Can a Person With Dementia Sell Their House?

health visitor talking to a senior woman during home visit

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, such as a husband, parent, or grandparent, you’ll face difficult decisions and changes. Extra care and assistance must be provided to ensure utilities won’t be turned off and mortgage payments are made so the house doesn’t go into foreclosure

It’s essential to become familiar with elder law, how you can handle your loved one’s health care, assisted living, and how to sell their house.

While an initial diagnosis of dementia may not change a homeowner’s ability to sell their home, as the house remains their asset, important considerations support selling a residence. 

If they’re thinking, “I want to sell my house for cash,” these can generate funds to cover the costs of health care fees, long-term care, and senior living expenses.

A Person with Dementia Can Sell Their House

A person with dementia can sell their house. However, it is not always as cut and dry as in many situations.  

Whether they can sell their house depends on the stage and severity of their dementia. It also depends on whether or not they have the legal capacity to make decisions.

There are decisions around:

Do They Understand they are Selling their Home?

If the person with dementia has the legal capacity to make decisions and can understand the process of selling their house, they can sell their house just like any other person. However, it’s essential to ensure that the person is making the decision independently and not being coerced or taken advantage of by others.

If the person with dementia does not have the legal capacity to make decisions, they cannot legally sell their house. In such cases, a legal guardian or power of attorney may be appointed to make decisions for the person with dementia.

Selling a house is complicated

It’s important to note that selling a house can be a complex and stressful process. It can be incredibly challenging for someone with dementia. Could a person with dimentia understand what their house is worth if there is an encroachment? Is it even possible to sell with an encroachment?

What if there is an open insurance claim on the house? Could it be sold then?

These are highly complex real estate questions even I have to pause for and I have years of experience! Learn more about me and my real estate experience here. 

Dementia can lead to many issues beyond just selling. The upkeep of the property may be forgotten. Food was left out, and rodents may have taken up residence, making it even harder to sell. Learn more about how to sell a house with rodents here. 

While rodents are exactly squatters, they are now living in the house without your permission. Certainly you would want them gone!

It’s crucial to have a support system in place and to seek guidance from professionals, such as a real estate agent or attorney, to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that the person’s best interests are being served.

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Consulting With an Elder Law Attorney

The decision to sell a house requires a lot of preparation, and it may take time for a homeowner to get acquainted with the process.

It’s crucial to understand this legal area and consult with an elder law attorney so you can discuss all aspects of your loved one’s needs, including retirement, long-term care, health care, and guardianship.

Plus, it would help if you got on top of finances so mortgage payments don’t get behind, which could hinder a sale. 

An attorney may discuss the following with family members when a parent or grandparent with dementia plans to sell their home:

  • The severity of the medical condition, whether a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia demonstrates mild symptoms or if the illness is advanced enough to impact their legal capacity to make financial decisions and complete and sign legal documents
  • The benefits of a living will or a power of attorney
  • How to support a family member with dementia by reviewing contracts, attorney documents, real estate, and long-term care

When you seek legal advice from an attorney specializing in elder law and real estate, you’ll receive all the information you need to work closely with family members and find the best way to help a parent or relative sell their home.

old husband wife in forest

The Benefits of a Power of Attorney

If you were previously granted a Power of Attorney, this would provide significant advantages in selling a home for an elderly parent or grandparent who no longer possesses the legal capacity to review documents, nursing care options, and make financial decisions:

  • It’s easier to handle financial decisions, future care home fees, and other expenses and options for an elderly relative.
  • Depending on the type of POA, you may be able to sell your parent’s home on their behalf, which allows you to help them prepare to move and settle into a new place.
  • You can negotiate on behalf of your loved one to decide on financial matters that best support them, including how to pay for nursing home services and senior living after selling a house.
Power of attorney will also allow you to pay bills, make house repairs, and care for your loved ones’ financial and healthcare needs. 
If you want to sell the house and the air conditioner is broken, you may think about fixing it or possibly contemplate selling with it broken. Learn more about selling a house with a broken air conditioner here. 
Likewise, with a power of attorney, you can access money if the refrigerator or stove isn’t working.

What Type of POA Is Required to Sell a Home for a Relative With Dementia?

Several types of Power of Attorney options may have been set up well before a dementia diagnosis, making selling a home much easier. This agreement allows a specific individual, an agent, to make crucial decisions on behalf of a family member, which varies based on the type of power provided:

  • A POA with limited powers allows for decision-making on specific matters or circumstances, which may or may not include home, property, and/or financial decisions.
  • General power POA allows for an agent to act on some issues that are permitted by state law. This may include selling a home or property, depending on the situation.
  • Healthcare POA is provided with the authority to make decisions related to healthcare and related matters.
  • The Durable POA, also called a Financial POA, gives an agent a broader scope of control over property, legal matters, and financial decisions, only in the event the principal or individual becomes incapacitated. The Financial POA specifically covers all finance-related items, where the agent is authorized to make decisions.
old couple happy after reading notice

Suggestions and Tips for POAs and Selling a Home for Older Adults

Once a Power of Attorney is granted, it’s essential to get familiar with the state laws, what the agreement allows for decision-making, and any limitations.

For example, a Durable POA will grant an agent far more power to sell a home, access funds, and other financial matters, whereas a Limited POA may restrict access to one or more of these areas. It’s essential to keep the POA up-to-date to include recent changes.

EXPERT LEGAL KNOWLEDGE: “Different states have different rules. I recently met a couple moving across state lines for a job relocation. The husband had significant dementia. Before moving for the job relocation, they needed to sell their house. Thankfully they consulted with me before making a move. This ensured everything was done legally and above board.” Denver Real Estate and Elderly Law Attorney, Doug J ESQ.

If the Power of Attorney is too old or doesn’t specify specific terms clearly, this could cause delays in selling a home.

It’s essential to ensure all details of the POA are outlined clearly so that there is no question where an agent has the authority to sell a home or make financial decisions. An elder law attorney will provide concise wording to avoid misinterpretation, and your parent’s doctor can provide an affidavit to confirm the exact date of Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis.

Further details on how funds will be disbursed when a home or property is sold must also be outlined in the POA.

Alternatives to a Power of Attorney

Suppose a POA is not granted and no previous plans were established before an elderly parent is declared incapacitated. In that case, applying for guardianship through the local court system is available.

If successful, this process will give you the authority to sell the home and pay for healthcare and senior living expenses. While seeking guardianship may take longer, it’s an option that will make selling your parents’ home easier.

Once you have an established POA agreement or guardianship, a real estate investor can guide you on how to best sell a home so that you can rest assured that your loved ones have the finances and support they need.

Don't make a mistake when selling a demented persons home

“As a home buyer, I am often approached weekly to buy people’s homes for cash. I am always asked many general real estate questions as I have been in the business for 20 years. I recently had a Denver home-owner come to me asking if he could sell his house to his son for 1 dollar.  This raised some questions for me. 

After some digging, and with the seller’s permission, some joint calls with family, I found out the person had dementia. This opened up many more questions about selling. It just goes to show you can never be too careful. 


There are many challenges in caring for aging parents and loved ones, including how to manage and handle their assets. 

For this reason, it’s best to prepare in advance by consulting with other family members, an elder law attorney, and a financial planner to find the best solution for long-term care without unnecessary delays or obstacles in the future.


Your Solution to Sell Your House for Cash if You Have Dementia.

You can sell your house if you have dementia. We buy houses from all people. and in fact, we will buy any house in any condition in any situation! Of course, a person with dementia can offer unique challenges. 

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