Lego Building Competition Quarantine Edition

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

The contest theme is What is your favorite scene from quarantine.  Build a model of your favorite quarantine activity. Have fun, be creative.  Our panel of judges (my kids) will pick a winner on Facebook Live at 5 PM on April 3rd.  Extra points will be given if you provide a video telling us about your creation.  Also extra points given based on the number of likes for your post.

Here are the contest rules:

  1.  Take a picture and video explaining your Lego creation and post them on our Facebook Page.  Include age and first name of the builder.  
  2. Like our Facebook Page
  3. Get friends to like your post.  This will help increase your chance of winning.  
  4. Join us on Facebook Live 5 PM April 3rd and see if you win.  If you win we will need an email address to send you your $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Thanks for playing and have fun!

Contest is open to children of all ages.  

 

How will COVID 19 Affect Real Estate In South Jersey?

First of all we want to extend our sympathy to those who have been personally affected by the COVID 19 virus.  We also would like to express our support to those who have lost jobs at this difficult time.

As of today Governor Murphy announced that all non essential businesses should close and work from home.  At Keller Williams Realty we are honoring this request and have already made preparations to work remotely.  Our staff and leadership team will continue to work remotely from home.  Our affiliated title company is also prepared to work from home and handle closings remotely.

We anticipate our scheduled closings to close on time and are communicating with our clients on any potential delays.

For new seller clients we have initiated a Virtual Home Selling Service.  We will take new listings including video tours without having to come to our client’s home and without any buyers having to come in their house.  We have also implemented a virtual live open house strategy to further promote our listings on social media.

For our home buyer and seller clients we have implemented video conferencing for all meetings.  We also have a Virtual Home Buying Service to help our buyer clients navigate through potential homes and neighborhoods without having to leave the comfort and safety of their home.

Is now a good time to buy or sell real estate in South Jersey?  The answer is it depends on your circumstances.  We are offering phone or video consultations to help you determine if this is the right time for you.

We are committed to help our clients with their real estate needs and add value to their lives.  We pray that everyone would stay safe and well.

Richard, Matthew, Linda Haviland

P.S.  Is there anything we can support you with?  If we can help we will.  If we can’t we’ll let you know or do our best to connect you to someone that can help.

Medicaid Eligibility And Planning Services

The Medicaid eligibility application process is often frustrating for applicants and their families. The risk of failure is real. The cost of failure can be financially devastating. Fortunately there is help available.  Senior Planning Services is a resource available to help families navigate through medicaid eligibility and planning.

When a loved one is in need of long term care, it is likely that there are numerous challenges to contend with. The added stress synonymous with the Medicaid eligibility application process is an unwelcome burden further compounding existing difficulties.

Senior Planning Services is the solution for optimized Medicaid eligibility. Thousands of Medicaid applicants and their families have relied on the expertise of Senior Planning Services. With Senior Planning Services, the promise of a secure financial future becomes reality for qualified applicants. 

Senior Planning Services holds three offices; including our New Jersey Medicaid corporate office, our New York and Connecticut offices.  Senior Planning also serves Pennsylvania.  To contact Senior Planning call 855-775-2664 or visit https://www.senior-planning.com/

5 Warning Signs That Your Parents May Need Your Help

One unfortunate aspect of aging is that living independently can become more difficult. What are some of the warning signs that your mom and/or dad may need assistance?

1. BRUISING

Older skin bruises more easily and they may not be telling you that they are experiencing falls, bumping into things, or have become increasingly unsteady. A medical checkup and a cane or walker may be in order.

2. FOOD CRISIS

An unexplained weight loss that isn’t the result of a health issue may be an issue with food accessibility. Check the refrigerator and cabinets. Unkempt food storage areas with ruined food, or a noticeable lack of food, may flag trouble in self care. Parents may be unable to clean or shop like they once did. Getting help with household chores, shopping, or meal preparation may be in order to be sure that healthy, fresh food is available while extending their ability to safely age at home.

3. UNPAID BILLS

Your parents may not be able to tend to paperwork and bills as they once did. You may discover piles of unpaid bills, cutoff notices, or even cancelled services. Ensuring that vital services are uninterrupted is essential since even a short loss of utilities can have an immediate and life-threatening result for older individuals. Helping them set up automatic bill payments, assisting them with bill paying once a month or hiring a bill paying service will eliminate this concern.

4. ODOR

If the house has an unpleasant odor, it could be the result of rotting food, the inability to clean and dispose of trash, a difficulty with hygiene or health issues that have gone undiagnosed (like a urinary tract infection). Track down the cause of the odor to determine what steps need to be taken to keep things safe at home.

5. HOME IN DISARRAY

Everyone’s house is messy from time to time.

However, as it becomes more difficult to move around and do regular household chores, these messes may become bigger. They should never progress to the point of creating health or safety issues. Consider hiring a cleaning service or an organization expert before things become too overwhelming. Let your parents know that you don’t want to intrude, but you are genuinely concerned for their health and safety and want to help them find solutions that help them stay in their home longer and remain safe.

 

5 Ways To Simplify Home Sales Prep

It’s often more challenging to get a home market-ready. If your not up to the physical and mental challenges of decluttering, packing up, and renovating your home, several new services and tools may make life a bit easier.page5image1918481232

#1 – Innovative Decluttering Services

If you or your family doesn’t have the time, energy, or physical ability to sift through a lifetime
of accumulation, a professional decluttering and downsizing expert may be able to facilitate the process.  
Some specialize in helping seniors with downsizing or organizing a move. To learn more and identify potential resources, visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers (nasmm.org), Certified Relocation & Transition Specialists (crtscertification.com), and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (napo.net).

Another option you may want to try is a virtual decluttering services. Some providers now meet with clients via live video chats, using apps like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. As a bonus, virtual decluttering services usually cost less than on-site providers.

#2 – New Staging Options

If your house is empty and you want to prep it for sale look online for other alternatives using search terms like “rentals to stage houses for sale.” This will likely return options like Cort (cort.com) and Brook Furniture Rental (bfr.com), which cater to short-term rentals.

If you’re on a budget, partial staging may be an economical option. Consider staging the entrance area for those all-important first impressions on house tours. Then focus on the main living areas of the home: the kitchen, living room, dining area, and master bedroom.

#3 – Virtual Staging Services

According to NAR Research, 93 percent of buyers use an online website to search for homes.If your home is vacant or you are unable to clear out some items before the property is put on the market, virtual staging may be a way to help improve first impressions online.

Services like BoxBrownie.com and VirtualStagingSolutions.com can remove clutter from photos, add virtual furniture, enhance lighting, and more.

Also, consider the potential downside of inflating buyers’ expectations of a property. If the online photos look substantially better than the real thing, buyers may experience disappointment and frustration when viewing the home firsthand.  To avoid this potential problem, some agents opt to display two photos of each room—one empty and one staged—in their listing photos.

# 4 – Fresh Approaches to Storage

Although not available in all areas, companies like MakeSpace.com and Clutter.com will come and pack up belongings (boxes and packing materials are included in the price), move them into a storage unit, and deliver them back to you (or to the new home) when requested.

The contents are cataloged online or in a phone app, so owners can decide what comes back and when.  Consider this option if you’re thinking about renting a storage unit.

#5 – New Renovation Options

If you have most of your assets tied up in your home, it can be challenging to finance renovations that could improve the selling price. A new company, Curbio (curbio.com), calls itself the “Pre-sale Renovation Experts.” It completes updates before a home is put on the market, but doesn’t collect payment until the house is sold.4

Curbio won the Pitch Battle at NAR’s second annual Innovation, Opportunity & Investment (iOi) Summit in Seattle last August, competing against 13 other finalists, all considered among the best new technology startups in the real estate industry. Curbio is growing but still serves a limited market.  If Curbio isn’t in your area, be on the lookout for independent, local renovation companies that specialize in making smart upgrades that can maximize your sales price.  Or ask for approved contractor list.

To learn more about preparing your home to be sold and home staging contact us and ask for our free Room By Room review home staging booklet.  It’s a comprehensive check list for each room of the house.  

 

 

 

Is An Accessory Dwelling Unit Right For You?

As a homeowner, you may be considering adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to your property: either inside your current home, as an addition to your existing home, or as a free-standing building. ADUs are also know as granny-flats, mother-in-law-apartments and so on. How can you determine if this is the right move for you?

RESEARCH ADU REGULATIONS

Determine if your area is ADU-friendly by visiting your city’s planning and zoning website, or by calling or visiting the local office. Some areas encourage ADUs and others don’t. Even if your city’s regulations seem to discourage ADU construction, you may be able to secure a waiver to build one. Ask.

DO A COST EVALUATION

If you want an ADU to bring in rental income, be sure to look at the total cost for permits, construction, and the increase in annual property taxes. Compare this to the monthly income you expect to receive to determine how long it will take for the ADU to pay for itself before you realize any income.

CONSIDER YOUR LIFESTYLE AND NEEDS

Important considerations include:

Privacy vs. Company – If you are a private person, having a renter on your property may present difficulties. However, if you are looking for more social interaction, finding the right renter may be just what you need.

Assistance – If you have special needs, consider trading maintenance, cleaning, or personal services for part or all of the rent on your ADU. It may be an economical way to retain your independence, even with physical limitations.

Aging in Place – If you want to age in place, an ADU built with universal design concepts may help you stay on your property, while simultaneously improving your financial situation. You could rent out the house that is too large or unsuitable for aging in place, while staying in the neighborhood you know and love.

Adult Children – If you have adult children who have returned home to live with you, an ADU may be an economical way to keep your children (and possibly grandchildren) close, while maintaining privacy for you and for them.

TALK TO YOUR REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST

An accessory dwelling unit may be exactly what you need. For additional perspectives, talk to me to help you determine if this is a good option for you!

Housing Challenges For Seniors

One crucial element of aging well is housing, and there’s much to criticize about what’s currently available. 

For one, there aren’t enough properties that provide for the affordability, accessibility, and social well-being necessary for seniors’ quality of life. 

Thus, developing housing that incorporates universal design features — no-step entries; bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens on the ground level; wide doorways and hallways; variable counter heights; and lever-style handles.

The Milken Institute report does point to several promising lifestyle trends that address seniors’ needs, including: 

·       Co-housing — People live in their own homes but have communal spaces like kitchens, living rooms, and dining areas where residents come together for meals and socializing. 

·       Student matches – Older homeowners rent rooms to students, providing affordable housing for students and easing seniors’ housing costs. In addition, homeowners can get help with household tasks and forge deeper social connections. 

·       Home sharing — Adults living together bring benefits similar to student matches – sharing household tasks and easing housing costs and social isolation. 

·       Multigenerational housing and granny units – Seniors living with family members or in an on-site granny flat or accessible dwelling unit (ADU) on the property can strengthen family relationships, keep seniors out of institutional settings, and lower the costs of caregiving. 

If you need help with housing or need help for a loved one.  Contact us.  We can help you sort through available options and answer any questions you may have.   

3 Strategies for Living Longer in Your Home

Personal health, physical environment, and the ability to use technology play vital roles in remaining independent and aging in place as long as possible.  Let’s explore these three strategies to living longer in your home.

1. Walk Your Way to Health

All types of physical activity deliver health benefits. For seniors, a daily walking routine is often the best option. Harvard Medical School cites various studies that have confirmed that walking counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes, reduces cravings for sweets, eases joint pain, and boosts immune function.

Achieving these benefits may require only 20 minutes of walking a day, five days a week.

To gain even more from your walks, take them outdoors, with
or without a friend. These short bursts of activity can improve your mental outlook in addition to your physical health.

2. Embrace One-Floor Living

Talk to a universal design specialist to learn how to
prepare your home so you can age gracefully. 
You may need to make significant renovations, or your home may only require a few small changes to accommodate one-floor living.

If your house doesn’t lend itself
to a first-floor bedroom, can’t accommodate assistive equipment in the shower, or requires more renovations than you’re willing

to make, consider moving to a different home.

It will be easier to change your address now than to wait until health issues dictate a move. You’ll have more time to make decorating decisions and get settled in, so the new house becomes “home” to you and your family.

3. Get Comfortable With Technology

Technology is rapidly changing many aspects of life, from opening up new ways to receive medical care, new options for staying in touch with family and friends, and new ways to manage tasks around the home.

If you aren’t already familiar
with tablets or smartphones,
take a class at your local library or community center, and learn the basics. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the benefits these devices can offer.

Robots and smart homes will play a significant role in independent living. Soon, you’ll be able to control your entire home, from opening windows and unlocking doors to changing the thermostat and ordering delivered meals—all with your voice!