Moving Mom Monday: Questions to Ask Aging Parents When Planning a Move – Part One

Helping your aging parents simplify their lives can feel daunting and stressful.

While adult children may have their parents’ best interests at heart and think they have all the answers, they don’t always know what’s best for their parents. One of the biggest mistakes? Waiting until a crisis occurs to have the conversation about housing and care options is the number one mistake we see in most families.

So, how does one help Mom and Dad go about selling a home they’ve lived in for decades and one that is full of a life’s worth of ‘stuff!?’

It all starts with a plan.

In Part One of this four-part series, published on this blog every Monday, here is a list of questions to ask your parents concerning their current lifestyle…and how they see it changing in the future.

1. HEALTH CARE OR NUTRITION: Are you tired of planning and cooking dinners every night? How would you describe your diet? Do you need assistance with grocery shopping and food preparation? How would you describe how you feel physically and emotionally? How many doctor appointments do you have scheduled per month? Will that change in the future?

2. TRANSPORTATION: Are you still driving? What are the options in your area if you need to stop driving at some point? Do you drive yourself to your doctor appointments now? Do you find yourself depending on rides from family/friends more these days? Do you ever use public transportation? Will you depend more on public transportation in the future?

3. LIVING INDEPENDENTLY: How long do you think you can live independently? What household tasks seem more difficult to accomplish now? What household tasks (lawn care, housekeeping, etc.) can you still handle? Which tasks do you need help with? Do you know who is available — volunteer or professional — to give you assistance?

4. CURRENT LOCATION: Do you want to stay close to your current neighborhood or move to another area? How important is it to you to have your family nearby? Will that change in the future?

5. FAMILY: How involved are your children and other close family members in your every day life? If so, how would you want that to change, if at all?

6. FRIENDS: Who do you consider your close friends? Do they live nearby? Will that change in the future?

7. TYPES OF ACTIVITIES: What activities do you participate in now? How important is it to you that you continue to participate in these activities?

8. LIVING SITUATION: If you were to move out of your current home, what type of living situation would appeal to you? An apartment? Senior living community? A smaller private residence? Could you rent or do you need to own?

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

FREE SEMINAR: June 7 – Tax, Legal & Financial Issues

 The “Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series” presents “Tax, Legal & Financial Issues” on June 7.

We all know there can sometimes be complexities related to the transfer of property. More times than not families try to solve these problems during a crisis, but creating a contingency plan in advance is a far better way of dealing with potential pitfalls. Your home is often your most valuable asset and there are thing you need to know before you move forward with any major decisions that will impact your future.

You may be asking…

– What legal documents are needed when selling my home??
– What are the tax implications of owning, selling, or transferring property??
– How should property be deeded to avoid potential future challenges?
– What other issues should I be aware of?

Join us to hear first hand from legal, financial and tax experts about how to avoid common challenges faced by families just like yours.

Admission is free. Location: Lafayette Library Community Hall, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Time: 10 AM – 11:30 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at http://savvyseniorsliving.com/schedule/. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

What is Universal Design?

It’s basically a home designed and setup to function and be accessible to anyone of any age, regardless of difficulties or disabilities with vision or mobility. The concept was introduced in the 1950s.

In 1992, the Americans with Disabilities Act required that all public buildings be reasonably renovated to accommodate people with disabilities. As the baby boomers enter their golden years, they’ve begun embracing the idea of universal design in residential homes, too.

The most obvious design example is a single level home with no steps to enter or inside. Other examples include proper lighting and no-glare surfaces. Everyone is familiar with grab bars, and to take it a step further in making the bathroom safe and functional for all, universal design concepts incorporate lipless showers, wider hallways, and doorways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. My downsizing clients are seeking homes with easy access coming and going from both the front door and the garage.

Drawers, storage, and appliances at the proper level is another adjustment that can be made to avoid deep bending or reaching. For instance, I’ve worked with clients who are coming back from hip surgery and are instructed to avoid bending more than 90 degrees as they heal.

Owners who consider their current home to be their forever home should consider incorporating universal design upgrades that will allow them to manage if mobility becomes more challenging. My brother and sister-in-law are completing a major remodel in their Lafayette, CA home and are considering all these issues as they plan to age in place.

Even younger homeowners may consider adding some aspects of universal design if an elderly or disabled family member moves in. Adding universal design elements can add value when selling your home.

7 Things That Can Delay Close of Escrow

The May real estate market is fast and furious with most listings receiving multiple offers. Anyone can sell a home, right? Then why is it that I recently read 25% of all transactions fall apart before closing escrow?

Consider what happens when a transaction gets a bit, well…complicated. In my experience, most real estate transactions are anything but “normal.”

Here are 7 reasons I see most often that can cause an escrow to be delayed or not close at all:

1) The buyer discovers major issues with the home via inspections that either need to be repaired or credited for repairs to be done at a later date.

2) Buyers request repairs, and sellers in turn can agree to all, some or none of the requested items. When an agreement is made that seller will complete repairs and they aren’t done correctly or on time, this also delays closing.

3) The home can’t be insured, perhaps due to a safety issue, like knob and tube electrical wiring, leaving the buyer high and dry and not able to close until insurance can be secured.

4) The appraisal comes in below the offered purchase price. If the buyer can’t come up with the funds to close, and the seller won’t’ agree to sell their home for less than the offered amount.

5) Incorrect information on the loan documents or the final settlement statement.

6) Title issues can appear, including such things as liens filed by unpaid contractors. This must be rectified before the transaction can be closed.

7) Final walk through or ‘verification of property’ is another sticking point that can occur if buyer finds something different from the last time they saw the property or junk has been left inside or in the yard. The closing can again be delayed.

You owe it to yourself to hire a seasoned real estate professional who will manage your risk, successfully negotiate on your behalf, effectively communicate to all parties on a consistent basis and who takes their fiduciary responsibilities very seriously.

SEMINAR May 3: Selling Your Home in Today’s Market

FREE SEMINAR: Selling You Home in Today’s Market

Get the facts about what is involved in selling a home in today’s market and the Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid! Whether you are planning to sell this month or not for a few years, do your homework now and be prepared!

REGISTER: By phone 925-788-6582 or online http://savvyseniorsliving.com/schedule/

Join us for additional candid conversations with local experts focused on the unique and complex housing-related issues facing California’s mature homeowners & families.

June 7th: Tax, Legal & Financial Issues
July 12th: Reverse Mortgages-Truth vs. Myth
August 2nd: Aging in Place
September 6th: Assisted Living Options
October 4th: Downsizing Lessons
November 1st: Rightsizing 101
December 6th: Storytelling-Legacy

Remodeling ROI

Our clients constantly ask us to come to their homes and tell them which remodeling or updating projects they should consider before listing their homes with us.

Well, “that depends,” we say.

Whether you’re dying to update your kitchen, add a half-bath, or kick back on a brand-new deck, it pays off big-time to know just what kind of return on investment your dream renovation might deliver.

You’re in luck. Remodeling magazine has just released its annual Cost vs. Value report, which analyzes what you’ll pay for various upgrades – and how much you’ll recoup on that investment when you sell your home.

There wasn’t much change between the 2016 and the 2017 report. What did change is the value of pricier project rose, reflecting the fact the housing market is healthier than ever.

Still, the perennial chart toppers for ROI are the cheapest to pull off. For the past two years, the top finisher was installing loose-fill fiberglass insulation in the attic. Not exactly sexy, but boy, is it cost-effective!

The biggest take-away for home sellers is the fact that the attic insulation is the ONLY renovation that brings over 100% ROI and the remainder typically won’t pay them back in full.

What we do see is that many homeowners have deferred maintenance and haven’t updated their homes for years, if not decades. They have a tough choice to make: sell “as-is, (which is a misnomer since ALL real estate sold in the state of CA is sold as is, per the purchase contract) or do a few updates to bring the home to its market ready, competitive best.

I recommend a consultation with your Realtor to look at the comparabel home sales to determnine what your home will sell for and then move forward accordingly.

P.S. Note: I work with extraordinary contractors, flooring professionals and other seasoned service providers that will, on a case-by-case basis, get paid out of escrow.

FREE SEMINAR: April 12th: Estate Liquidation Strategies

Ad FREE SEMINAR: April 12th: Estate Liquidation StrategiesREGISTER NOW FOR THIS FREE SEMINAR: The “Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series” presents “Estate Liquidation Strategies” on April 12th.

Selling that excess “stuff” isn’t what it used to be. Finding out what things will sell and for how much requires research and experience and that’s only the beginning. Get your estate liquidation questions answered at our free seminar featuring industry experts that will speak about auctions, estate sales, consignment, charitable donations and more.

  • What is my china and crystal worth?
  • Could my things be sold through an auction house?
  • Do I have enough excess “stuff” for a professional estate sale?
  • How do I prepare for an estate sale?
  • Who can help me decide what to keep and what to sell or give away?

Admission is free. Location: Lafayette Library Arts & Sciences Discovery Center, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Time: 10 AM – 11:30 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at http://savvyseniorsliving.com/schedule/. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

FREE SEMINAR: March 1st: Independent Living Options

REGISTER NOW FOR THIS FREE SEMINAR: The “Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series” presents “Independent Living Options” on March 1st.

Learn what independent living is and isn’t…and what people can expect when moving to an independent living community. You get to ask ANY question you have on your mind and we will answer it to the best of our ability.

We realize that as you are making choices about where to live in future years, being educated and informed is key. You’ll leave with answers to the following questions, including:

  • Where do I begin looking for independent living options?
  • What do independent living communities offer me as a senior?
  • What will it cost to live in an independent living community?
  • Are there independent options for purchase? For lease? What are they?

Admission is free. Location: Lafayette Library Arts & Sciences Discovery Center, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Time: 10 AM – 11:30 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at http://savvyseniorsliving.com/schedule/. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

55+ Senior Living Options

Ad for 55+ Senior Living OptionsREGISTER NOW FOR THIS FREE SEMINAR: The “Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series” debuts on Wednesday, February 1, with “55+ Senior Living Options”. You will learn the facts about the many types of retirement communities available in the East Bay area and the questions you should be asking when considering your options. This is the perfect place to educate yourself so that you can make the right decisions for you and your family.  Admission is free. Location: Lafayette Library Arts & Sciences Discovery Center, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Seminar start at 10 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at http://savvyseniorsliving.com. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

“Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series” to Educate and Empower East Bay Senior Homeowners

Savvy Seniors Living Seminar SeriesThe facts. It’s what East Bay homeowners want concerning late-in-life housing issues like reverse mortgages, 55+ senior living options, selling a house in today’s market, and preparing to “stay put” in your own home as you age-in-place.

These topics, along with others, will be presented in the upcoming Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series as 90-minute monthly educational seminars beginning in February at the Lafayette Library Arts & Sciences Discovery Center, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette.

Adults 55+, seniors, and caregivers are invited to attend the free Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series to learn the actual facts about issues related to home ownership and post-retirement downsizing in the S.F. Bay area.

This series of candid conversations and expert panel discussions about the unique and often complex issues facing long-time homeowners is to be moderated by Dayna Wilson, Seniors Real Estate Specialist® [SRES]® of Keller Williams Real Estate-East Bay, who has a team that provides comprehensive “senior friendly” transition services related to downsizing, late-life relocation, and (55+) senior living solutions.

“Emotions get in the way, and fear often sets in,” said Wilson. “Seniors often have to deal with the prospect of leaving the family home, of losing their independence, and sorting through all the stuff they’ve accumulated over the course of their lifetimes. This is where our expertise and experience in dealing with these types of moves comes in.”

Increasing numbers of 55+ active adults in the East Bay and beyond have many questions. “Many seniors have no idea what is available to them, how much it will cost, or the process for making all the pieces fit together,” Wilson continued. “We want to give them helpful information, introduce them to trusted local resources, and answer their questions. Beyond helping with immediate needs, our intention is give individuals and families both direction and confidence so they feel empowered when the time comes to make a major life decision.”

The Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series debuts with “55+ Senior Living Options” on February 1 at 10 AM. “You will learn the facts about the many types of retirement communities available in the area and the questions you should be asking when considering your options. This is the perfect place to educate yourself so that you can make the right decisions for you and your family,” said Wilson.

Additional seminars include:

February 1: 55+ Senior Living Options
March 1: Independent Living Options
April 12: Estate Liquidation Strategies
May 3: Selling Your Home in Today’s Market
June 7: Tax, Legal & Financial Issues
July 12: Reverse Mortgages -Truth vs. Myth
August 2: Aging in Place (a.k.a. ‘Staying Put’)
September 6: Assisted Living Options
October 4: Downsizing Lessons from People (Just Like You) Who Know
November 1: Rightsizing 101 – Professional Panel
December 6: Storytelling – Legacy

The seminars are open to all individuals who want to learn the facts about local senior living options from some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the senior living industry. Admission is free. All seminars start at 10 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at http://savvyseniorsliving.com. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

More about the host and moderator: Dayna Wilson has been serving clients in the East Bay communities of Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton and Martinez and beyond since 2009. As a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Dayna helps Boomers, Zoomers and Savvy Seniors explore housing options, ensuring that their next home best serves their current and future needs.