6 Top Tips for Selling your Home for the best Possible Price

6 Top Tips for Selling your Home for the best Possible Price

Are you thinking about selling your home? Are you the executor of an estate and need to liquidate the asset and sell the property? Are you torn between selling your home as is or putting in a lot of money for renovation work and or upgrades and are not certain you will get a return on your investment?
We have put together list of the top 8 tips you may want to consider when selling your home and getting the biggest bag for your buck. These helpful tips are part of a continuing series of articles by Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ). Personal Property Managers specializes in real estate sales, real estate transition services, property management and content clean-out services in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

1. Clean it up
The cheapest and easiest way to increase the value if of your home in the eyes of potential buyers, is to make sure your home shows as well as possible. How do you do this? Make sure it’s spotlessly clean. Most people don’t have the imagination to look past piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen and discarded clothing strewn across your bedroom floor, to see how much nicer things would be if they lived there.
Just think of it this way…if there are two houses selling in an area at the same price at the same time, experience tells us that the cleaner one is likely to be snapped up faster.

2. If it’s broken…fix it
Don’t forget to ensure the gutters and roof tiles are in good order. One obvious maintenance job often overlooked is the garage door – and it’s usually the first thing a potential buyer sees. In addition, most buyers will have a home inspection done prior to purchase. Be pro-active. Address known issues in advance. Don’t let this hamper a deal.

3. Light and Mirrors
It’s a known fact that houses that let in a lot of light are likely to sell faster and for more money than dark, dingy ones. If you have lace or net curtains, remove them while you’re selling to let in the sunshine. If there are hedges blocking windows, cut them back.
Add mirrors. They are an easy way to maximize light and create a feeling of space.

4. Curb your dog
We all know that pets take a special place in our hearts, but that may not be true for a potential buyer. So, if you are selling your home, you will need to remove your pet…at least during showings. Vacuum those dog hairs off the living room couch and remove his basket and blankets from your bedroom.
Just as important, don’t forget about pet smells. Pet odors also suggest to potential buyers that there may be extra maintenance work, like replacing stained carpets and sanding down scratched doors.

5. De-clutter
A clean house sells much faster and at a higher price than a messy home. It’s just common sense. So, start now. Clean up. Don’t wait – throw it all out now, including those boxes in your garage. Clutter can make a place look smaller and give a buyer the impression there’s not much packing space in your home.

6. Clean it and Paint it
Nothing looks better than a clean, organized and freshly painted house. When selecting colors, keep it bland and neutral, rather than suiting your specific taste. This way you’re likely to interest a greater number of buyers.

Kitchens and bathrooms are big decision-making rooms, agree estate agents. Modernize where you can, using quality primers and tile paint to update bathrooms. Replacing work surfaces can also transform a kitchen without a major overhaul.

For more information on home sales, staging and downsizing, please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes.

Top 7 Tips for Cleaning out your Deceased Parents Home

Top 7 Tips for Cleaning out your Deceased Parents Home

Are you the caregiver of an elderly loved one who recently passed away? Have you been chosen to be the executor of your elderly parent’s estate? Are you now tasked with selling your parents’ home or the home of a deceased loved one? If you are, we would like to extend our condolences. This is a very emotional and exhausting time. The process can be both physically and mentally draining. The task of cleaning out and de-cluttering a home is daunting and often overwhelming.

We would like to help you by sharing our top 7 tips for cleaning out your loved ones home and preparing it for sale. This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ). Personal Property Managers specializes in real estate sales, real estate transition services and personal property and content clean out services in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

1. Divide the physical labor. Cleaning out a loved ones home can often be so massive that often times, help is needed. Don’t be shy about asking for a hand from close family members, friends or even your parent’s aide or simply contact us at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com

2. Take your time, even when you’re exhausted. Resist the desire to just toss everything in the trash. You never know what you are going to find buried deep in piles of cloths or in closets. More often than not, elderly loved ones may have tucked cash and jewelry into clothes pockets; always check the pockets before giving anything away.

3. Search for key financial documents. Before throwing away any papers, find and put aside your parent’s will, trusts and addenda; life insurance policies and statements, real estate deeds and titles; recent bank statements (you can get older ones electronically); stock certificates; 401(k) records; tax returns and receipts necessary for filing next year’s income tax return.

4. Divide up your parent’s belongings. This is often a touchy area. Sadly, when money or possessions come into play it often brings out the less desirable side of survivors. Have your siblings create a wish list of the items they’d like from the estate. Then, try to divide the assets equally by monetary value. If you can’t agree, you may want to consider getting items appraised.

If one brother or sister chooses high-ticket items, he or she should pay the other siblings an amount that will even things out.

5. Preserve sentimental photos and memorabilia. These are irreplaceable. Pictures and cherished possessions can mean a lot more than most items in ones home. Cherish them and preserve them to the best of your ability.

6. Donating or selling your parent’s clothes. Unfortunately, you will quickly learn that most clothing has little resale value, unless it’s vintage (i.e., from the ’60s or earlier). Designer resale or consignment shops might only take upscale clothes or items bought in the last two years that are in perfect condition. Other consignment stores will take items they think they can sell, price them fairly low and keep 50 percent of what people pay; the price goes down if the clothes go unsold after a month.

7. Bring in a liquidator. This is where we can help you. As we mentioned earlier, the task is often overwhelming both physically and mentally. Personal Property Managers can help you downsizing, de-clutter, organize an estate sale if there are enough items of value to sell. We are dedicated to helping you through every step of this process. We do so with dignity and expertise.

For more information on home sales, staging and downsizing, please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging and full service real estate services to help sell homes.

Tips for making your home safe for your elderly parent to move in

Home modifications tips for elderly parents moving in with caregivers

With Americans living longer and longer, with the baby boomer retirement population exploding and expecting to almost double in the next few years, one option that families are taking is having elderly parents move in with their caregiver children.

One must consider home modifications to accommodate elderly loved ones moving back home.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

Some general safety and room-by-room details to consider include:
• Make sure to have study handrails on all indoor and outdoor steps.
• Install nonskid strips on or near steps and near the edges. For those with visual impairments, the strips should be a color that contrasts with the color of the steps.
• Light switches should be located near all entrances to each room, at each end of hallways, and at the top and bottom of stairwells.
• Lighting should be sufficiently throughout the home.
• Consider replacing traditional door knobs with lever handles which are easier to operate than doorknobs.
• Interior doors should have locks that can be opened from either side.
• Hallways and doorways should be wide enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair.
• The water heater should be set at 120 degrees to reduce the risk of scalding.
• Solid color carpeting with dense pile will lower fall risks. Deep pile carpeting can be more difficult to walk on, and patterned carpeting may cause optical illusions for those who have difficulty with depth perception.
• To lower fall risks with hardwood floors, avoid wax or high gloss polishes or throw rugs.
• Avoid room entrances with raised door thresholds.
• Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be present near all sleeping areas.
• Check that kitchen cabinets and countertops are a comfortable height, and that there is space to roll a wheelchair under a counter, if needed.
• A side-by-side refrigerator/freezer will be easier to use than a top-bottom model.
• Electric or gas stoves should not be positioned under a window because the presence of curtains will increase the risk of fire.
• Sinks should have a single-lever mixing faucet.
• The touch pad of a microwave should be large and easy to read, and the device should be in a convenient location.
• There should be one bathroom located on the main floor of the home, as well as near the bedroom (if the home is multi-level).
• Grab bars should be present or can be installed near the toilet and tub/shower.
• Check that the toilet is a comfortable height.
• It is recommended that the tub/shower has a hand-held spray unit, and a built-in seat or space to utilize a shower chair (chairs are available which extend over the side of a tub if a stall shower is not present, however you will need a curtain instead of shower doors to minimize water escaping from the shower.)
• A pedestal sink may be needed if a wheelchair or regular chair will be used in front of the sink.
• The size of the bathroom should be adequate for wheelchair maneuverability.
• Avoid throw rugs and bathmats. The floor should be carpeted (low pile), or matte-finished, textured tile instead of a smooth, potentially slippery surface.
• Towel racks and built-in soap dishes should be secure and not located where they might be used as a grab bar.
• One Bedroom should be available on the main floor of the home.

We have learned that these modifications can make a world of difference.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

How to prevent Caregiver burnout when caring for elderly loved ones

How to prevent Caregiver burnout when caring for elderly loved ones

We often work with families where adult children are caregivers for their aging parents. This is an extremely stressful time. In many cases it may require virtually 24 hour care. There is a huge role reversal and in many cases it is emotionally draining and overwhelming for the adult caregivers.

Keeping a balance and maintaining good mental help is extremely important during these difficult times. These helpful tips and insights may prove beneficial for adult caregivers.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean-out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sales as well as moving services.

Here are some helpful tips that will relieve stress and boost your health:
1. Take care of yourself by getting regular checkups and eating healthy.
2. Combine two things that are good for you: exercise and companionship. While someone else watches over Dad, go for a bike ride with a friend or play ball with your kids.
3. Get a good night’s sleep. If possible, share nighttime responsibilities with someone else so you can get yourself to bed at a decent hour.
4. Laughter helps relieve stress and release positive emotions.
5. Keep a journal. Recording your thoughts and feelings helps put things in a better perspective and can help release pent-up emotions.
6. Combine a stress reliever with care giving tasks such as listening to music or watching videos while cooking dinner for Mom, doing laundry or paying her bills.

Tips for preventing caregiver burnout:
1. Ask others to help. Don’t think you’re the only one capable of helping your loved one. Ask around for help. Find out if a friend, neighbor or relative will chip in on the chores.
2. Take time for yourself each day by indulging in a good book for a half hour or taking a short nap. Or do something special for yourself each week, like a movie or shopping with a friend, or taking a long walk.
3. Take advantage of the many formal or informal services you can find.
4. Set limits on how much time and effort you can physically and mentally devote to caregiving.
5. Let it all out….share your feelings of sadness or grief with a good friend, family member, spiritual advisor, professional counselor or anyone you can trust.

Keep hassles and small details in perspective. If the carpet doesn’t get vacuumed today, dinner is served later than usual or the laundry waits until tomorrow, that’s OK. Need time for personal affairs, to get rest or to simply take a break?

Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for you and those you care for, so take it seriously.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

When to have a discussion about finances with your parents

When to have a discussion about finances with your parents

We often work with families where children are caregivers for their parents. Inevitably, the conversation of finances comes up. This is often a difficult and awkward discussion.

Recent studies by a variety of financial institutions showed that almost two-thirds of parents and their adult children1 are at odds as to when detailed conversations on key financial topics, including retirement preparedness, eldercare and estate planning, should take place.

Even more concerning, is the gap between parents concern and their adult children’s concern about finances. Studies show that about 55% of adult children worry about their parents finances vs. only about 25% of their parents. The rising cost of health care and senior care is now a cause for major concern. It is a fact that we are living longer but more often than not, our elderly loved ones will require long term senior care which can cost up to $100,000 per year.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

We have learned that these discussions [between parent and adult children] aren’t always easy, but there can be real emotional and financial consequences when they don’t happen. It’s important that families take the time to sort through important matters related to retirement preparedness, care giving responsibilities, estate planning and the tax implications of an inheritance.

Census figures and recent studies indicate that in the next 11 years, our elderly population will double. This means that caregivers and children of elderly loved ones will be dealing with a situation that for many, is something that we are totally unprepared for.

How to Build a Better Discussion
• Start the conversation and ask as many detailed questions as you can. 93 % of parents who had detailed discussions with their children about wills and estate planning say it brought greater peace of mind; 73 percent said it would help their children’s emotional state of mind, too.
• Parents should have final say. While family members should have a role in the planning process, make sure the ultimate decisions made are consistent with the wishes of the parents, who are charting the course of their retirement.
• The right people and the right topics. Advanced planning can help you define roles, determine what conversations to have, and choose when and how different people will be involved. For example who will have the power of attorney or be the executor of the estate? It is important to consider the personalities of each child, their proximity and their relationship with their parents.
• Follow-up and keep the dialogue going. These conversations are not “one and done.” Keep the momentum going and schedule as many get-togethers as you need—and revisit the plans you make at least annually, to make sure they still make sense.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

Planning to have an aging parent move in with you

Planning to have an aging parent move in with you

We often work with families where children are caregivers for their aging parents. Often time medical conditions and sometimes financial decisions necessitate change. This change may mean that your elderly loved one may need to move in to their children’s home.

This is a decision that adult children and caregivers should think though carefully. There’s so much that’s involved. If you move mom or dad in and don’t have discussions it’s going to be chaos. If you make a plan and if you have conversations up front and define your boundaries, it can be a very pleasant and very productive addition to your life.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

No matter how prepared you are to have an elderly loved one move in to your home and no matter how pleasant your relationship is, expect the unexpected. You need to be prepared for the role reversal. You need to be prepared for the things that are going to happen so that you don’t blow up so you don’t have an incident that you can’t take back. The only way that this new relationship works is if you find a way to have a real relationship with mom or dad and get rid of those old parent to child roles.

Lastly, if mom or dad are moving in, getting their finances together is the first and most important thing. In addition, plan in advance for absentee care giving when you go on vacation. Having ‘alone’ time with your spouse is important. There are services [and] people you can pay hourly, but the one thing a lot of people miss is that there may be members of your own family who are actually out looking for employment while you’re struggling trying to figure out who’s going to watch mom or dad. One thing that’s worked out very well is having family members come in and have them get compensated instead of paying an outside professional. You want to get creative with your solutions.

We have learned that these discussions [between parent and adult children] aren’t always easy, but they are extremely important at many levels.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

 

Recognizing signs of decline in our elderly loved ones

Recognizing signs of decline in our elderly loved ones

Are you the close friend, son, daughter or caregiver of a senior loved one? Have you begun to notice signs that your elderly loved one is having difficulty processing routing daily chores; conversations, and having trouble remembering name?  

If the answer to any of these questions is yes…then this may mean that your elderly loved one may now need help, and may no longer be able to live independently.

Census figures and recent studies indicate that in the next 11 years, our elderly population will double. This means that caregivers and children of elderly loved ones will be dealing with a situation that for many, is something that we are prepared for. .

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com )  Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

Here are ten signs that your parents may need help right now — and who you can reach out to for that help.

  1.  Memory loss and Forgetfulness
    Have your parents have begun forgetting appointments or bills that need to be paid? Have they been getting lost more regularly? Maybe they have begun repeating themselves or putting common objects in illogical places. Perhaps they forget the dosage for their medicine, or don’t take it altogether.

If this is the case you might want to suggest a formal assessment to help determine your options. Once you know what is going on with your parent, such as is the issue a medical condition or dementia, you will better know how to help them. 

  1. Mobility issues
    Are your parents having trouble walking or getting up from a chair? Take a look around  your parents’ home. Is the staircase awkward to navigate, are there slippery tiles, does the furniture create obstacles or are they having trouble getting in and out of the shower? Muscle, joint pain or trouble with knees might indicate that a cane or walker is necessary.

 

  1.   Eating issues and loss of appetite
    Are your parents losing weight, becoming dehydrated, not cooking, forgetting to eat or eating unhealthy? They might be having trouble cooking, reading a recipe, holding utensils or operating a stove, or they may have difficulty with the senses of taste and smell. You may want to check the refrigerator for out of date food. Make sure your parents are drinking and not becoming dehydrated, especially during the heat of the summer.

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  2.   Detachment and overall lack of involvement
    Is your parent social and active, visiting friends, participating in faith, civic or community activities? Or are they listless with low spirits and a lack of energy? If you’re not sure why, why not simply ask them about it. It may mean eyes should be checked or a hearing aid might be in order.

 

  1.  Change in personal hygiene
    Is your dad’s hair uncombed and teeth not brushed? Is he no longer going to the barber with usual regularity? Is he wearing the same clothing or inappropriate clothing? Lack of awareness about his personal appearance might be a sign of physical problems, depression or Alzheimer’s. Talk to your parents what you noticed and ask them about it.

  2.  Change in Personality
    Do you notice a change in your parents’ personalities, especially in the evening? Are they talking too loudly or too softly? Are they accusing people of doing or saying things against them, wanting to check on children or displaying other odd behaviors? These may be common signs of sun downing or late-day confusion. You may want to plan activities during the day that include exposure to sunlight and keeping a nightlight on to reduce agitation. Changes in personality can result from other things aside from Alzheimer’s or dementia, which looks different in every individual. You may have to be creative and try multiple strategies to address changes in personality and meet your loved one’s needs. 
  3.   Illness or Physical Disability
    If your parents suffer from advanced diabetes or have visual difficulties, such as Parkinson’s or severe or recurring strokes, they may need you to step in. 

 

  1.   Unusual Amount of Clutter
    Is there dirty laundry or unopened mail? Is the house unkempt, especially in the kitchen and bathroom? Does the lawn need mowing? Maybe maintaining the home is becoming too much for your parents to handle.

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  1.   Bruises, Scratches and Burns
    Have you noticed unexplained bruises, bumps, scratches or burns? These may be signs your loved one is having difficulty taking care of themselves.

After being independent and self-sufficient for so long, it’s difficult for parents to admit they need help. But it’s important to communicate with your parents, letting them know why you are worried and that you want to help. Then come up with solutions together.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services