Jennifer & Julie write a monthly article "Condo Conversations" in the Virginian-Pilot. This article was featured in the November 23, 2019 edition.
According to a recent AARP study, three out of four adults age 50 or older want to stay in their homes as they age. What exactly does it mean to “age in place?”
“Aging in place” doesn’t necessarily mean staying in your current home. It means staying in the right home. The options are wide open; the home you live in now could be modified to meet your current and future physical needs, or it may be best to find a new home that fits the bill completely.
Condominiums can be a great choice for aging in place as they are most often low maintenance, and many communities offer amenities such as workout rooms, pools and activities. As we grow older, it is important to remain active and socially engaged.
Both high-rise condominiums and 55-plus communities offer many social opportunities for those wishing to keep their independence while avoiding becoming socially isolated.
Here are examples:
• In a high-rise setting, conversation with other residents and building staff present themselves throughout the course of any day while picking up your mail, taking your dog out for a walk, etc.
• Front desk and building staff often get to know their residents and their habits, recognizing if something is off.
• Resident events are a common occurrence in high-rise settings as well as 55+ communities. You’ll most likely have plenty of chances to join your neighbors at a movie night, ice cream social, or holiday event.
• Many communities will have a pool and fitness center offering ways for you to keep active.
• Join a club or group. If there isn’t already a club or group that matches your interests, perhaps you could be the one to get it started. Whether it’s a book club or Bunco group, there’s a good chance there’s someone else with the same interests.
Jennifer & Julie write a monthly article "Condo Conversations" in the Virginian-Pilot. This article was written by Julie Ulrich, featured in the March 23 edition.
I often hear people say it’s time to downsize their lives. Sometimes that means minimizing what they own and moving into a smaller home. Other times it may mean downsizing of their responsibilities and financial obligations.
Single-family detached homes almost always come with upkeep, including cutting the grass, caring for a pool, exterior maintenance and shoveling snow. If you are ready to make a change in lifestyle, many options are available. Could it be time for you to “condo-size” your life?
A condo or townhome can be a great choice for someone looking to “downsize,” or as I like to say, “rightsize.” There are many benefits to this style of living, but there are cons as well. Let’s first explore the positive sides along with some thoughts to ponder.
Lock-and-go lifestyle: If you like to travel, a condo makes it easier to lock up and go, as the exterior and grounds maintenance is almost always performed by the association.
If you travel often, or use your condo as a second home, be sure you have a neighbor or friend look after it while you are away. You wouldn’t want a leaky pipe to go unnoticed causing a major amount of damage.
Thermostats in the unit should be kept at reasonable temperatures year round. Faucets should be run at least every couple of weeks. Most condominium governing documents will address specific requirements for absentee owners.
Condo assessments: I know, you are probably thinking, “Condo assessments are a positive? Yeah, right.”
The truth is they actually can be a positive in a healthy condo association. If the board has managed the maintenance, budget and reserves properly, you shouldn’t have any surprises down the line. Therefore, your monthly assessments will ensure your property is well-maintained, which ultimately helps protect your investment.
1. Start with the easy stuff. Eliminate anything that’s broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Then, go to the out-of-the-way spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and garages. Making progress in “easier” areas will build momentum to go through the harder-to-decide areas.
2. Ask yourself, “If this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?” If you wouldn’t miss it or need to replace it, it’s probably not worth keeping.
3. Don’t be a storage unit for others. If friends or relatives have left things for you to store, it’s time to ask them to pick them up—or arrange to have them shipped. You may need to be tough and set a firm deadline, after which you will donate the items.
4. Ask for help. Although you can do much of this work on your own, a family member, a good friend, or even a professional organizer can help make the job more manageable.
5. Decide what’s really important. Pretend you are moving overseas, and the number of items you can take will be severely limited and it will cost a small fortune to ship things. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter most to you!
6. Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want? For example, if you have three cabinets full of plastic containers, but only cook for one or two people, you probably can lose a few plastic sets—and dishes, pots and pans, etc.
7. Schedule a regular time each week—or several days per week—to work on rightsizing. Realize that rightsizing is a life-changing marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t accumulate everything overnight, and you won’t sort it all out overnight either.
8. Value what you keep. The fewer things you keep, the more you will treasure and enjoy what you have, instead of tucking them away in a closet or stacked among dozens of other things. These are the few, meaningful items worth having in your personal space.
9. Prevent new collections from forming. Instead of material gifts, ask people to spoil you by sharing time, enjoying new experiences, and indulging in luxuries (spa certificates, imported chocolate, a musical or other theatre production, gift certificates for dinner out, etc.)—the things you love and want, but don’t always buy for yourself.
10. Use age to your advantage. Now is a great time to “gift” items you “eventually” want family members to have. Take a photo (preferably a digital one) of them holding the special item and create a digital scrapbook of “next generation” memories...making your special people happy and freeing yourself of extra “stuff” that you have been charged with keeping for posterity.
If help is what you need, we're here for you! Give us a call at (757) 389-8864 or send us an email and we'll sit down with you for a complimentary consultation to develop a customized plan just for you.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “all real estate is local.” It’s a truism that refers to the unique qualities of neighborhoods 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 real estate specialist who focuses exclusively seniors:
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 seniors 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!
HomeAdvisor’s 2017 Aging-in-place Report talked to two sets of homeowners—those aged 55 to 75 and those over the age of 75—to assess their motives for making home upgrades.
It’s hard to know exactly what disabilities you’re going to face and what modifications will be needed down the line, so one strategy is taking a holistic look at a home and choosing home upgrades with an eye toward making life easier now and in the future.
That may mean ensuring that a home is in good condition and simplifying landscaping, organizing closets and storage spaces, replacing door knobs with door handles, and making repairs that affect safety.
Respondents’ comments about how watching loved ones struggle with aging motivated them to improve their homes makes the report compelling. And remarks by older respondents about the projects they wish they’d done earlier are equally motivating.
After all, many aging homeowners now face tremendous challenges functioning at home, and more than one-third said that they can no longer access some parts of their homes.
Read the report here.
Are you ready to retire and downsize your home? Here are some ways to prepare for the move and make the process easier.