Monthly Archives: February 2014

Aging Parents and Adult Children – a Role Reversal that needs looking into

Time for a role reversal – when adult children need to step up and become the caregiver of their elderly parents

If you are the son, daughter or caregiver of an aging parent or elderly loved one life can be very challenging and very frustrating. We often cannot understand why our parents cannot understand or remember things or why their tidy home is now more and more cluttered with stuff. This can lead to frustration, anger and resentment, not to mention be outright dangerous to your aging loved one.

This is a sensitive topic that needs to be talked about. It seems quite common for our elderly loved ones to live many years beyond expectations of just a few years ago. Today it is quite common for our loved ones to live well into their 90’s. 

This is part of a continuing series of articles and insights by Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, senior real estate and senior transition specialist servicing Pennsylvania and New Jersey ( ). 

Are you prepared for a role reversal where the child becomes the adult and the adult needs more and more direct care? Are you the adult child of an elderly parent or loved one? Have you been by to see how your folks are living? If not, it’s probably time to pay a thorough visit because ultimately, their home environment and everything in it and around it will be your concern–in a big way.

Are you absolutely your aging loved ones home safe? Can your parent negotiate through their house without the risk of falling over stuff accumulated over the years? When you walk into their home do you feel “squeezed” for space? Is every possible surface, including the floor, covered with their stuff? Do you have to step around things to get from one room to another? Is there too much furniture? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to clear the clutter and look after your aging loved ones physical safety.

Besides general clutter and excess in their home, have you bothered to check the food pantry or refrigerator/freezer contents lately? Many of the seniors we work with have homes that are completely filled with stuff from by gone years.  In addition, have you looked into the refrigerator? Are they eating expired foods; do they even know to look for expiration dates of foods that can make them gravely ill?. Just a quick heads up….when you begin sorting through their cabinets, freezer and refrigerator, sorting through the good from the bad? In fact, prepare yourself for a possible challenge regarding the disposal of expired food items. Remember, in many cases, your elderly loved ones lived through the Depression, so throwing out anything is hard for most of them.

Another huge issue when going through your elderly loved ones home is its overall and general cleanliness, or lack thereof. Have you checked to see if your parents are living in a filthy or less than clean environment? Who’s cleaning for them if they’re not able? We’re seeing more and more really nasty living conditions from the kitchen to the bathroom.

What about the medicine cabinet? Have you looked through it recently if at all? If you see expired medications or medications that are no longer taken, get rid of them.

What about hoarding?  Look around. What do you see? We can tell you that we’re experiencing an increase in clients with just too much stuff…everywhere. This is where adult children need to step it up, and get involved and take control of this situation. Even if your elderly loved ones have a desire, many hoarding seniors are unable to admit their problem or simply have no idea how to begin paring down their stuff. It’s time to have a sit-down with mom and dad and begin the process of eliminating the excess in their homes, if for nothing else other than their own safety to simply be able to move about without tripping over something.

In addition, please think about what you say and how you say it. The difference here is how you say it. Don’t sound critical or angry; say it gently and with a friendly smile.
The most important thing is that as our parents or elderly loved ones age that we go out of our way to maintain good relationships and look after them. In many cases, for adult children this is a complete role reversal.

For more insights into working with seniors in transition, or downsizing services, content liquidation, full service real estate service or moving services, please contact Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909 servicing New Jersey and Pennsylvania 

11 Tips to Home Selling Success

Selling your home? 11 Tips to Achieve Success.

The real estate market has changed. We have weather the troubled times over the past 6 years. The market has settled and in many cases home values are on the rise. Here are a few tips to think about when listing and selling your home.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and insights by Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, to help you with your real estate, downsizing, and senior transition service needs. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

1. Pictures. Pictures. Pictures. 92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online. In real estate, compelling means pictures! A study by several online real estate services shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.

2. Video.  In today’s market, while pictures are great, video’s are even better. Have you looked at YouTube recently? Consider posting a video online to highlight your home.

3. Social Media. Facebook is the great connector of people these days. If you have 200 friends and they each have 200 friends, imagine the power of that network in getting the word out about your house!

4. Beat the competition with the condition of your home. In many markets the way you can compete is on condition. Make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired before you start showing your home.

5. Stage the exterior of your home too. Stage the exterior with fresh paint, immaculate landscaping and even outdoor furniture to set up a Sunday brunch on the deck vignette. Buyers often fantasize about enjoying their backyards by entertaining and spending time outside.

6. Access is essential. Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.

7. The price must be right. Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they often know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers.

8. Get clued into your competition. Work with your broker or agent to get educated about the price, type of sale and condition of the other homes your home is up against. Attend some open houses in your area and do a real estate reality check: know that buyers that see your home will see those homes, too – make sure the real-time comparison will come out in your home’s favor by ensuring the condition of your home is up to par.

9. De-personalize. Do this – pretend you’re moving out. Take all the things that make your home “your” personal sanctuary (e.g., family photos, religious décor and kitschy memorabilia), pack them up and put them in storage. Buyers want to visualize your house being their house – and it’s difficult for them to do that with all your personal items marking the territory as yours.

10. De-clutter. Pack up all your little nick-knacks, anything that is sitting on top of a countertop, table or other flat surfaces. Anything that you haven’t used in at least a year? That goes, too. Give away what you can, throw away as much as possible of what remains, and then pack the rest to get it ready to move.

11. Listen to your agent. If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.

For more information, please contact Nick or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909

Selling your home? Why are Real Estate comps important?

The importance of recent comps in any real estate transaction – by Joe Santoro, of Personal Property Managers.

2014 is shaping up to be a very strong year in the turnaround of the real estate market.

One of the key components to any real estate transaction is a home appraisal. It is extremely important and most folks do not understand it. Did you know that even if both sides; the buyer and the seller agree to a sale price, the deal can potentially unravel if the home appraisal comes in below the contracted selling price?

This insight and others pertaining to senior transition, downsizing, tips on maximizing your home value, and other elder care options are presented to you by Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, your one call does it all solution…serving Pennsylvania and New jersey.

How can a home sale unravel when both the buyer and seller agree to a selling and purchase price? Itss because most buyers will need some form of bank financing. Most lenders today will end up to a specified percentage of a home’s appraised value. If for example, the home appraised value is less than the selling price, the bank or lending institution will reject the loan, thus terminating the deal. So if you wish to purchase a home for $400,000 and the seller agrees, and then the bank appraisal comes in at let’s say $365,000, the bank will deny the financing. When this scenario occurs, the seller may not want to drop the price of the home. The buyer may not have the available cash to make up the difference or may not be willing to pay more than a home’s appraised value. As a result, the transaction could fall apart. Real Estate experts say it’s important for all parties involved to understand the reasons for low appraisals and the options available.

One of the reasons we are seeing low appraisals today stems from the fact that due to current market conditions, available housing inventory has decreased and sellers are able to get a bit more for their home. Unfortunately, many of the comps (comparables) that appraisers currently are using do not support these increased home prices. It all goes back to pricing a home correctly and positioning a property in line with the neighborhood.  For example of other comparable homes within a neighborhood or surrounding area are selling for $325,000 and the seller lists a home for $375,000 and is offered say $350,000, there’s a chance the home will not appraise because comparable homes have sold at much lower prices.

There is a difference between appraised value and current market value. The appraiser’s job is to look at comps and try to find something that closed or settled as recently as possible. In some cases the appraiser is looking at properties that closed 6 to 12 months ago.  In many ways that was a different real estate market. Today we are dealing with low inventory, a better economy and even pent up demand for housing.

A disconnect between appraised value and desired selling prices can occur when a lack of recent comps is available and an appraiser is looking at home that sold many months ago, thus effecting its price.

In addition, did you know that a neighborhoods recent foreclosures and short sales, which often times sell for far less than market prices count as valid comps and can impact a appraisers evaluation of a house?

Most appraisers welcome input and examples of recent comps from seller agents. It’s just another perspective for them to consider.

An agent’s involvement and perspective is particularly valuable if an appraiser is not familiar with the market area in question.

So, what should a buyer do when an appraisal situation arises that could negatively impact a real estate deal? Do not assume that all is lost…at least not immediately. Working with an experienced real estate professional who knows the market can be particularly helpful when dealing with a low appraisal.

If an appraisal comes in low, the choices usually are: the buyer comes up with more of a down payment, the seller lowers the price of the house or the two parties agree to meet somewhere in the middle. When faced with a low appraisal it almost always becomes a re-negotiation situation. Usually it all comes down to a buyer and seller motivation, and what each party is willing to do in order to make the deal happen. Understand that every situation is different and must be examined on a case by case basis.

For more information on real estate transactions please contact Joe Santoro, a senior real estate specialist, with Every Home Realty servicing New Jersey and Pennsylvania or visit Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909