HOME PREPARATION TIPS FOR YOUR VACATION

When you are preparing for an exciting vacation, consider these tips to keep your home safe and secure while you are gone . . . 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Use extra caution when communicating about your upcoming vacation on social media, such as Facebook. Information can spread easily and you don’t want the wrong people to discover when your home is going to be empty.

Never post dates, state when you are leaving, returning, or how long you will be away.

Do not post any photos on social media of your vacation while you are on your vacation. It is smarter to wait until you have returned home before posting photos. 

If you want to share photos with friends and loved ones safely while you are on your vacation–send them through private texts or emails. (You might want to ask them not to post any of your photos on their social media until you are home).

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

Occupied

Making your home appear as though someone is home is one of the most effective ways to deter unwanted attention. 

However, it is not recommended to leave lights on the entire time you are away as this can be a light beacon revealing clearly that no one is actually home. 

Use timers on lights located in a couple different rooms in your home. Schedule them to turn on and off at various times after dark. 

You can find effective and reasonably priced timers in stores like Walmart or Canadian Tire. Here is an example of a 2-pack at Walmart for just $24.99 CA.

Don’t forget your front and back exterior security/porch lights – they should come on at night and go off before sunrise.  

Windows

Close all blinds/curtains on ground level windows and doors where it is easy for someone to see inside.

Be aware that closing all of your upstairs curtains/blinds up tight for days on end can also be a clear give-away that you are away for an extended period.

Leave your upper level(s) blinds/curtains the same as you usually have them when you are home, or leave some window coverings partially open (especially in the rooms where you have lights on timers, so that the light can be seen through the windows a bit).

Hide Items Of Value

Put valuables away and out of sight – do not leave anything tempting out in the open including laptops, jars of change, medications, jewellery, etc.  

Maintenance

If you are going to be gone for more than a week, arrange to have someone mow your lawn.

It’s a good idea to let your neighbour know if someone is going to be coming by to get out your lawnmower to mow your lawn while you are away.  

Packing Up To Go

When packing up your vehicle try be inconspicuous.

If possible, pull your car into your garage in order to pack your car privately. 

Alternatively, if you do not have a garage, pull your car as close to your door as possible in order to load luggage & other items into your vehicle as quickly and quietly as you can.

NEIGHBOURS

Tell

Tell at least one trusted neighbour of your travel plans and dates and ask them if they would kindly keep a look out while you are away.

Mail &/or Newspapers

Ask someone if they would collect any mail or newspapers for you so that they don’t pile up.

Spare Key

Leave your spare house key only with a trusted neighbour, friend, or family member. 

BE AWARE: If a criminal does suspect that you are on vacation, the FIRST thing they will do is look for a spare hidden key under a fake rock, plant pot, the mat, in the mailbox, above the door frame, etc. Don’t leave a spare key anywhere. Period. Bad Idea.

Alarm Code

BE SURE to let your alarm company know when you will be away and provide them with the phone number for your emergency contact (the person with your spare house key & alarm code & password).

To prevent any misunderstandings, write down your alarm access code/password yourself with clear directions on how to turn it off/on, and give this to the person you have entrusted your spare house key.

Emergency Contact

Give your neighbour your phone number as well as the emergency contact number of the person you have trusted with your spare house key. This will ensure you have all the dots connected in case of emergency at home.

Pet sitter?  

If you have a pet sitter coming to your house, you might want to let the neighbour know this as well so they don’t call the police.

Empty Driveway/Carport

If you have a driveway/carport that will be empty while you are away, ask a neighbour if they would consider parking their vehicle in your spot once in a while, so that it looks like someone is home or visiting.

EXTRA PRECAUTIONS

Unplug

Unplug small appliances such as coffeemaker, toaster, microwave, computers/laptops, gaming system, television, etc. (Be sure to leave your refrigerator & freezer plugged in of course)

Turn Off

To avoid potential water damage from an unpredictable leak or burst pipe/hose, consider shutting off the water supply lines to toilets, faucets, washing machine, dishwasher, and ice makers. 

Save Money

Adjust your water heater to its lowest temperature setting. No point in paying to have it maintain hot water temperatures when you’re not using it.

Turn down your furnace while you are away (or turn if off it’s summer silly!)…unless its winter and you have left your beloved pet at home.

Lock Up

Lock your garage, exterior gates, and storage structures.

Lock any doors inside the garage that lead into the house. 

NOW YOUR READY!

A little time spent planning & preparing everything at home before you go away, will give your mind a vacation too!

_________________________________________________________

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

Travel Planning Information for the Budget Minded Travellers

Non-Traditional and Budget-Minded Travel Information & Links

Perhaps your desire to travel is great, but your budget to tackle your bucket list is minimal. That’s ok. If you are willing to be a little less conventional in your approach to travel, you can still save money while getting a more authentic experience.

Some of the best options for seniors include:

Hostels – No, they aren’t just for backpacking 20-somethings who have left home to “find” themselves. Many overseas hostels are immaculate, loaded with amenities, and offer private rooms with bathrooms. They are a “best kept secret” in travel circles. Learn more at Hostelworld.com.

House sitting  – Homeowners often look for older, more mature individuals to do house sitting—perhaps including care for the family pet(s)—and this can be one way for seniors to travel on the cheap. Resources to learn more include TrustedHousesitters.com, Housecarers.com, and HouseSitMatch.com.

Couch surfing – Yes, seriously. This increasingly popular mode of travel involves joining a social network of fellow travelers (Couchsurfing.org) who believe in fostering friendly cultural exchanges through local meet-ups and/or hosting travelers (who stay on their couch, an air mattress or in a spare bedroom). Visit the site to learn more and join in!

House swapping – For people who own their own home (or even live in an apartment, if the lease doesn’t prohibit it) and are willing to “swap” with someone in order to travel without incurring hotel and lodging fees, this may be a great option. Check out opportunities at Homexchange.com and HomeBaseHolidays (Homebase-hols.com).

Adventures – Enjoy a full immersion experience in another culture through a variety of travel styles (and costs) by booking through one of these sites geared to adventurous explorers: IntrepidTravel.com, Gadventures.com, Wildland.com, and MythsandMountains.com.

Volunteer – One way to travel for free (or at very low cost) is to volunteer in your area(s) of expertise. Visit Idealist.org for thousands of opportunities in exotic locations. (In particular, explore options with “housing available.”) Imagine helping out in a wildlife sanctuary in Brazil, at an orphanage in Tanzania, for a community development program in Uganda, or conservation programs in Costa Rica. All these and many more are listed on the site.

Regardless of your budget, there is a way to go forth and see the world – it’s all in the planning!

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

Know Your Options As A Real Estate Consumer

Video

Disclosure Of Representation In Trading Services Form

Watch this brief introduction informative video to the Real Estate Council of British Columbia’s new requisite form meant to inform consumers about the types of representation they may receive from a REALTOR in a real estate transaction.

 

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

Love Your Neighbour?

You may think you’re alone in your quiet, or maybe not so quiet, battles with a neighbour. As it turns out, you are not alone. All too often few who share walls or property lines, emerge unscathed from a negative neighbourly experience. 

There are many that say that they are happy with their neighbours and, they too, make efforts to be a good conscientious neighbour themselves. However if you do you find yourself in a situation with a difficult neighbour, it can be very stressful to know how to deal with it.

Or perhaps, as it can happen without us knowing, it is ourselves that are doing something to drive our neighbours nuts. Maybe we sometimes are not so neighbourly and we don’t even realize it.

Did you know . . .

It turns out that baby boomers (born 1945-64) were found to be more outspoken as neighbours when compared to GenXers (born in 1965-79), or Millennials (born 1980-95).

Twenty-three percent of millennials and 28 percent of GenXers reported getting into either a verbal or physical altercation with a neighbour. Baby boomers? Thirty-three percent have had such a confrontations. 

A survey between each of the 3 generations were respondents to rate some common neighbourly irritants. Baby boomers rated each one as more annoying than younger generations did. Among the three groups, for example, baby boomers were the most bothered by neighbours who didn’t properly care for their property. 

Here are everyone’s top 8 neighbourly annoyances: 

  • Frequently intrude on the privacy of others
  • Be loud or noisy
  • Refuse to pick up after their pet
  • Park in a space that isn’t theirs
  • Leave children unsupervised
  • Call the police on another neighbour
  • Leave notes on a neighbour’s door instead of speaking face to face

Here are two major points to consider for the best chances of having happy neighbours:

1. Be the neighbour you want to have.

Be mindful and respectful of your neighbours space, property, and privacy, and of the noise your activities create & when.

2. Be kind. Be friendly. A smile goes a long way. Get to know your neighbours names & let them know yours.

Here is more information procured by Porch.com with plenty of additional neighbourly information including a survey and helpful insights.


If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

Considering Your Next Move Into An Active Adult Community

Every housing decision involves a complex set of factors and moving into an active adult community adds additional unique considerations. 

Good News is that a Realtor® and SRES®-designated agent, like myself, can help you with your next move into an Active Adult Community.

Things to Consider

Location

  • Do you prefer living close to family/friends or in a particular area for health/weather reasons?
  • Do you want to live in a development with minimal amenities within a city or prefer a more isolated community that meets all your social needs and includes all the onsite amenities you desire?
  • Do you plan to maintain one or more vehicles or prefer relying on your community’s transportation options or public transit?

Cost

Your options will expand or be limited by the amount you have saved and the sale price of your existing home.

How much can you invest in your new house and what is your monthly budget for living expenses?

Remember to include all homeowners’ fees when making your decision. Also factor in any “Up Front” move-in fees.

Lifestyle

  • What types of activities and amenities would improve your quality of life?

Do you want a residence close to a major city’s cultural/arts events? Are you interested in a “niche” community of people with the same interests/priorities/beliefs?

Restrictions

  • If you have pets, are they allowed?
  • Will grandchildren or adult children be able to stay with you for extended periods of time?
  • Are you allowed to rent your property?

Check the regulations for each potential community for any restrictions that would negatively impact your decision.

Tax and Financial Impact

  • How will the move impact your tax liability, especially for capital gains when you sell your existing home?
  • How solvent is the community you are considering?
  • If you have to pay a large “Up-Front” fee, will that be returned should you decide to leave?

Satisfaction

  • Does the community offer a trial stay or a short-term lease?

Determine your rights if the property is not being managed to your standards.

Read all the fine print and study minutes from meetings of the homeowners association or management board. Talk with potential neighbours and make sure you are informed and comfortable before signing on the dotted line.

Choose an SRES® REALTOR®

There is a great deal to consider when moving into an adult community. As a ‘Seniors Real Estate Specialist®’ I have the experience, understanding, and knowledge to help you when you are ready.

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Fraser Valley BannerRosemary Papp is a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

Realities of Ageing in Place

Ageing and its challenges are often discussed in clinical ways and sometimes in ways that feel a bit abstract.

“Gray Area” is a podcast that you can listen to for free online, and is produced by students at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism that focuses on growing old in New York. 

Podcasts by “Gray Area” places you squarely in the day-to-day realities of different folks dealing with the challenges of ageing. 

An episode called “The Little Old Lady Stays Put” focuses on Jackie Herships, a 70-something South Orange, N.J., woman who is finding ways around the Ageing-in-place obstacles that every senior eventually faces.  

(listen here for free: http://bit.ly/2t3FDHA)

Renting out rooms in her house solves some of the isolation and loneliness issues. It also brings in some extra cash, in addition someone is around to shovel snow and help her in an emergency. 

She’s one of the lucky seniors who is lucid, mobile, and lives in a relatively age-friendly spot. She’s been able to stay active and connected and involved with her community.  

Yet she’s keenly aware of the hurdles ahead. 

Like so many seniors, she regularly debates whether to stay in her house or go. She explores her living options, including local independent living facilities, a move to Florida, or an intergenerational community in New York. 

There are four free podcasts to explore and listen to which are very interesting here:  https://www.grayareapodcast.nyc

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call!  
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

Walkability Drives Seniors’ Housing Decisions

Though a desire for walkable neighbourhoods is most associated with the millennial generation, walkability and good public transit also are high on boomers’ and seniors’ wish-lists. 

Though things like quality of care services, affordability, and a facility’s cleanliness topped people’s must-have lists, walkability and access to transit were also tremendously important to survey respondents. 

Among consumers considering their housing options, walkability was described as mandatory or very important to those seeking senior apartments (53%), independent living (38%), and assisted living (26%). Public transit options were also crucial to these groups.

As you look at your retirement housing options, especially if you’re a boomer with no physical limitations today, consider the longer term—a time when you may have difficulty getting around and you may no longer have access to a car.

Roam around a prospective neighbourhood to assess your options for getting around. 

Some questions to consider: 

  • What places are within a 10-minute walk of your prospective home? Could you reach all the necessities of daily life–the grocery store, parks, hair salons, banks, and so forth—on foot or by public transit? 
  • Are sidewalks and paths accessible, safe, and well-lighted? 
  • Could you maneuver those sidewalks with a walker or a wheelchair? 
  • Are crosswalks well marked and do you have enough time to get across the street? 
  • Are there places to sit and rest? Are there water fountains and public restrooms? 

Here is the local scores for Langley and major cities in BC:

Walkability Score for Langley BC:

https://www.walkscore.com/CA-BC/Langley

List of BC Cities Walkability/Transit Scores:

https://www.walkscore.com/CA-BC

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call!  
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

Retirement Planning & You

Retirement Checklist It’s important to take a look at your financial picture to see where you are at at any age but, even more so if you are nearing retirement.

Make a list of steps you need to take to assure that your future actions align with your long-term financial goals.

A CBIC poll (cibc retirement savings), shows that last year people thought that $756,000 is the average amount that Canadians think they’ll need in order to fund the retirement lifestyle they’d like.

Yet, among those nearing retirement or on the cusp—those aged 45 to 64—of it, 32 percent haven’t saved anything for retirement.

Among those with retirement money stashed away, the average value of their fund is $345,000, though nearly half (49%) have saved less than $250,000.

Here’s some data on how Canadians are faring when it comes to taking the steps —like knowing what income retirement needs will be and making regular deposits into retirement accounts— needed to have a shot at a financially healthy retirement.

How Canadians who are not currently retired or semi-retired describe their retirement savings plan: All Men Women 18-34  35-54 55+
I have a formal and detailed plan that describes my desired retirement lifestyle, the income I will need and I save regularly to achieve that goal 10 % 13 % 8 % 8 % 11 % 14 %
I have a good idea what my income needs will be and make regular contributions, but I don’t know if I’m saving enough 16 % 19 % 14 % 13 % 16 % 24 %
I make regular deposits to my retirement savings account(s), but I don’t know what my income needs will be and I don’t know if I’m saving enough 21 % 21 % 21 % 23 % 21 % 14 %
I don’t know what my retirement income will be, but I try to put money aside towards retirement when I can 16 % 15 % 16 % 20 % 13 % 12 %
I know I need to save for retirement, but I’m not able to save 22 % 19 % 25 % 16 % 25 % 27 %
I haven’t thought about retirement and I have no savings dedicated to retirement 15 % 14 % 17 % 20 % 14 % 8 %

Prospective Buyers’ Motivators

CMHC talked to first-time buyers, previous owners, and current owners about things like their housing expectations, home purchase drivers, and concerns.

Here are three key findings.

  1. Key motivators. Improved accessibility (physical obstacles and barriers) and investment opportunity were top motivators among all three groups. The desire to stop renting was a top motivator for both first-time buyers (65%) and previous owners (60%).
  1. Move-in ready. First-time buyers (43%), previous owners (44%), and current owners (48%) all say an existing move-in-ready home is their top choice. But some are willing to buy a property that requires renovation. That option appeals to 14% of first-time buyers, 11% of previous owners, and 7% of current owners.

Some want brand new homes, including first-time buyers (19%), previous owners (21%), and current owners (32%).

  1. Home purchase prices. More than half of first-time buyers (54%) and previous owners (54%) plan to spend under $300,000 to buy a home, and about 25% intend to spend between $300,000 to just under $500,000.

But just 33% of current owners are planning to spend under $300,000, and 34 percent are looking for options over the half-million dollar range.

CIBC Retirement Checklist: checklist

CIBC Retirement Calculator: retirement calculator

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

New Home Automation Devices

The world is changing fast! These and other home automation tools will let seniors (and everyone else) customize their home environment for safety, savings, and comfort.

Phillips’ Hue is a “personal wireless lighting” system that performs simple remote control lighting operations, but can also copy color palettes from favorite photos. In can be expanded up to 50 bulbs on a single controller bridge managed by an Android or Apple app. (The $200 starter pack contains three bulbs and a bridge.)

You can wake up gently with slowly increasing light intensity or use light “recipes” for different moods or tasks (Relax, Concentrate, Energize, Read). Each bulb has it’s own “web address” so it can be controlled independently or in tandem with the entire system, which can be integrated with motion detectors and other standard home automation devices. Meethue.com

Nest Labs debuted with its Nest learning thermostat, which uses heuristic scheduling and a set of algorithms to learn from users’ behavior, claiming roughly 20% savings on monthly heating and cooling bills. You can also change the temperature in your house remotely using an Apple or Android mobile device.

Next came Protect, a smarter smoke and carbon monoxide monitor. Nest Labs recently opened their software to developers and Control4 has already created a system that integrates lights, motorized shades and other devices. More recently, Nest Labs was purchased by Google Inc. Nest.com

Samsung is introducing a smart TV that not only goes online, but also lets you adjust your thermostat and close the blinds without leaving your recliner. Samsung.com

LG’s HomeChat is a messaging app that allows you to control “smart” LG appliances from a mobile device. While shopping, for instance, you can send your refrigerator a text message and find out how much milk you have – or the expiration date – so you know what to buy. Instruct your vacuum to run while you are away. Start your washing machine or check the status of the current load. Or, ask your cooking range how to prepare a particular dish and it will provide the recipe! lg.com

WeMo Home Automation connects a small group of home automation products, all of which can be controlled form a smartphone, to make homes safer, warmer/cooler and less expensive to operate. A motion detector will light up a room as someone enters, effortlessly improving safety. The WeMo light switch can be controlled from anywhere using WiFi and a smartphone. Plug-in switches let users remotely turn appliances on and off, set schedules and monitor usage costs. Belkin.com

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner Fraser Valley

Choosing a Retirement Destination

Among the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime is where to retire. Whether you plan to stay in your city, Province, or move to another country altogether – here are a few important factors to consider in choosing a place to put down new roots. Wherever you look, an SRES® can help you gather the information you’ll need to make a sound decision for buyers and sellers in your situation.

Accessible health Care

Any older adult, no matter how active, should take a close look at what health care options are available in areas they are considering. It’s nice to have internists and specialists withing a convenient drive.Most important is having access to a well-regarded hospital, in case of emergency or serious illness.

Affordability

The cost of living is an ongoing worry for many Canadians. if you expect to be price conscious during retirement, look for cities with housing below the current median price. If you feel you have a comfortable financial situation, still take the time to project annual expenses and make sure they are within your means. Remember to factor in property insurance, (which  in some areas can be considerable), home maintenance, and transportation.

Employment

Do you plan to continue working in some capacity? If so, investigate employment opportunities that fit your abilities  in the areas you’re considering, as well as commuting options.

Aging in Place

If you plan to live out your senior years in your retirement destination, consider how the community will serve your future needs. Is there convenient transportation  available for times when you choose not to drive? Does the community have support services in place for seniors?

Travel

Many retirees enjoy traveling, visiting their kids, and having family and friends visit them. All of these will be easier if their is an airport within reasonable driving distance, and a good highway to get to it.

Climate

Weather preferences are an important factor in retirement for many people, especially as they age.

Interests

How do you plan to spend your time in your retirement? Does a community offer access to your hobbies and interests, possibly including outdoor recreation and sports, cultural activities, or continuing education?

Restricted or Mixed-Age Community

Give some thought to whether you’d like to live in an adults-only community or a mixed-age environment.

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

couplebanner_horizontal

Online Resources For 50+ Buyers and Sellers

When it comes to buying or selling your home, seniors often face more issues and decisions than their younger counterparts. Fortunately, many sites offer a wealth of information and resources on a wide variety of topics to help address these concerns. But each situation is unique.

Ask your Seniors Real Estate Specialist® to recommend the best resources among these and others.

Age In Place www.ageinplace.com
Learn how to create an environment that is safe and easier to live in, including kitchen, bathroom and ohter home remodeling, senior cell phone choices, aging in place monitoring products and other helpful resources.

Alzheimer’s Association alz.org
The Alzheimer’s Association works on a global, national, and local level to enhance care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Use the Alzheimer’s Navigator for step-by-step guidance and custom action plans.

CARP carp.ca
Supporting Canadian seniors through advocacy, benefits, and community chapter events.

MoveSeniors MoveSeniors.com
MoveSeniors ins an online resource for families seeking assistance with late life home transitions such as moving, downsizing, and remodeling. They also offer a directory of Certified Relocation & Transition Specialists and other senior professionals.

RetirementHomes.com  RetirementHomes.com
North America’s most comprehensive and easy-to-use online senior living directory, spanning the care continuum from active to assisted living, Alzheimer’s care, and everything in between.

Seniors Canada seniors.gc.ca
Government of Canada site providing information resources on a variety of topics plus details on benefits and services for seniors.

The Senior List® theseniorlist.com
The Senior List®  is a ratings and review portal for senior-related products and services. Use it to locate and read reviews for adult care homes, durable medical equipment providers, home care, move managers, skilled nursing, and much more.

If you do not already have a Realtor® and are seeking an experienced real estate agent to go to work for you, give me a call!  778-834-8021

 

3 Ways to Talk so Your Family Will Listen

Buying and selling real estate can be stressful for the entire family. In times of family stress, communication often breaks down. However, there are several ways to improve communication to find consensus amid the chaos.

  1. Improve Confidence and Body Language Eye contact – Engage others by looking them in the eye while speaking and listening. Don’t squint (which looks mean). Looking over a person’s head says, “I’m superior;” looking down appears small and meek; looking to either side appears untrustworthy. Posture – Sit or stand up straight. Slumping gives the appearance of trying to disappear and melt away, visually indicating that you, and what you say, isn’t really that important. Don’t fidget – Rubbing your hands together repeatedly, tucking or twisting your hair, picking at your nails (or even looking at your hands) when you speak all indicate a lack of confidence.
  2. Improve the Quality of Your Speech Lower your timbre – Deeper, richer tones are preferable to high, tinny voices. Notice where your voice comes from—your sinus cavity (bad), your throat (ok), or deeper in your chest (best). Watch the tone – Snippy, hard-edged responses, even when unintentional, are cutting to those who listen. Keep your tone welcoming and friendly. Slow it down – Talking too quickly can make you appear nervous and out of control.
  3. Be More Pleasant Stay positive – No one wants to listen to constant negativity. Don’t gossip – Gossiping to someone makes them assume you will be gossiping about them next. Smile – This simple act is reassuring to listeners and helps them feel accepted—which in turn makes them more interested in what you have to say. Listen – Don’t mentally rehearse what you are going to say next while someone else is talking. Instead, stay focused on listening and asking for more information to demonstrate that you care about them, and what they have to say. Your role in the family may help or hurt your ability to be heard during important conversations. These tips, however, will help you to be heard regardless of your birth order or position in the family hierarchy.

4 Reasons to Work with an Exclusive Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

If you are over the age of 50 and considering buying or selling a home, there are many reasons to choose a senior real estate specialist like Rosemary Papp

You’ve probably heard the saying, “all real estate is local”. It’s a truism that refers to the unique qualities of neighbourhoods and properties—and the importance of working with a real estate professional who intimately understands a local market.

The same claim can be made for real estate clients. Everyone who buys or sells property has unique needs. This is especially true for later-in-life real estate transactions, which may include distinct challenges (floor plans that accommodate aging in place, estate planning considerations, special financing requirements, etc.).

If you’re a buyer or seller over the age of 50—or are assisting someone who is—there are several reasons to choose a senior real estate specialist who has a special focus and the experience to help you:

  1. THEY MADE THE CHOICE An agent who has earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation, and only works with seniors, made this choice because they enjoy working with mature adults and helping people “of a certain age” navigate life’s transitions. Many of them have either made similar transitions themselves, or have helped parents and relatives. There’s a reason they chose this focus for their business, and it’s all about helping people.

  2. THEY’LL OFFER OPTIONS Newly retired? Empty nester? Widow/widower? Any of these transitions can precipitate a huge change in lifestyle, with many adjustments and decisions—only one of which is where to live. A senior specialist will listen to your concerns and share potential solutions and resources to help make your decisions. By focusing only on seniors, they already understand which properties come closest to meeting your needs—and where to find many other valuable resources.

  3. THEY ARE EMPATHETIC An exclusive senior specialist understands that major life changes are never easy, but they don’t shy away from the difficult topics or the difficult emotions that often accompany these decisions. They know your priorities change when your life changes. They’ll help you find solutions to make a smoother transition.

  4. THEY ARE ENGAGED These agents don’t just talk about senior issues, they get involved, whether it’s volunteering or developing relationships with senior-centric agencies and individuals. They’re able to help people who are 50+ throughout their community—not just their clients. (And they’ll remain a resource long after your business relationship is over.) Helping people is their passion!

 

>> Learn More About Rosemary Papp

 

Estate Sales: Quick Way to Purge, Put Cash in Your Pocket

Purging your house of clutter and depersonalizing the space is one of the first recommendations a real estate professional makes before listing a property.

In addition to getting your house ready to shine, the process also helps you pare down the amount of stuff you need to pack, which makes your eventual move easier.

But when your house is loaded with decade’s worth of stuff, that purge can be a bit daunting.

And you can’t really count on kids to take your bone china or French provincial furniture off your hands. Younger generations, particularly Millennials, often don’t want hand-me-downs.

“No one wants to take anything. The next generation has full houses and different taste,” says Josh Horowitz, president Sell My Stuff Canada (http://bit.ly/2zXYnL2), a Toronto-based estate sale company. “Often they’ll take one or two items and ask us to sell the rest.”

Brad Ruby, owner of Ampersand Estate Sales (http://bit.ly/2z4fObm), Chicago, Ill., also has found an increasingly unsentimental audience among those selling off their parents’ estates. People frequently leave behind what some would consider extremely personal and sentimental items, including family bibles and photographs. And forget about collectibles. “No one wants things like Hummel or Lladró collections,” he observes.

Lifetime of Stuff Gone in a Weekend

Those are some reasons homeowners look to estate sales when they’re downsizing or it’s time for a purge after someone dies.

Estate sale companies can step in and sell off a household’s goods in a weekend.

The advantage people see is the ability to get rid of their things quickly, make some money, and not have to sift through and find new homes for every object. “That can be an ordeal,” comments Horowitz.

Top Dollar

Experienced estate sale companies also have appraisers they can tap who have expertise in areas like furniture, collectibles, jewelry, and so forth, so you’re not giving away valuables for a song.

Everyone has heard stories about someone who bought a painting for $6 at a garage sale only to discover that it’s worth $20,000. “We can call in technical support so you’re not selling grandma’s sapphire and gold ring for $1,” says Ruby.

Some of the other services estate sale companies bring, include:

  • Photographing and promoting the items they know will draw the most buyers.
  • Properly valuing your merchandise.
  • Advertising to their sphere of contacts. Horowitz, for example, says he has a customer base of 10,000 people in Toronto.
  • Connecting with antique dealers and collectors who are interested in unique pieces that may not appeal to a wide audience.
  • The ability to remain impartial and negotiate with buyers to cut a deal. That can be especially helpful when you have hard-to-sell items. “It’s better to get 30 cents on the dollar than to donate something or throw it away,” says Ruby.

 Before the Purge

Is your house a candidate for such a sale?

Volume is key and it’s often easier to draw crowds when a house is packed with stuff versus when it’s a minimalist property with a few hundred items. Why? “People still enjoy the hunt,” Horowitz says.

Ruby seeks opportunities for vertical marketing, meaning that he’s looking for homes with a wide mix of items—furniture, clothes, shoes, records, flatware, dishes, small kitchen appliances, knick-knacks, garden tools, and so forth.

And, recommends Rhonda Hunnicutt, don’t toss anything unless it’s truly garbage. You may consider a half-used bottle of Windex trash, but Hunnicutt, founder and owner of DFW Pre-Demolition and Estate Sales, Dallas, Texas (http://bit.ly/2zj6zbj), says that cleaning crews often come to sales to buy cleaning supplies cheaply.

“In an ideal world, we want to come in and see the house and goods before the purge,” says Ruby.

Choosing a Company

Here are some things to understand when you’re considering an estate sale and choosing a company to manage it:

  • Visit a company’s sales to see how well they’re run and check references.
  • Ask about a company’s experience and how many estate sales they do each year. “If someone is doing five sales a year, it’s a hobby,” says Ruby. “You want someone with experience who’s working in the business and seeing items on a daily basis.”
  • Ask about how they determine pricing, particularly on your valuable items. Be certain the company can tap appraisers to assess the value of unique items in your collection.
  • Ask about commissions. The most common commission charged by estate sale companies is 35%, according to a study (http://bit.ly/2zWyElP) by EstateSales.org. That figure can vary depending on things like your location, the other services a company offers – a full cleanout and trash removal at the conclusion of a sale, for example – and how much a sales grosses.
  • Be sure the company is insured
  • Be certain you’re comfortable with the person and you trust them. “If you feel that someone is even a bit slimy or they rub you the wrong way, find someone else,” says Horowitz. After all, you’re entrusting that person with your life’s treasures. In addition, there’s lots of cash being exchanged and you want to trust that the company will be honest about how much money has come in.
  • Stay away from the sale. It’s often too emotional to see people picking through your treasures and haggling on their price.
  • If you’re hiring a company to conduct a sale at a relative’s house, let the sales manager know if your parents or aunt may have hidden money. They can look for it. Ruby found $50,000 in cash in one house and unearthed $22,000 sitting in a file cabinet that was under a staircase among a bunch of junk.

And if you’re about to list your home for sale, an estate sale just may bring in a buyer. More than once, Horowitz found estate sale shoppers expressing interest in buying the house.

“On the first day of a sale, we often have 100 people lined up on the driveway waiting to get in,” says Horowitz. It’s something of a giant open house. “It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone,” he adds.

Adopting the “Hotel Philosophy” to Stage Your Home

A house isn’t staged to sell the same way it is staged to live:

Staging to live makes the house comfortable, visually appealing and functional for your particular needs, interests, tastes, and lifestyle.

Staging to sell creates an environment that encourages buyers to see the potential of your home to meet their needs and fulfill their desires.

These two types of staging are often in direct opposition to one another, which is why many professional real estate stagers tell their clients that their house will lose 50% of the visible items when staged… especially furniture.

Why? Because space is luxurious. Staging for space will showcase the house – rather than the contents of the dwelling or the personality of its inhabitants. Open space makes a house more attractive to buyers. It tickles their imagination and permits buyers to envision living their lives in this space.

What Does “Space” Mean?

It doesn’t mean a huge house will sell faster than a modest one. It does mean that a house crammed full of someone else’s stuff gets in the way of a potential buyers vision of that space becoming their own.

It also doesn’t mean your house should be empty. This can leave buyers uninspired and frustrated because they can’t “see” how their possessions will look in an empty space and the house can appear to be too much work.

Make Your Home Look Like A Luxury Hotel

If you think of your home as an extended-stay luxury hotel, you will create the perfect “stage” for your home to sell. In a hotel, you carry in a small bag of personal belongings. Everything else you need is there and no unnecessary items are cluttering up the space.

As you stage your home, ask yourself, “Does this room pass the “Hotel Test?” Can a buyer imagine bringing in a few of their personal items and living here comfortably?” If the answer is yes, you have properly staged your home – and improved the odds that it will sell faster and command a better price.

couplebanner_horizontalRosemary Papp is a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist®