Tag Archives: downsizing service

How to begin Downsizing your Home

How to Begin Downsizing Your Home

4 Quick Tips

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Home Staging Tips PA NJThe 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 helping you move forward and sell your home and clean out your contents by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. 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? This is where we can help you.

Did you know that downsizing and moving ranks as one of lifes 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 does not fit, do not bring it with you.

Before the move, Santoro recommends creating a floor plan and determining the practicality of existing furniture. Nick says, do not 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 did not 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 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.

Thinking of Downsizing?

Home Downsizing Tips – Room by Room

Don’t be overwhelmed with moving or cleaning out a home.

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJMany 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.

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 215-485-9272 or908-368-1909. 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.

Top 7 tips to help you sell your home

Top seven tips and insights to help you successfully sell your home by Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. Click here to view.

Joean NickNov2011

Top 6 insights as to why your home is not selling

Top 6 Reasons why your home is not selling

Nothing’s more frustrating for a seller than having your home sit on the market. And sit… and sit… and sit some more. Maybe buyers are touring your house, but not making offers. Or maybe buyers aren’t visiting your home at all. Either way, you’re starting to feel rejected. Often, the reason a home sits on the market for longer than expected boils down to a few easy-to-fix issues. Here are six of the big reasons your home may not be selling.

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.

1. You’ve priced your home too high.
No matter what you feel your home should be worth, the truth is it’s only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Get a feel for what the comps — or comparable homes in your area — are going for and listen to buyer feedback. If people are consistently telling you the price is an issue, it’s time to pay attention. Trust your real estate agent to inform you about a fair price for the current market, and if you’re truly dead-set on getting your ideal asking price, take an honest look at whether you need to make upgrades to your home or wait for a market uptick.

2. No one knows your home is for sale.
Simply sticking a “for sale” sign in the lawn won’t cut it. Today’s buyers do the majority of their home searching online, which means you need to get your home listed on major real estate sites and on the MLS, or the multiple listing service, used by realtors and brokers. You’ll also want to make sure your online listing includes plenty of high-quality, well-staged photos.

3. Your home has some major issues.
It could be a big issue (like a old and leaking roof), or it could be a small but obnoxious issue that buyers just can’t get past (like outdated carpeting or wall paper). Either way, the fact that your home isn’t selling means buyers are consistently finding something wrong with it. Ask potential buyers for feedback after you conduct showings; their answers may help clue you in to the problem. Some buyers are willing to accept a lower price or a closing credit for a home with a sticking-point issue, but others are turned off from the start and figure it’s not worth the hassle of fixing it themselves or trying to negotiate a concession.

4. Your home does not have curb appeal and just does not show well.
Make sure that when prospective buyers tour your home, there’s nothing stopping them from falling in love with it. Open those blinds and curtains to let the natural light in and put lamps in areas that are especially dim. Remove any bulky furniture that makes the rooms hard to navigate. Take care of those small items you’ve been putting off, like fixing sticky drawer pulls or that leaky faucet. Small updates like these could be turning off buyers.

5. Buyers can’t picture themselves living there.
The more you enable buyers to picture their own life in your house, the more likely they’ll be to make an offer. Clean and remove clutter and get rid of overly personal items like those family photos along the stairway and your kids’ artwork on the fridge. If your home is currently empty, near-empty, or your furnishings aren’t to most buyers’ tastes, you may want to consider hiring someone to professionally stage your rooms.

6. You’ve neglected the curb appeal.
More than one buyer has pulled up to a house whose listing they liked, taken one look at the exterior, and driven away. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your home is on the inside; if buyers aren’t willing to step in the door, then you’ve lost them.

A few simple fixes can make your curb appeal irresistible. Weed and mulch the flowerbeds, trim the hedges, clear the walkways, and repaint any flaking siding. Consider adding some “homey” touches like a wreath on the door or a bench on the porch. You don’t need to spend a ton on landscaping; just making the outside look presentable and welcoming can make all the difference.

For more information on real estate 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 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.

Top 3 Tips for Getting the most value when selling your home

3 Quick ways to help increase the value of your home

People are always asking us what’s the best way to increase the value and selling price of our home. We took a look at recent industry information, trends and returns on investments and came up with the top 3 things that you can do to quickly increase the value of your home.

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.

1. Refurbish the bathroom, not the kitchen
It has long been told that the best remodeling you could do was the kitchen. We found this to not be true. According to cost vs. value studies, we found it’s actually the bathroom remodel that adds the most value to a house.

According to recent studies, it makes the most logical sense to redo the bathroom because with a bathroom remodeled you are adding functionality to your home whereas kitchen upgrades are often more about fashion.
Recent remodeling studies show that a mid-range $3,000 bathroom remodel results in a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1.00 spend on renovation.

Plus when guest come to stay with you, they are going to be a lot happier that you have a nicer bathroom than kitchen. Did you know that kitchen renovations offer among the lowest returns on investment? Both mid range and upscale work on the kitchen recover only about half of their investment.

Invest wisely and don’t invest too much money in the bathroom. An upscale remodeled $12,000 bathroom result only in an $0.87 increase in home value for every $1.00 spent.

2. Selling season
Home sales reach their peak in June, during the last week of that month residential real estate transactions are 40% higher than average. But when is the right time to list your home?

The home season starts to crank up in January and February. But to get the most bang for your buck you might want to list your house during the last two weeks of March. There’s a sharp spike in visitors making contact with real estate agents beginning in mid-April and continuing into July.

Selling in the last weeks of March, before the peak in agent contacts and after the peak of newly listed homes in February puts your home in the sweet-spot where it’s likely to be seen quickly and not get lost within a flood of new listings.

3. Psychologically price your home
Ending your home price in a ‘9’ also is something powerful to consider. According to national real estate trade groups, if you were going to sell your house for $150,000, just pricing it down by $1,000 and selling it for $149,000 ends up in you making $2175 more than you would if you priced it at $150,000.

For more information on real estate 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 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 EveryHome Realty.

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 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 Every Home Realty to help sell homes.

How to pay for the long term care of elderly loved ones

How to pay for the long term care of elderly loved ones

Are you the caregiver of an elderly loved one? If so, there are important realities that you should know about long-term care. Long-term care is more expensive than most people think. It is often a topic that is avoided and never discussed. Most people are in denial. It just sort of creeps up; then one day it hits you like a ton of bricks. Did you know that the cost of care is usually paid for out of pocket and via ones savings, the sale of their home and income?

This is part of a continuing series of articles and tips into elder care and how to address topics such as downsizing, estate sale, content removal, home clean-out, property sale, moving and other real estate transition insights by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com). Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

Did you know that about 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to need some kind of long-term care as they age? A number of public programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, may help pay for some long-term care services under certain circumstances. However, each program has specific rules about what services are covered, how long you can receive benefits, whether or not you qualify for benefits, and how much you have to pay in out-of-pocket costs. The process can be overwhelming, because it is often combined during a stressful and emotional time.  

MEDICARE FOCUSES ON ACUTE CARE COSTS

Do not be fooled into thinking that Medicare will take care of everything. Medicare covers medically necessary care and focuses on medical acute care, such as doctor visits, drugs and hospital stays. If very specific conditions are met, Medicare will help pay for all or a portion of a short stay in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care or home health care.

Did you know that Medicare does not cover custodial long-term care services? These services  help people perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) that are non-medical, such as getting in and out of bed, walking, bathing, dressing, eating, and bowel and bladder management.

MEDICAID AVAILABILITY

What about Medicaid? What is it? Did you think that whatever Medicare did not cover that Medicaid would? Medicaid is a joint federal and state government program that helps people with low income and assets pay for some or all of their health care bills. It covers medical care, long-term care services in nursing homes and long-term care services provided at home. Rules about who is eligible for Medicaid benefits and what services are covered are based on federal requirements, but states have considerable leeway in how they operate their programs. Each state is totally different and may choose to cover long term care or not.

To be eligible for Medicaid, you must meet certain requirements, including having income and assets that do not exceed the levels used by your state. The Medicaid eligibility process considers the value of your home to make sure it is under the state set limit, your assets and your income. Documentation from your financial institutions and your portfolio are reviewed for qualification and a “look back” of five years will be required. Once your state determines you are financially eligible for Medicaid, the state will conduct a functional assessment to determine whether you are disabled enough to qualify for long-term care services. Your state Medicaid Assistance office is the best source for information about how to qualify for Medicaid in your state and if you qualify for long-term care services.

If you receive Medicaid coverage for long-term care services, federal law requires states to recover the amount Medicaid spent on your behalf from your estate after you die. Most states recover the cost of long-term care services.

PAYING OUT-OF-POCKET FOR CARE

If you have enough income and savings, you will need to pay for long-term care services on your own, from your incomes, savings and, possibly, the equity in your home. Many people believe wrongly the medical insurance or the disability insurance they currently have will pay for all or much of their long-term care. In general, health insurance covers only very limited and specific types of long-term care. Disability policies serve to replace income and, as such, but do not cover long-term care at all.

Long-term care insurance is designed to cover long-term services and supports. Insurance policies reimburse policyholders a daily amount (up to a pre-selected limit) for services to assist them with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing or eating. You can then select a range of care options and benefits that allow you to get the services you need, where you need them. If you are in poor health or already receiving long-term care services, you may not qualify for long-term care insurance.

For additional methods of paying for long-term care can be found at longtermcare.gov.

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  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 home sale services to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services.