Monthly Archives: January 2014

Home Downsizing and Moving Tips – Room by Room

Home Downsizing and moving tips…room by room by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers.

Following the passing of a loved one such as a parent, grandparent, relative or close family friend what do I do with all of their unwanted household items? 

Many people do not realize how to handle all of the various categories of things found in the common household and are overwhelmed with even beginning the process. Here are some examples of how many of the usual items often found in each room. Shredding is not mentioned below except for the office but confidential documents may be found throughout the household and should be reviewed closely and if unneeded destroyed properly. 

Kitchen

  • Keep: Cooking related items you truly need or could use to upgrade what you have in your own kitchen.
  • Donate: Functional items in good condition or better – pots and pans, flatware, glassware, etc. – canned goods and other food may be donated to the local food pantry
  • Discard: Anything chipped, cracked, broken or worn beyond use including china, glass, dishes, old food in the refrigerator and canned goods and packaged food with expired dates
  • Recycle: Dirty, discolored, rusty cooking pots/pans, worn utensils, out-of-date and non-functioning small appliances
  • Sell: Vintage cookware, Le Creuset pots and pans, Fiestaware, Stangl plates and bowls, etc. 

Bedrooms

  • Keep: Put family photos, heirloom jewelry and important personal paperwork in a safe place to take home to review closer and distribute to the appropriate family members
  • Donate: Clothing, shoes, accessories, linens, books to local libraries and retirement communities, paperbacks to our soldiers, hotel toiletries to homeless shelters
  • Discard: Undergarments, old toiletries, old medicine, used/old makeup, no value items from the “junk drawer”
  • Recycle: Eyeglasses, old electronics, wire coat hangers to your local dry cleaner, towels and blankets to your favorite animal shelter
  • Sell: Vintage jewelry, zippo cigarette lighters, coin collections, designer clothing to consignment shops 

Living Room/Family Room/Den

  • Keep: Heirloom quality china, silver sets and artwork if desired
  • Donate: Lower value furniture, incomplete china sets, extra glassware, CD’s and DVD’s
  • Discard: Used candles, coasters, incomplete board games and puzzles
  • Recycle: Non confidential paperwork, magazines, newspapers, old greeting cards, soiled tablecloths and placemats
  • Sell: Crystal bowls, Hummel figurines, Lladro figurines and related collectibles 

Office

  • Keep: Recent tax returns, home improvement records, current files
  • Donate: Old phones to our soldiers, outdated but working electronics to schools or charities
  • Discard: Office supplies that are no longer functional – Pens that don’t work, dried up erasers, etc.  
  • Recycle: Obsolete fax machines, printers, power cords, old trade publications, ink cartridges
  • Sell: Furniture and higher-end electronics when updating/upgrading
  • Shred: Credit card statements, tax returns over 7 yrs old, bank statements, old confidential business/related records 

Attic

  • Keep: Family memorabilia, personal items and other heirlooms
  • Donate: Clothing, picture frames, low-value knick knacks, books in better condition to your local library
  • Discard: Worn out suitcases, baby cribs and car seats, anything low value damaged by the heat and cold from sitting for years that can’t be recycled
  • Recycle: Rusty bed frame rails, corroded metal fans, non-confidential paperwork
  • Sell: Antiques, old dolls, vintage toys and trains, sports, movie and political memorabilia  

Basement

  • Keep: Better quality hand and power tools and related machines and equipment if truly needed
  • Donate: Children’s toys, exercise equipment, games in good condition or better
  • Discard: Damp, musty, moldy books and record albums, broken modern toys
  • Recycle: Outdated electronics, rusty tools, old wiring, non-functioning dehumidifiers
  • Sell: Duplicate or unneeded tools, musical instruments that are no longer used, vintage stereos 

Garage/Shed

  • Keep: Better quality hand and power tools, shelving and storage bins if needed
  • Donate: Vases to your local florist, extra garden tools to your neighbors
  • Discard: Sports equipment in poor condition, toys missing parts or broken
  • Recycle: Junk metals, hazardous waste, paint, old bicycles
  • Sell: Lawn mowers and snow blowers on Craigslist, sort and sell boxes of unwanted things from parents, grandparents and relatives sitting for years

For more information on home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909 or via our website at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  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 to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services.

 

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Top 10 tips – to maximize your home value when trying to sell it

Top 10 tips for maximizing the value of your home…when you are considering selling it, by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro, certified Senior Real Estate Specialist, Personal Property Managers.

  1. Remove unneeded items. When you have less clutter in your home it just makes your home look bigger, roomier and cleaner. Take your time. Go through your home and make piles of items and consider putting them in 3 categories; those you want to keep, those you want to get rid of and those you are still deciding and are on the fence with. This will make your life a lot easier and organized.
  2. Price it right. It is important that you have a complete understanding of your competition and price your home right, right from the beginning. Your real estate professional with develop a comparative market analysis to assist you in this area. A home that is priced well above the local market or above similar homes will not sell quickly, or possibly at all. Remember you only have one time to do it right and that must be right from the beginning.
  3. Work with a Pro. Having a good real estate agent or broker can make all the difference in the world. Today’s real estate market has rebounded. Your local professional realtor will assist you in the selling process. Today’s buyers are very careful and are value shoppers. A well conditioned home, priced right is the key to success. An agent who knows how to market and advertise your property, and who has good experience and connections, will be a huge asset.  
  4. Develop a marketing plan. The standard approach may not work for every property. When you decide upon an agent, make sure that he or she develops a customized marketing plan that fits you and your property. This may include social media marketing and a host of other online avenues well beyond a traditional flyer or sign on the lawn.
  5. Be very mindful of your pricing strategy. If your home isn’t getting a lot of activity or selling within a decent time period, usually within 30-60 days, work with your real estate professional to  consider changing the deal or make a price adjustment.  Offering a seller contribution is a great example. Be creative. You may want to consider offering a seller assist or a flat screen TV.   
  6. Get your finances in order. Consider having a home equity line of credit in place, should you need to relocate outside the area with your home unsold or if you happen to find the home of your dreams and your home is not sold. This way, you’ll have funds available.  Be aware, however, that if your current home doesn’t sell in a reasonable time period, you may be saddled with multiple mortgage payments. 
  7. Fix it up. It is very common for most buyers to ask for a home inspection. You’ll save time by getting a preliminary home inspection yourself and making repairs before putting the house on the market. In today’s market many potential buyers don’t want to buy a new home then turn around and invest more money to fix it up.  
  8. Ask for buyer feedback. Find out what potential buyers thought after a showing or any open houses you may have had. Take negative comments as constructive criticism, which will help you fix any flaws and capitalize on your strong points. 
  9. Watch out for buyer requested financing. Try and avoid at all cost a request from a buyer for you (the seller) to hold on to financing towards the purchase. Loans at fantastic rates are readily available. Don’t go into the banking business when there is less risk to you with an outright sale and traditional buyer financing.
  10. Be available for buyer showings at unusual times. If a potential buyer wants to see the house at an unusual time such a early morning or late at night, then so be it and do what you can to accommodate them. Don’t turn down a potential buyer…you just never know…

For more information on tips for selling your home (via our association with EveryHome Realty), downsizing, estate sales, elderly transition please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro, from Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909 or visit their website at www.personalpropertymanagers.com

Discover Your “Elder Care Transition Options”

Discover Your “Elder Care Transition Options”: 

Personal Property Managers, lead by its founders Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Personal Property Managers can be found on the Net at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  Nick and Joe Santoro have hosted many seminars to help senior and their caregivers to avoid the overwhelming tasks of downsizing, estate sales, home staging, real estate sales and content moves to assist in transition and long term care of our nation’s elderly.  If you are a senior care community, an assisted living community, nursing home or local civic organization seeking insights into the transition process of caring for your elderly loved one from their homes of many years into a senior community than Personal Property Managers is available for free speaking and education seminars.

Many older people strive to stay in their home as long as possible. For some, a few alterations, such as ramps, lever handles and hand rails can create a safer and more manageable environment.

For others, staying in their home is no longer an option. It can be daunting and even overwhelming for seniors considering downsizing. “What to do with all this stuff”? “How do I prepare my house for sale”? “What is my home worth”? How can I move some of my contents from my home into a senior care community”? These are just a few of the things that Nick and Joe Santoro can help with during their seminars and question and answer sessions.

Personal Property Managers also works with elder care attorneys to handle questions dealing with topics such as Powers of Attorney, Estate Planning, Elder Care Law, Wills, Trusts and Medicaid to offer a complete picture of elder care coverage and assistance.

Please contact Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro, a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist and elder care transition specialist at Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909 via www.personalpropertymanagers.com to book free seminars or speaking engagements. 

What is …Skilled Nursing – for elderly loved ones

What is Skilled Nursing? By Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro, co-founders of Personal Property Managers.

As a whole, in the US,  we remain healthier longer and most of us will never need to reside in a skilled nursing facility. However, skilled nursing facilities provide short-term, subacute care and long-term skilled nursing care for those who need help attaining or maintaining their highest physical, social, and emotional well-being.

This is part of a series of useful articles and posts by Personal Property Managers. We help transition elderly loved ones from their home of many years into senior care communities via our one-stop downsizing, estate sale, full service real estate and move in services. We are often asked about various senior care options. In this blog posting we will share with you information on Skilled Nursing for your elderly loved one.

Choosing a skilled nursing facility for your loved one is an emotionally challenging time. For most of us, as we grow older, we recognize the need to plan for the future but we often neglect to prepare for the possible need for skilled nursing, especially for an elderly loved one. Remember to consider that this plan is your personal family plan and not someone else’s.

Do I need a skilled nursing facility? Are there other options?

Skilled nursing facilities provide both short and long-term nursing and rehabilitative care. Individuals who require skilled nursing usually have difficulty completing daily activities independently such as taking medications, walking, completing grooming tasks like brushing their hair and teeth, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet.

Skilled nursing facilities can be a place for someone who needs brief rehabilitation; it is no longer true that a skilled nursing facility placement is “forever.” Hospitals tend to discharge people sooner than they have in the past. Often a brief stay in a skilled nursing facility allows an individual to recuperate prior to returning to her/his previous lifestyle. Whether choosing a skilled nursing facility for a short-term or long-term stay, the first step is to have a physician evaluate your needs. The physician will determine the services you will need and make a recommendation for the length of your stay.

It is important to remember that skilled nursing facilities provide a high level of supervision and resident interaction. Some medical conditions require this intense type of monitoring. However, not all medical conditions require this skilled level of care. Some individuals can benefit from less stringent monitoring and assistance. Options for this type of care can vary widely including personal care homes, assisted living, boarding homes, and continuous care retirement communities (commonly referred to as CCRC’s).

Selecting a skilled nursing facility

It is often best to research as many skilled nursing facilities as possible prior to making your selection. It is important to determine whether the skilled nursing facility accepts insurance coverage, Medicare, Medical Assistance, or is private pay. It is important to consider whether a skilled nursing facility will be able to continue providing service if you run out of financial resources necessary for private pay placements. You may wish to discuss this with a financial advisor familiar with long-term care issues.

Consider whether the skilled nursing facility offers services in-house such as physical and occupational therapies, counseling, activities and recreation, pharmacy, podiatry, specialized medicine, etc. Research which hospitals are nearby and with whom the skilled nursing facility has transfer agreements. Again, it is important to ask what services will be covered by insurance and what is paid for privately. For instance, television cable services, hairdressing, and telephone service charges often vary widely.

Use a checklist when selecting a skilled nursing facility.

It is time to visit the skilled nursing facilities that you are interested in. Most facilities have admissions workers who will be happy to schedule a tour for you. Be sure that you are also welcome to drop in after your tour to review your first impressions. It is often helpful to visit in early evening so that you can observe the care-giving activities on both daylight and evening shifts. Checklists are a recommended way of recording your observations when you visit a skilled nursing facility. The following are suggestions for items that you may wish to include on your checklist.

  • Will you have to move to a different part of the facility based on your financial resources?
  • Is there a waiting list?
  • Does the facility have a license?
  • Is there a licensed skilled nursing facility administrator?
  • When you enter the skilled nursing facility, what is your first impression?
  • Is it a warm and inviting environment?
  • Is it odor free?
  • Is the temperature comfortable?
  • Is it clean?
  • Is it quiet?
  • Do staff and residents appear to interact with ease?
  • Are there regular staff or does the facility depend on Agency or contracted employees?
  • Are there special care units designed to meet specific resident needs such as Alzheimer’s/Dementia Units, Ventilator Units, etc.
  • Is there sufficient staff on evenings and weekends?
  • Are requests for assistance by residents/families responded to in a timely manner? For example, how long does it take staff to answer a call bell or light?
  • Are care planning meetings held at times that are convenient for residents and family members? Are the meeting times flexible?
  • Are meals attractive, nutritious, and varied?
  • Does the facility have a dietary/nutrition specialist who monitors the menus?
  • Is the facility able to provide specialized or therapeutic diets when necessary?
  • Do residents routinely have input into the menu selections?
  • Is cold food cold and hot food hot?
  • Are dining rooms attractive and conducive to eating?
  • Is assistance offered to residents as needed?
  • Are fluids readily available to residents in the dining areas, common areas, and in their rooms?
  • Are resident’s weights monitored regularly?
  • Are snacks available at all times even when the kitchen is not open?
  • Does the facility appear to be safe and hazard free?
  • Are carts routinely stored in hallways/corridors where residents must walk?
  • Is carpet or tile in good repair to prevent tripping hazards?
  • Are walking areas well lit without shine or glare?
  • Are there wander protection devices in areas where confused residents reside or visit?
  • Are exits clearly marked and visible to residents and visitors?
  • Are spills cleaned up quickly and thoroughly?
  • Are handrails stable, clean and hazard free?
  • Are handrails available everywhere that residents go without interruption?
  • Do you notice any residents in physical restraints (devices that prevent the resident from moving freely) that seem inappropriate?
  • Are there smoke detectors and fire escape plans?
  • Are there regular fire drills?

 

All of the time you spend in the planning process will make moving to a skilled nursing facility a decision in which you feel confident.

For more information, please contact Joe Santoro or Nick Santoro and visit our website  at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  We service Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all. 

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Personal Care – for elderly loved ones

What is it? By Joe Santoro & Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers.

Personal care is defined as a special combination of housing, support services, personal care and health care designed to meet the individual needs of your loved one. It emphasizes personal dignity, autonomy, independence and privacy in the least restrictive environment. Personal care allows those who can no longer remain in their own home—but aren’t in need of a nursing home—a lifestyle that promotes dignity, independence and self-esteem.

We help transition elderly loved ones from their home of many years into senior care communities via our one-stop downsizing, estate sale, full service real estate and move in services. We are often asked about various senior care options. In this blog posting we will share with you information on Personal Care for your elderly loved one.

As with all retirement decisions, it is important to research a personal care facility before you make your choice. The most important thing you can do is make a personal visit. If you are helping a loved one make this decision, it is important that you make this visit together. In addition, word of mouth recommendations, promotional literature and inspection reports can help you with your plans. After meeting with the director of admissions, you may find it helpful to talk to family members, friends of people who live in the facility and employees.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions:

  • Are residents required to sign an agreement or lease?
  • Is there an entrance fee?
  • Does insurance cover any part of my care in personal care?
  • What size are the accommodations?
  • Will my loved one have to share my apartment?
  • What kind of storage is provided?
  • What kind of security is provided?
  • Does the facility have the state mandated number of staff?
  • Does the facility provide the special services that your loved one may need?
  • Are there additional charges for these special services?
  • Are medical services provided?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Is the quality of life good, with a homelike environment, good meals and interesting activities?
  • Is staff friendly, considerate and helpful?

By planning ahead and educating yourself and your family, your transition to personal care will be easier because it will be your choice!

For more information, please contact Joe Santoro or Nick Santoro and visit our website  at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  We service Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all. 

Semper Fi to US Troops and their Families

I was deeply saddened to learn this week that Fallujah and Ramadi, two major center in the Anbar province of Iraq, sites of the bloodiest battles of the war for freedom, fell back into the hands of terrorists backed by al-Qaeda.   

Of the over 4,500 US troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq, over a third gave their lives in the Anbar province.  

The cost of the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be over $2.0 trillion, with over 6,800 deaths and over 52,000 wounded US troops.

I ask that you keep in your prayers our fallen hero’s and the families of the fallen. My own son, Marine Sgt. Nick Santoro of Bucks County, Pennsylvania fought in both of these battles and was wounded in combat there. I am in awe of the men and woman who fought for us and struggle daily with their wounds seen and unseen.  I hope that in the future, the US government and governments around the world think deeply before committing America’s finest men and woman to war and think about the end game. We can certainly win any war, but much better plans need to be put into place to win the peace.

Semper Fi to all US Troops and their Families

Joe Santoro

Proud Marine Parent

Senior Citizen – Living alone in cold weather

It’s January 4th, the coldest day in nearly 5 years. Do you know an elderly loved one who may be living alone? 

Caring for the elderly is a challenge and often times a heart breaking thing to endure. But, think of how lonely they are. Have you checked on them recently, or stopped by to say hello or given them some comfort?

The cold weather is especially challenging for the elderly. Bring some soup and bring some cheer. 

If your elderly loved one can no longer live alone then we can help. We are Personal Property Managers and can be found on the web at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com  We provide total transition services for the elderly via our downsizing, home content clean out and estate sale services, full Real Estate services and moving services. All deisgned to make life just a little easier for the elderly in transition or their care givers.

For more information, please contact Joe Santoro and Nick Santoro, co-founders of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com