Partner with a Senior Real Estate Specialist for your Lifestyle Transition

January 31st, 2015

Make a Super Power Team: Partner with a Senior Real Estate Specialist for your Lifestyle Transition

New beginnings are right around the corner for you.  To ensure you reach your happy destination, a senior real estate specialist (SRES) is available for you at the Red Door Team.

SRES certified

What is a SRES?

A senior real estate specialist (SRES) is a realtor certified in meeting the special needs of seniors over the age of 50 who are buying or selling their home.  The senior population has unique needs to consider during a transition, and a SRES is specially trained to meet those needs.  A SRES understands you have unique factors regarding your situation as you embark on a lifestyle transition.

The SRES is well aware you have pensions, possibly reverse mortgages, social security, Medicare or Medicaid that need to be considered as you downsize from your family home.  Unfortunately, oftentimes the senior population can be taken advantage of with loan schemes and scams.  A SRES specializes in protecting their senior clients from such pitfalls and are committed to a successful and profitable transition for them.  A SRES not only can help with the sale of your home, but can also help you secure new living arrangements.

Benefits of a SRES

The benefits of a SRES are numerous, but here are a few of the top benefits.

A Listener:  A SRES is trained to listen with understanding and compassion to your needs, concerns, and desired outcomes.  With an empathetic listener on your side, you will feel your stress begin to decrease through the transition.

A Communicator: A SRES will communicate the information necessary with you, so you can understand current industry trends, market values, and any legal or financial insights.  Armed with sound information, you will grow in confidence throughout your transition.

A Connector:  A SRES has invested tremendous time in building a trusted and dependable professional network to help meet your needs and answer questions they can’t.  They can connect you with attorneys, insurance agents, accountants, estate planners, moving companies, builders and/or contractors.  Connected with other business professionals, you will have a peace of mind knowing you can get sound information whenever you need it.

A Problem Solver:  A SRES has the knowledge and expertise to guide you through your lifestyle transition from relocating to another home to refinancing investment properties or selling the family home.  A SRES is able to anticipate your needs and provide solutions for your unique situation.

Look no further!  The Red Door Team has your competent SRES waiting for you.  If you would like more resources or assistance planning or coordinating an upcoming transition, please contact the Red Door Team at our office at 425-408-9681.

 

Thinking About Moving? A Few Helpful Resources for Seniors

January 15th, 2015

Helpful senior resources

The first quarter of the year is a great time to get those moving plans in motion, even if relocating later in the year. We’ve come up with a few helpful resources for seniors to help you organize, purge and donate the things you don’t want to take with you. Let’s get started.

You’ve likely already de-cluttered the house.  Nice job!  If you missed those helpful de-cluttering tips visit our de-clutter blog post.  Now, what do you do with all the things you don’t want to keep?

Important Documents

Keep an eye out for local shredding events typically hosted by local news agencies.  If these shred-a-thons do not coincide with your timetable consider other shredding service providers, such as FedEx.

If you are not sure whether or not you should keep a document, visit  Managing Household Records.

Selling Items

Ebay offers a nice alternative to the traditional yard sale for unwanted, yet still useful items.  Contact Art Mendel with Brinkley Enterprises, LLC by phone, 206-940-7310 or email, amstockport @yahoo.com.  He can help you sell your valuables on Ebay.  Note, this is not an exhaustive list below, but do not hesitate to contact The Red Door Team or Art Mendel regarding other unwanted items not listed.

Art – paintings, etchings

Christmas Items – All Types

Clothing – Vintage or Designer, High-end

Computer Games & Gaming Operations

Fur Coats – Men’s & Women’s

Medical Equipment – Wheelchairs & Lifts

Musical Instruments

Photography Equipment

Sports memorabilia – Autographed & Posted

Toys – Collectible, Mechanical, Battery Operated

Railroad Sets

Donating Items

There are several centers that will pick up your donation items for you.

Community Service For The Blind & Partially Sighted [pick up]
9709 3rd Ave NE, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98115
206-767-2177
http://www.csbps.org/

**They will pick up from your house

Eco Encore [drop off or ship to]
900 1st Ave S, Suite 408, Seattle, WA 98134
206-297-6995

http://ecoencore.org/
**Accepts books, CDs, DVDs, software – sold to fund environmental organizations

Bridge Ministries [drop off]
12328 Northup Way, 1st floor, Bellevue, WA 98133
425-885-1008

http://www.bridgemin.org/

**Accepts used medical equipment

The Salvation Army [pick up or drop off]
1010 4th Ave S., Seattle, WA 98134
800-SA-TRUCK

http://satruck.org/donation-value-guide/appliances

**Accepts used appliances and more

 

Hire a Moving Manager

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you can hire a moving manager to assist you throughout the entire moving process.  Read about the ‘Benefits of Move Managers’ and consider the two options below.

Relocation company specializing in helping seniors: http://senior.movingstation.com/

Find a senior move manager, go to http://www.nasmm.org/

If you would like more resources or assistance planning or coordinating an upcoming transition, please contact the Red Door Team at our office at 425-408-9681.

 

 

Thinking About a Reverse Mortgage?

January 7th, 2015

reverse mortgage

The baby boomer demographic is on the rise, and for these retirees, having the funds necessary to enjoy the same quality of life is a challenge when there isn’t a steady flow of income anymore. A reverse mortgage is a way for people 62 years (minimum required age) and older, to use the equity in their homes to finance the gap from income lapses.

WHAT IS A REVERSE MORTGAGE

Essentially, a reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to use the equity from their home to finance and maintain a certain lifestyle. For older retirees, these monies may pay for home care while aging in place, or finance a vacation to visit distant relatives. Whatever the equity is used for, there are certain things to consider when applying for a reverse mortgage loan.

IT IS A LOAN

First and foremost, a reverse mortgage is a loan. Whatever terms are agreed upon with the lender, the homeowner has to pay the monies back, usually with the sale of the home should the homeowner have to leave the home, or passes away. If a spouse passes away while under contract with a reverse mortgage lender, the surviving spouse will have to repay these expenses.

REVERSE MORTGAGE- A BAD REPUTATION 

That said, if it is determined that your financial portfolio is in good standing by a trusted accountant, a reverse mortgage can be a convenient way to pay for necessities such as medicine or doctor’s visits, with little to no impact on the loan. However, financing expensive travel or paying off other loans may reduce the equity to a level where the home is lost. Consult an accountant before considering a reverse mortgage, and create a plan of how exactly the equity is to be used.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

Not everyone is eligible for a reverse mortgage. Borrowers have to be a minimum of 62 years old, live in the home as their primary residence, have paid most of their traditional home loan, and the home has to be in good shape. These are guidelines through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and this program requires potential borrowers meet with a reverse mortgage counselor to determine costs, and to make borrowers aware of all aspects of the loan.

SHOULD SPOUSES CO-BORROW

Many spouses choose to apply for a reverse mortgage together to ensure a spouse can continue living in the home even when the other spouse has to move out for care outside the home. However, the amount paid to the borrowers is reduced each month because the life expectancy of both borrowers is factored into the equation. On the flip side, if only one spouse is listed as the borrower, should that spouse have to move out, the other spouse will not receive any further payments because the borrower MUST live in the home while receiving reverse mortgage payments.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE

There are many options when it comes to considering a reverse mortgage. If you are older than 62, have little to no debt, are in considerably good health for your age, and understand that a reverse mortgage is a loan, but are comfortable that the amount of equity you use will easily be repaid, then a reverse mortgage may open up funds for you to enjoy life during your retirement years.

Here are some helpful links to help you determine whether or not you may qualify for a reverse mortgage loan.

http://www.reversemortgage.org/about/reversemortgagecalculator.aspx

FHA – http://www.fha.com/

Start the New Year Decluttered!

January 2nd, 2015

declutter

Wouldn’t it be great to start the New Year decluttered and organized? Now is a great time to sort through belongings while putting away decorations, and finding a place for those new gifts. We have an easy system for getting organized we share at our seminars, that have helped our clients declutter.

When starting the process of decluttering, perspective is the key. Sorting through treasured belongings can be an emotional process, but it doesn’t have to be done in the framework of ‘throwing away.’ Here are a few ways to make decluttering easier and less emotional.

 

BEGIN WITH THE LEAST USED ROOMS

To eliminate the overwhelm that can occur when decluttering, begin with the least used room in your house. This allows you to feel successful right away because there are minimal items to sort through. Think of a guest bedroom or living room.

 

MINIMIZE INCOMING ITEMS

Extra drawers in the kitchen can become dumping grounds for all of those extra little things laying around. Take a few minutes to sort through those drawers to eliminate a duplicate purchase of something like batteries or pens. You might be surprised that these drawers hold exactly what you are looking for.

 

SET MINI GOALS

In order to concentrate on a given task, set mini goals and reward yourself when you reach them. For example, when you want to organize your closet, try to do it in sections rather than the whole thing. Sort through your shoes one day and then dresses or coats the next. Reward yourself when you are done which makes tackling the next goal more fun.

 

BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

Tell a friend or family member that you are decluttering. It might even make the task more enjoyable if you invited someone over to help you get it done by a certain day. Telling somebody about your goals will help you achieve them even faster.

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Ask yourself, ‘Do I really need it?’ Most of the time we really think we need something, but in reality we only use it a couple of times, or even just once a year. If you’re decluttering due to a move, ask yourself if it will fit into your new living situation. If it’s a large item, it may not fit into your new home. Asking yourself these questions help you begin the process of decluttering.

 

OTHER TIPS

  • When sorting through your closet, begin by taking a week to put things you don’t wear on the right side of your closet. After a week you’ll begin to see the things that can be donated or given away to a friend.
  • Use colored dot stickers to sort through items over a period of time. Designate which color is for donating, giving away, throwing away or keeping.
  • Begin with the end in mind. What is the goal of decluttering? What are your plans for the room? Knowing your goal will help you work backwards from there.
  • Make the process faster by eliminating a step. Do you really need to fold all of your clothes, or could they be hung directly from the dryer ready to wear?

We hope these tips help you begin the year decluttered and organized whether you are downsizing or just making your life a little bit easier in the moment. Stay tuned for information about our seminars on decluttering. Happy New Year!

 

The Giving Key – The Perfect Real Estate Gift

December 30th, 2014

IMG_3513IMG_2386IMG_9402

As Christmas comes to an end and we look forward to a new year its a good time to reflect. At our Red Door Team end of the year Christmas party both Sherri & Teresa were so kind in giving us a gift that will keep on giving!

Each key was uniquely designed with a word they thought best described us, as we open these up, each one of us got up and explained what the word meant to us and why we thought they picked it.

This is the perfect gift to give to a Real Estate agent!

We were so lucky to receive such a beautiful gift…. maybe you will be the next one we pay it forward to!?

I encourage you to watch this video to see why and how these keys were made! Love is the Key by Caitlin Crosby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0VJaPe2Amk

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community

December 29th, 2014

Capture

A Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC’s, provide a lifestyle for seniors that changes with them as they get older. In recent years, CCRC’s have really adapted to this growing demographic by providing a variety of options for their continuing care as they age.

Typically, a senior aged 65+ enters the CCRC in an active state of health and mobility, with the expectation they will live there for the remainder of their lives. A Continuing Care Retirement Community can provide care across all aspects of life from independent living, to nursing or specialty care as they grow older. They also provide an opportunity to socialize and get involved in extracurricular programs.

In order to enter a CCRC, seniors will go through a financial review and health assessments, with payment plans and in some cases, life care agreements.

 

LIFE CARE AGREEMENTS

A life care agreement provides a lifetime use of the community, and depending on which contract is chosen, a person can live there for life even if money runs out. This popular senior living model provides peace of mind in planning long term care.

 

HOW TO GET A LIFE CARE AGREEMENT

CCRC’s have many payment options and after careful review of financials and health assessments, a life care plan is designed to best meet the needs of residents.

 

HOW MUCH DOES A CCRF COST

Cost depends on what type of unit is desired. A larger unit facing desirable views occupied by more than one person will cost more. Here is an example of a Continuing Care Retirement Community we have reviewed:

 

Entrance Fee – Life Care Agreement

Bayview Retirement Community

$139,000 – $324,000

Based Upon plan chosen for a refund

 

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE

  • Daily living services
  • Healthcare
  • 24-hour security
  • Dining
  • Housekeeping
  • Transportation
  • Wellness/Fitness Programs
  • Social Programs
  • Entertainment
  • Utilities – except phone
  • 1-3 Meals each day

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE EXTRA MONEY IF I LEAVE EARLY 

Most facilities offer a refund the resident or to their estate in the event they should move out or pass away before the contract runs out.

 

SOCIAL INTERACTION

Moving into a CCRC means that people are able to meet other like-minded people. The activities and programs provide a way to expand on a talents like playing the piano or painting. Loneliness is one of the hardest parts about getting older, and these retirement facilities can provide a much needed boost to heart and soul.

 

 

The Holidays Provide Opportunities to Talk With Aging Parents

December 22nd, 2014

Aging Parents

The holiday season is a busy time of year, but with families gathering together it may be a good time to talk with aging parents about their continuing care. We know it can be a challenging thing to do, but creating a family plan will eliminate hasty decision-making when and if a crisis happens.

Talking with siblings or other family members before talking with aging parents, helps to establish family roles in taking care of them. Who will drive them to doctor appointments? Who will go grocery shopping and run errands for them? Answering questions like these ahead of time can make easier to talk about since these issues already have a solution.

Home Instead uses a ‘40/70 rule’ for successful aging, which suggests children who are around 40 years old talk with parents who are 70 years old. At this age, many parents are still leading an active lifestyle, but may need help in certain areas of daily life, and need to look ahead to the future.

In addition, assess financial statements and insurance records to set a budget for home or community care. Does a power of attorney need to be established? How much money is available for continuing care? Jennie Smith’s ‘Exit Strategies’ is a good worksheet to use to make this task easier.

The goal of talking with aging family members is to eliminate overwhelm if unexpected and quick decisions need to be made. Here are a few ways to approach ‘the talk’ with aging family members to avoid having stressful discussions in crisis mode.

1)    Honesty - It’s important to be open and honest with your family member and let them know what you are observing in their behavior. Address concerns and then allow them to agree or disagree.

2)    Empathy - Imagine being your aged parent 30 years from now, and how uncomfortable it might be to face the unknown, and lose independence. Be reassuring, and offer solutions that reduce the discomfort.

3)    Sympathy - Make sure to let your loved one know that you love them, and that you are here to support them in making these decisions.

4)    Level of Support - Establish boundaries around what you are capable of doing based on things going on in your own life. If you are not able to drive them to places, solve this problem by hiring a driver or having family or friends take on this responsibility.

5)    Clarify - Talk with your loved one about their desires for the rest of their life. Do they want to be in an active community? Do they want to remain at home? Help them to feel like they are being heard and that you are supporting their decisions.

6)    Have a Plan - Most conversations can’t be solved in one gathering, but try to establish a few action items. Small tasks like making phone calls to continuing care facilities, hiring home maintenance, or sorting through and organizing paperwork can be assigned with an end date. Plan to gather again and discuss next steps.

Though this conversation may seem difficult to have at first, if your family is able to see it as organizing for the future, it will seem like a happy part of the holidays and your aging family members will be relieved.

 

Resources:

http://www.homeinstead.com

http://www.exitstageright.com

 

How to Age in Place in Safety and Comfort

December 15th, 2014

AGING IN PLACE

Ninety percent of seniors would like to remain in their homes for as long as possible in safety and comfort. The familiarity of daily routines and the ability to live independently are important for this growing demographic, which will peak in 2030 to 72 million seniors aged 65 and above! What does it mean to ‘Age in Place’  and how can seniors plan to live in their homes for the long term successfully? Here’s what we found out.

Aging in place refers to making slight or more complex modifications to the home, enabling seniors with poor eyesight, reduced flexibility and instability to remain at home through the duration of their lives, or for as long as possible.

Many organizations and businesses have sprung up to serve this segment in home remodeling and modification. Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) are individuals who have gone through the CAPS program to learn exactly how to serve the aging in place community. Many of these individuals are remodelers, but designers, architects and healthcare professionals are becoming specialists at a growing rate.

A CAPS professional is dedicated to the needs of seniors and are dedicated to helping them at this stage in their lives. Upgrades include installing grab bars in the bathtub, adding a personal alert system, creating non-stick floors, first floor bedrooms, walk-in showers, handrails and even widened doorways for those needing walkers and wheelchairs.

The number one issue for the aging in place is trust. One in five are victims of fraud, so it’s important for seniors to use trusted sources, verify licenses and work with organizations who have already vetted professionals and reviewed work history.

Nectargy is a local organization which has created a network of service professionals who put seniors first, working together and allowing them to age in place safely and comfortably. There are many companies like Nectargy that have screened a list of professionals who know the desires of this age group and are committed to finding them the best professionals to meet those goals. Check with your local home builders association find companies like Nectargy.

The Red Door Team is a proud member of Nectargy and have been screened and vetted as a trusted company in the Bothell, Washington area. If you are needing some advice on how to move forward with plans to age in place, we would be happy to answer questions you may have. Here is a helpful graphic on the statistics of aging in place for you to view.

http://visual.ly/aging-place

Professional Staging is Important to the Sale of Your House

December 4th, 2014

Staging

SET THE STAGE!

Now that you’ve decided to sell your house, it’s important to put some thought into how your house is perceived by potential buyers. Your collection of tea cups and 1920’s memorabilia are beautiful, but your house has a new purpose, and that is to speak to the greatest possible pool of potential buyers and get sold quickly and for more money!

 

Think of professional staging like a candy store. You want people to feel like they want everything in it and could spend a lot of time there. Buyers are emotional creatures and you want your home to create a positive emotional experience for them. In doing so, the demand for your home is greater and in most cases, the selling price is higher.

So what exactly does a professional stager do? It’s their job to take an objective approach to your house, and place furniture and other items in a way that showcases the positive attributes of your house, making rooms feel larger and organized. Because they have a unique eye, they’ll be able to bring up the perceived value of your home in a way that resonates with a greater number of people.

The way they do this is by de-cluttering, rearranging, depersonalizing and neutralizing. In many cases they will edit your belongings and blend them with furniture from their own collection. For people who have already moved out of the house, furniture and staging items can be rented by local companies with warehouses filled to the brim with things to make any house look beautiful.

What about the costs? Staging can be done on virtually any budget. The main idea is it really becomes a zero net cost because the return on your staging investment can be up to 200%[1]. This is because your staged home now commands a higher price and sells more quickly.

In addition, since the vast majority of prospective buyers are looking online for homes, beautiful photographs of staged rooms will resonate better than non-staged rooms.

Here are some great examples the Red Door Team has done with staging homes for sale:

staging example 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

staging example 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have professionally staged many homes and enjoy the process of breathing new life into a home that’s ready for a new family. If you feel like professional staging is for you, we’d be happy to schedule a consultation to evaluate your situation.

[1] http://revealitsappeal.com/benefits-of-home-staging

The Benefits of Using Move Managers

December 1st, 2014

Move managers

After years of helping people relocate, we have found move managers to be a great asset in coordinating all the physical aspects of moving. We have worked with a handful of trusted move managers to facilitate and oversee the entire moving process. If you’re ready to move, but wonder where to start, this post is for you.

Think of a move manager like a party planner for the moving process. This person can handle each facet of moving and design an overall plan for the move. This includes measuring furniture to ensure a perfect fit in the new space, and taking photographs of artwork and arrangements so set-up in the new space can be replicated by the team. All of this attention to detail eliminates some of the overwhelm when relocating.

The flexibility of a move manager, like a party planner, allows you to decide which aspects of moving you would like to delegate. For instance, if you just need help finding a trustworthy moving company, or need them to arrange for the disbursement of items you no longer want, a move manager can customize the process and give you an estimate of the costs.

On the other hand, if you want to have a comfortable first night in your new space with furnished bedrooms, bath and kitchen, those options are available too. It’s all designed to reduce or eliminate the stress of moving completely.

In addition, many move managers have relationships with appraisers, attorneys, consignment shops and other service providers if a need arises in those areas. The moving process can be personalized to fit your schedule, budget and needs.

Relocating does not have to be a daunting task with long lists of things to do, requiring an enormous amount of energy. Professionals are here to help care for you and your belongings during the whole process.

To get started on this process start by giving The Red Door Team a call to get you in touch with a Move Manager company! www.reddoorteam.com