiting for?

indianapolisLooking to sell your home? You picked a great time, especially in the Indianapolis area. We spoke to several local real estate experts and they told us why.

When you were in your 20s and 30s, you were nimble and ready to put a “For Sale” sign in the yard at a moment’s notice. But at this point in your life, you may believe that that next move, which possibly is your last, translates to a loss of independence.

But the fact of the matter is proactively selling your home (in other words, before you have to) actually helps you maintain control of your life.

Why should you be proactive?

First, being proactive allows you to pick the best market in which to sell. Take right now, for example. In 2014, the average sales price for homes in metropolitan Indianapolis was up 12.6 percent over 2012, according to the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors®. And prices are predicted to remain high into 2015. On top of that, the first few months of the year are the best time to sell because inventory is usually lower than when the weather warms up, says Connie Jurey, current president of Indiana Real Estate Independent Brokers Association (IREIBA).

You’ll also get a better price when you have time to wait for it. “I recommend seniors list their homes long before they need assisted living to get the best price, rather than when they are desperate to get rid of it and may have to take a lower offer,” says Jurey, who is also broker/owner of House Smart ™ Realty, LLC in Indianapolis. In addition to higher prices, “Lower [interest] rates mean a larger pool of buyers for seniors to sell to,” adds Jurey.

Plus, if you’re in control of the timing of your move, rather than leaving it up to Mother Nature, you won’t have to rely on family and friends to sort through your years of possessions. The decision about what to get rid of and what to keep will be all yours.

In 2014, the average sales price for homes in metropolitan Indianapolis was up 12.6% over 2012

Is my house ready to sell?

Thankfully, you probably won’t have to spend a lot of dollars and hours fixing up your house in order to put it on the market, says Jurey, who recommends to clients to first make sure everything is working—from the furnace to the faucets. Next, she suggests that sellers de-clutter all the rooms (that will also give you a head start on your move). While you don’t have to worry about major renovations, small updates like replacing lighting and carpet and removing wallpaper can make a big difference.

Any aging-in-place modifications that you’ve done while you lived in your home, like grab bars, high-rise toilets and lever handles on doors and faucets, should give you an advantage when you sell. “By adding these items, it’s definitely going to raise the value [of your home],” explains Bill Stevens, Vice President of Unique Home Solutions, which serves Indianapolis. Stevens is also President of the Home Safety Division of Unique Home Solutions.

Where do you go from here?

Jurey finds that many of her 62- to 78-year-old clients are moving to maintenance-free living communities, sometimes known as active adult or 55+ communities, to give them the freedom to enjoy their retirement. You can also choose an Independent Living retirement community if you require little or no assistance but are looking for social engagement and a supportive environment.

Another popular path is downsizing to a smaller house or condo and making some modifications that will help you live there safely longer. Gordon Elson, owner of Seniors Handyman in Indianapolis, who is a Certified Aging-in-Place (CAPS) Specialist, not only assists seniors with repairs and updates while they’re living in their homes and when they’re ready to sell, but he also retrofits their new homes with grab bars, walk-in showers, wheelchair ramps and more. Says Elson, “We help people do what they want to do and stay in their homes as long as they can.”

But don’t worry that only seniors will be interested in your home once you’ve made these changes. “Modifications are designed to look more age-friendly now,” says Stevens, who also has the CAPS credential. Aging-in-place additions, such as grab bars that double as toilet paper holders and high-rise toilets, are inconspicuous to the average homebuyer. And other renovations like easy-access showers are popular with homeowners of all ages.

Who knows how long this favorable real estate market will last? Take advantage of it now… and take control of your own destiny!