Monthly Archives: February 2016

Downsizing – Room by Room – Tips

Home Downsizing Tips – Room by Room

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 of moving or cleaning out a home after a loss of a loved one.. Here are some examples of how many of the usual items often found in each room. This is part of a continuing series of helpful articles from Joe Santoro and Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers to assist you in downsizing or moving from your home. Personal Property Managers services New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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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• Recycle: Dirty, discolored, rusty cooking pots/pans, worn utensils, out-of-date and non-functioning small appliances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 real estate 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 home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories

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Top 7 Tips to Stage and Sell your Home

7 Steps to Staging and Selling your Home

Are you getting ready to sell your home? Are you fully prepared? Do you want to move your property fast – and for the highest selling price possible? Well…you can with these 7 tips from Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ). These easy, affordable staging tricks will help you sell your home and make your home attractive to the largest pool of potential buyers.

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While the term has become more common over the past few years, home staging still remains a confusing concept for many people. What is it exactly, and how can it help with selling a home? When you sell your home, you want to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. This will help you get the best possible price, with the least amount of time on the market.

Home staging is how you get your home ready for sale so that it appeals to a large number of people. Most buyers are not able to envision a home’s true potential; as sellers or caregivers of elderly loved ones who want to or need to sell their home, we must create this vision for our buyers. Try to think of your house as a product for sale, and look at it objectively. It is now a “house” and not a home.

Staging accentuates the positive aspects of your home, and eliminates or downplays the negative features. Your beautifully staged home is only seven simple steps away.

1. Evaluate..take a good look at your home for the first time:
You need to tour your own home as if you were the buyer. We often become so used to our homes that we don’t notice the imperfections anymore. During your tour, take some notes, create and complete checklists of things to look for, and take pictures. These will help you pinpoint areas that need repair or improvement. Often you will see things in pictures that you didn’t notice while actually in the space. Another option is to ask for an objective opinion from friends, family members, or your real estate agent.

2. De-Clutter…keep it neat and simple:
This is the simplest and least expensive step, but is the one most frequently overlooked. Buyers don’t want to have the impression that they are buying your clutter and your mess. They want to envision their stuff in your clean and de-cluttered home. In reality, only 10% of buyers can see the potential of a home.

3. Keep your Home Clean:
Once all the clutter is removed, give the house a thorough cleaning. If you absolutely hate cleaning, hire a professional cleaning service. Nothing turns buyers off more than someone else’s dirt.

4. Repair & Update…if it’s broke…fix it:
In the first step, evaluate and take a fresh look, you were asked to take notes on areas that might need updating or repair. If you don’t complete the repairs buyers will wonder what else is wrong with the home. They fear that you didn’t take good care of the home and that there may be deferred maintenance.
There are many simple updates you can do. Most are minor projects, such as replacing outdated cabinet knobs. This is not the time to take on major renovations.

5. Neutralize…simplify and keep it clean:
You want buyers to be able to envision themselves living in the home. If your home looks too personal (such as family pictures everywhere….), buyers feel like they are intruding and won’t allow themselves to make an emotional connection with the home. Most of us buy with emotion and then justify with reason. If your home is too specific in taste or style it will not appeal to a wide range of buyers, no matter how beautiful it is.

6. Keep it Bright and Tidy….Accessorize:
Homes need to be clean, bright, airy, and spacious. Traffic should flow easily through and between the rooms. The furniture arrangement needs to make sense. Create a flow that draws your eye to the focal point of each room.

Accessorizing can be compared to putting on jewelry when getting dressed for a special dinner or party; it’s the little touches that have a big impact. Keep it simple, such as a vase of fresh flowers on the entry table.

7. Price & List
It is important to get the house in front of as many buyers as possible. The first ten days a home is on the market are the most critical because this is when excitement is the highest. Do your research and make sure you are setting the correct price. The number one reason a property doesn’t sell is because it is overpriced. Once a home is listed too high, the damage can’t be undone, even if the price is later dropped.

In addition to pricing a home correctly for a potential buyer, it is very important to consider that the vast majority of buyers will need bank financing / mortgage. Banks will look at comps when evaluating your potential purchase. So, even if you have a meeting of the mind between buyer and seller, the buyer’s bank or Mortgage Company may not approve the loan if it is priced well above market comps.

These seven steps will give you the best chance of selling success. One of the most compelling statistics on home staging is that the cost of staging is almost always less than the amount of the first price reduction. And how many times have you seen homes get not one, but multiple price reductions? Staging really does sell homes.

For more information on real estate 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 home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories

Downsizing? What to do with your stuff

Insights into what to do with your home contents when you are downsize and move

If you are downsizing or helping a loved onTeam - small sizee who has lived in their home for many years to transition, move, relocate or settling an estate, then you know how overwhelming this process can be. It can be extremely emotional. It can be physically demanding. It can be very time consuming. That’s just the start of it. Now the next challenge in downsizing is what to do with all of your home content? If you are moving from a larger home into a smaller more efficient home, then you will be faced with where do you put all your old stuff in your new setting? Naturally, you can’t physically put 40 years of your life’s possessions, complete with stuffed attics, basements, garages, and multiple bedrooms into a smaller home, active adult community, condo or senior care community. So now what? You may ask yourself questions like, can I sell my things? What are they worth? Will anyone want them? Will my grandchildren want anything?

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into helping you with your home and downsizing by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in providing a one-stop solution for your full service real estate needs, marketing, home downsizing, content clean-out and removal and estate sales. We services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Did you know that downsizing and moving ranks as one of life’s most difficult events, along with loss of a spouse, divorce and job change?

When your needs change, your home may need to change with them.

Homeowners are constantly living through change. From empty nesters who just don’t need their large home anymore, to seniors moving into retirement facilities; downsizing can be a new and often overwhelming and humbling reality.

Nick Santoro says that….“Most of our clients are adult children in their 60’s who are working with elderly loved ones who are in their 80’s; who are downsizing from a big home where they raised their kids, into a condo, a senior care community, or moving in with a relative.” Nick points out that, “… we are often downsizing a family with a home from over 3,000 or more square feet to between 400 to 700 square feet, so a lot has to go.”

Joe Santoro, co-founder of Personal Property Managers says that the first place to start is the space you have in your new place. Joe encourages people to think about their current lifestyle, and in that respect, some items that have been accumulated will naturally eliminate themselves, based on usage or lack thereof.

Santoro points out that many downsizers choose not to keep a formal dining room set anymore; there’s just not enough room in the new space, so the big dining room table and hutch are often among the first big items to go.

Nick says, “the next step is deciding if any family members might want a dining room set or other household contents you no longer want and can no longer fit in your new home. If family doesn’t want it, you may be able to sell it.” However, Joe Santoro points out that the market is flooded with items like older more formal dining room sets, pool tables and pianos, so you won’t get as much value as when it was initially purchased. Joe points out that the style today is what is described as contemporary / transition furniture. It’s well made but less formal and much smaller in size. Personal Property Managers assists clients in helping them liquidate their home contents, to clean out their homes, sell their home / property at the best price and even move residents. This is accomplished through hosting an estate sale if the contents warrant it, or helping to liquidate it though its vast array of resources. It some cases, items may be donated. Personal Property Managers is a service disabled Veteran owned business, so it’s priorities are working with Veterans in need or veteran groups. Of course, some items must be disposed of.

Joe points out that people often make the mistake of thinking a charity is going to clean out their house for nothing and just take everything the owners no longer want. This is far from reality.

When it comes to selling items, Joe Santoro points out that people often have an over inflated opinion of the value of their contents. Just because you paid $2,000 for a sofa and love seat 10 years ago, you should be prepared to accept less than 10% of that today, and that depends upon its condition. Rips, tears, pet odors or smoking odors will totally eliminate any potential for items to be sold. Joe often starts off by asking people, “how much would you pay for a 12 year old couch?” Often the answer is “I wouldn’t.” Joe, points out that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it at a given point in time.

Lastly, on this subject, Joe and Nick Santoro are often asked about moving items to storage units. While this is strictly a personal decision of the clients, often driven by emotion, the Santoro’s point out that the cost of a storage unit, kept over time, is often more costly than the actual contents are worth.

At Personal Property Managers, we understand the emotional toll downsizing and moving can take on our clients and their families. If you are moving from your home of many years into a senior care community or just relocating, our goal is to help you transition seamlessly to this exciting new chapter in life.

Nick Santoro says that of the many challenges of moving, downsizing is the most difficult. Nick says the reason for this is that you have to make decisions about every personal possession in your home. Personal Property Managers is at your side helping you every step of the way.

Santoro suggests viewing downsizing as a process. We suggest that you start with small goals, and plan on sorting for just a few hours at a time.

  • Sorting through the easiest and obvious first. Choose a room where what needs to go or stay is the most obvious – like your bedroom or a room that’s rarely used.
  • Using colored stickers, labels or Post-It notes to identify where items will go. More efficient than writing out a list, movers and family members can use the stickers as guidance on moving day.
  • Assessing practicality and sentimentality. Items that are both practical and sentimental should move with you. Items that are neither should be left for family, sale or charity.
  • Eliminating duplicate items or items that are the wrong size. Chances are, you only need three sets of towels, not six. If clothing doesn’t fit, don’t bring it with you.

Before the move, Santoro recommends creating a floor plan and determining the practicality of existing furniture. Nick says, “Don’t go out and buy new furniture. Instead, be open to using furniture in new ways.”

For more information on real estate 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 home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, and discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty.

Moving? Downsizing? Top 4 Tips

How to begin downsizing your home – 4 quick tips

The vast majority of the clients who contact us are simply overwhelmed trying to tackle downsizing their home or the home of a loved one. It is physically and mentally draining. Often it entails going through possessions that have been in the house for 40 plus years. Where do you begin?.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into help you you’re your home by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in real estate sales and marketing, home downsizing, content clean out and removal and estate sales, and services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Moving from your home of 20, 30 or 40 years is a daunting task. Often our client tell us it’s an …oh my gosh moment….where do I begin?.

Did you know that downsizing and moving ranks as one of life’s most difficult events, along with loss of a spouse, divorce and job change. People feel overwhelmed, and wonder; where do they even start?’
At Personal Property Managers, we understand the emotional toll downsizing and moving can take on our clients and their families. If you are moving from your home of many years into a senior care community or just relocating, our goal is to help you transition seamlessly to this exciting new chapter in life.

Nick Santoro says that of the many challenges of moving, downsizing is the most difficult. Nick says the reason for this is that you have to make decisions about every personal possession in your home. Personal Property Managers is at your side helping you every step of the way.

Santoro suggests viewing downsizing as a process. We suggest that you start with small goals, and plan on sorting for just a few hours at a time.

  1. Sorting through the easiest and obvious first. Choose a room where what needs to go or stay is the most obvious – like your bedroom or a room that’s rarely used.
  2. Using colored stickers, labels or Post-It notes to identify where items will go. More efficient than writing out a list, movers and family members can use the stickers as guidance on moving day.
  3. Assessing practicality and sentimentality. Items that are both practical and sentimental should move with you. Items that are neither should be left for family, sale or charity.
  4. Eliminating duplicate items or items that are the wrong size. Chances are, you only need three sets of towels, not six. If clothing doesn’t fit, don’t bring it with you.

Before the move, Santoro recommends creating a floor plan and determining the practicality of existing furniture. Nick says, “Don’t go out and buy new furniture. Instead, be open to using furniture in new ways.”

Taking measurements of available space is also important. Virginia, a recent client said, “We had large paintings that we really loved, but didn’t think we could bring with us. Nick had our floor plan and measurements and said, ‘Oh, yes we can. I know just where those paintings can go!’”

“It’s the sentimental items that make a house a home,” Nick reminds our clients. “Those are just as important as packing up your sensible shoes and kitchenware.”

For more information on real estate 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 home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News StoriesTeam - small size