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?


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.


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.


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.


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.   

Age In The Right Place

A popular phrase in the senior care industry is “age in place,” which is used to describe when an older adult chooses to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Now a new phrase is coming into more common usage, “age in the right place.” This phrase means older adults feel comfortable in their surroundings, they can maintain their independence and when they experience health or financial problems, they can find solutions to minimize those problems, according to Stephen M. Golant, University of Florida professor, gerontologist and author of “Aging in the Right Place.”
“No matter how careful one is about eating patterns and exercise, bad things happen despite the best preventive health measures. When bad things happen, older people should have as many options for living environments to help cope with decline.” Golant said in an interview with Next Avenue. Aging in place might not be for everyone. For example, this may be due to the: 

  • Home’s design that could produce fall risks or make it difficult to maintain.
  • Lack of family or home care support due to living far away or in a rural area.
  • Poor local transportation making it challenging to get groceries or attend doctor appointments. 

Before a health event occurs or before aging’s effects become more apparent, alternative living options should be considered – Contact us and we will connect you with a certified senior advisor through our partners at CarePatrol. Their certified senior advisors help older adults and families find what is and plan what will be the safest living options for them as they age whether that’s an independent living, assisted living or memory care community. 
As the nation’s largest senior placement organization, CarePatrol is ready to help older adults and their families identify the right place at the right price. If you know someone who could benefit from community living, contact us. CarePatrol services are always free to our clients.

Article is courtesy of Jodi Lewis-Smith,
Certified Senior Advisor with CarePatrol

In Home Care Vs Independent or Assisted Living.

Choosing living options for yourself or a loved one can be a challenge. This post compares in home care to Independent or Assisted Living. We’ll look at the costs and benefits for each.

Assisted living and independent Living communities allow residents to maintain independence yet have the benefits of support such as meals, recreation, and activities. Also assisted living communities have easy access to health and medical care if needed.

In home care allows seniors to stay in their home and have support. Agencies provide support from companionship on a part time basis to 24/7 in home care.

The cost of assisted living and independent living communities varies depending on the size of the apartment, location and services included. In general prices would range from $48,000 – $84,000 per year. In home care typically averages around $21/hour. For live in care that rate is closer to $200 per day and would average $73,000 per year.

In home care is fantastic. It allows you to enjoy the comfort and familiarity of home yet still have care and help to feel safe. However in home care does not have the benefits of social activities, meals, laundry service, healthcare and transportation. 

My advice is to consider in home care as a great option if you want to stay at home but just need a little extra help. This is a great and affordable option. Also if you’re recovering from an accident or surgery and need help for a short amount of time in home care can be a great temporary option. If you need live in care 24/7 I’d recommend considering assisted living or independent living before committing to in home care.

If you would like more information on in home care, independent living or assisted living contact me. I have a list of communities and service providers I can recommend to help you make your living options decision.

Best wishes, Matt

11 Reasons Home Sellers Should List During the Holiday Season

We are rolling toward the end of October and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Many home seller chose to pull their homes off the market this time of year and wait until Spring to sell.  Here are 11 reasons sellers should list during the Holiday Season.

11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! This will allow you to sell high and buy low.

10. You can sell now for more money and we will provide for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year.

9. Even though your house will be on the market, you still have the option to restrict showings during the six or seven days around the Holidays.

8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transfers cannot wait until Spring to buy, you need to be on the market during the Holidays to capture the market.

7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.

6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a work week.

5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price.

4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays.

3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home. Less demand means more money for you.

2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you.

And the number one reason why your seller should list during the Holidays …

1. People who look for homes during the Holidays are more serious buyers!

If you’d like to know if this is the best time or not to sell for you please contact me at 609-338-3773.

* repost from blog.KW.com

Launching Our New PROMPT 24/7 Telephone Services Directory

We are please to announce that PROMPT 24/7 is now live! Over the years we have developed great relationships with many vendors and local service providers. We often get asked by our clients who we recommend for services. Whether its a home inspector, mortgage company, or contractor it’s important to have an endorsed provider. We’ve compiled our list of top vendors and service providers and put them into our database that can be accessed with a simple phone call.

This service is only available to our clients and partners. Rather than filtering through dozens of names on the internet or searching through the phone book or newspaper just call us. Our trained operators will find your location and the service you are looking for. And if we can’t find what you’re looking for our research department will find it and get back to you. This service is complimentary to our clients and partners. If you are a current client contact us to get the PROMPT 24/7 phone number. If you would like to become a PROMPT 24/7 preferred vendor contact us for an application. If you have had an amazing experience with a vendor or service provider please let us know so that we can include them in our directory.

When Is It Time To Start Thinking About Your Senior Living Options?


Most of the time people will come to us looking for senior living options after they have had a major health issue.  Perhaps its a fall or surgery.  Sometimes it’s after a diagnosis of a severe illness.  It’s times like these that families are often forced to make changes to their living arrangements and lifestyle.  

We like to encourage our clients to consider their options before they are forced to make a change quickly.  This is a big decision and not something you’d want to jump into.  Consider the advice of family, your legal, medical, financial and tax advisors.  There are many options available to seniors as outlined in our recent post.  Explore all available options and consider what works best for you.

If you’re thinking about an independent living community or assisted living community often the best communities are full and have a waiting list.  It may make sense to make the move before you have to so you can get in the community and location you want.  

Contact us with any questions.  When it comes time to make the move we’re here to help make the transition smooth and easy.  

Senior Living Options

There are many options for seniors. In this article we’ll look at several options, and explain the pros and cons of each.  Contact us for more information on senior living options.  Our partners can help you evaluate what option may be best for you or your loved ones.

Active Adult Communities

Active adult communities are age restricted communities made for older adults typically 55 and over. They can be made up of houses, townhouses, condominiums and land lease communities. Residents are fully independent. They have no trouble living on their own and manage their homes.  Many active adult communities include lawn care, and snow removal.  This options allows older adults to live independently and access social and recreational amenities.  Many of our best active adult communities will have clubhouses  with pools, fitness centers, game rooms, billiards, activities and events.  Some even have indoor pools.  Active adult communities typically will have clubs and groups so you can socialize with others that have the same interests.  For adults with health issues or concerns this may not be the best option.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are also known as retirement communities or homes. Older adults can rent or buy their own units in one of these communities. Meals often are included. Most residents can take care of themselves however they may not want to make 3 meals a day or deal with the upkeep of a house.  Independent living communities often have great social actives and facilities within the community.  Another big advantage is that independent living communities often have medical families and doctors and nurses on site.  It makes medical care easy and gives you peace of mind if there were to be a medical emergency.  

Assisted living residences

Assisted living residences offer more care than independent living communities.  They also provide personal care services like bathing, getting dressed or taking medication.  Many assisted living communities also have nursing homes in the same building and and some also have special secure wings for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.  This option might be a good fit for older adults who are somewhat active but need help with daily tasks.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are also known as skilled nursing or extended care facilities. Nursing homes provide professional medical care to older adults.  Some stay there temporarily to recover from a fall, health condition or to recover from surgery.  Others will stay long term and need the 24 hour nursing and medical care.  

Continuing care retirement communities

Continuing care retirement communities combine many of the other communities in this article so you will not have to change communities as your medical and health needs change.   Continuing care retirement communities have independent living, assisted living and nursing home facilities under one roof.  This is a great option and allows older adults to stay in one place for the rest of their life.