I received a call from a potential client last week. She was interested in learning more about working with Senior Care Realty to help confidentially sell her assisted living facility. During the course of our call, it occurred to me that she wasn’t asking me the right questions.
Sellers often call us with the same question. “How much is your commission?”. I don’t mind answering that question and most sellers are surprised that our unique service costs no more (and sometimes less) than many other alternatives.
I suppose it’s not surprising that sellers start by asking about cost and seldom have many other questions. They often don’t know what they don’t know. So it’s my job to help continue the conversation by answering the following questions:
1. Have you sold other assisted living facilities?
There are many qualified commercial real estate brokers that can do a good job for you. An assisted living facility, after all, is commercial real estate with a business inside. But there are many unique characteristics of assisted living facilities, so experience with this type of property is helpful. Of course, being told that an agent has sold an assisted living facility is one thing, and confirm this with a list of references is another – don’t be afraid to ask for references.
2. How do you determine the recommended asking price?
If a real estate agent simply relies on you to name the asking price, they’re not doing their job and they don’t truly know what to do with the property. An overpriced listing is a waste of time for the seller, the agent and buyer. Always ask for the real estate broker to recommend an asking price and make sure you’re both on the same page.
3. Do you already have buyers in mind for my property?
The answer to this question will tell you whether the broker is active in selling assisted living facilities. Most real estate brokers who are active in a market will come to a new listing with at least several prospective buyers already in mind.
4. What will you do to market the property?
Anyone can place a property on the MLS or other online markets, just as easily as placing a sign in the front yard or an ad in the local newspaper. Find out what they can do to go above and beyond.
5. How will you keep the sale of my assisted living facility confidential?
Most sellers that we work with are concerned about keeping a sale confidential. They don’t want to alert their staff or residents too soon, or cause unnecessary disruptions at their facility. So it’s important to promote the property in ways that don’t reveal its identity too soon.
6. Will you be able to help us check out the buyers?
Distinguishing serious and qualified buyers from tire-kickers and wannabe’s isn’t always easy. Ask your real estate broker how they qualify buyer leads.
7. Do you know how long it will take until closing?
You can find a lot about a broker’s knowledge of assisted living facilities and the transaction process by asking their opinion of the typical deal timeline. They should be able to give you a timeline that includes the specific steps in the sale process leading up to closing. If a timeline seems too good to be true, it probably is and you’re probably dealing with a broker willing to say whatever it takes to get a listing.
8. Do you have recommended sources of financing for buyers?
Brokers that have worked with assisted living facilities should have a list of resources for financing.
9. Will you provide advice on transitioning management?
Helping to confidentially market your facility, negotiate a contract, and finance the deal are important steps. But helping you transition management to the buyer is something you may need too. Confirm whether the broker is available for questions beyond the purchase contract.
This list of questions may seem a bit self-serving but it’s truly intended to help sellers find the right help when making a very important business decision. There are many highly qualified real estate brokers who can answer these questions and help a seller through what may be the biggest sale of their life.
Senior Care Realty collaborates with other real estate brokers all the time in a variety of ways. We’re specialists in assisted living facilities and other senior care real estate, but we can’t be everywhere. If you’re a broker and you have questions of your own in these areas, let us know – we may be able to team up and benefit your client.
This list of questions is just the beginning. It’s nine questions today but may be more next time you check back. What do you wish you would have asked before selecting your real estate broker? Leave me a comment to share with others.