Tag Archives: how to

Before you invest in Real Estate

Tips to think about before investing in real estate

Property Manager PA NJAre you thinking about investing in real estate? You will want to think carefully about what, where and for how much you want to buy, is now more important than ever. Investing in property is the single biggest financial transaction that you will ever conclude and should always be done with great care. There’s more to consider than you think. For starters, property is an active, rather than a passive investment and comes with financial risk.

Although, buying your own home should first and foremost be about securing your future and creating a foundation upon which to build a life and future for yourself and your family, you should also make sure that you are a making a sound investment.
This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services.
Before you begin….Do your homework (top 8 tips)

Whether it is your primary home or a second property such as a rental you should always do your homework thoroughly to mitigate potential risk.

Consider the downside right upfront. When the market turns for example, you might find yourself in a tight financial spot and you have to sell. Think about this when you buy: how hard will it be to sell the property if it comes down to it?

Consider whether you have the time and financial means for this type of investment. If you are purely looking for an investment, then a property fund might be the better choice, especially if you are a novice or first time buyer.

Once you have decided that you are going to take the step and invest in bricks and mortar, be sure to keep these 8 golden rules in mind:

1. Location, location, location – this old adage will always be the primary driver of demand, prices and property values. Research, research, research. Before you sign on the dotted line, chat to local area agents and get the vital statistics and information about the area.

2. Pay a fair price – do not pay more than fair market value unless you are sure that you are financially secure enough to hold onto the property until it starts to accumulate value. Price growth tends to track economic growth quite closely, so if the economy stalls, so do prices.

3. Neighborhood – do a thorough due diligence on the neighborhood and area, especially if you are not familiar with it. Make sure that it is a viable area, more so if you are looking at a second or investment property. Ensure there are good services, roads and communications connectivity for aspects such as internet and satellite television for example

4. Street savvy – don’t stop with the neighborhood, also check out the street (or complex) to ensure you are buying in the right part of the suburb. Be sure to check out the prices in your road (or complex) to compare that you are not paying more. Guard against paying a high price for an overcapitalized home.

5. Facilities and amenities – the better the facilities and amenities in the area, the more in demand the property is likely to be when it comes to either selling or renting it out. A good transport network is important, as are schools and then secondary facilities such as shops and other services.

6. Security – this has become an important consideration for neighborhoods and complexes. The more secure the property and area, the more attractive it is for buyers and tenants. Check out whether there is a neighborhood watch or similar group and ensure that the property itself is adequately secured and insured.

7. Capital value growth and yields – you obviously want to invest in an area where property values grow at least in line with the market average, preferably at an above average rate. If you are investing in a rental, then you will want to check out the rental returns in the area as it is important to budget for any shortfalls. Ensure also that you build fat into your budget for all the hidden costs associated with a rental property.

8. Leisure and attractions – if you are thinking about investing in a holiday rental, then leisure facilities and attractions are important. The closer the property is situated to attractions such as the beach, river or game reserve for example, the more in demand it will be. Consider who your tenants will be and put yourself in their shoes. Where do they want to stay when they book for a holiday for example?

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

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How to Flip Houses

Top 5 tips – how to flip houses

 Property Manager PA NJAre you considering investing in real estate? Are you interested in buying an investment property, fixing it up and selling it, often called flipping a property? House flipping in the real estate sector refers to where you invest in a property with the objective of making a nice profit on it, often in a relatively short period of time. 

The golden rule with making money on property is always to buy low and sell high, but there are risk factors that must be considered. Especially if you are a novice investor or renovator, you need to really do your homework and then some. Your ‘flip’ can quite easily turn into a ‘flop’ and a significant financial loss says Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers.

This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, property management and estate sales.

We suggest that home buyers, should buy with the view to creating security for themselves and their families. Real Estate does present the opportunity to not just grow your personal wealth, but make some nice profits, if you approach it in a careful way.

Some of the popular types of property that house-flippers tend to look for are fixer-uppers and quick sale or distressed properties.

Older, up and coming neighborhoods also tend to be good areas to consider if you want to profit from the property flipping trend. This means that buyers are able to invest in older properties, upgrade these and sell them for a profit.

If you are thinking about getting into the house-flipping trend and want to make it a profitable venture, then consider these 5 top tips:
1. Buy smart
Always do your homework and ensure you buy smart. Investing in property is a costly exercise, especially if your finances are tight. Even if you are flush with cash, you would still want to exercise caution and ensure you understand the area and market that you are investing in. Be sure that there is a demand for the type of upgrades or renovations that you are planning as it does not pay to overcapitalize.

2. Understand the market
It is important to have a good understanding of whether there is a demand for the type of remodeling or upgrading that you are planning. While a smart investor will create the need for his/her property, you are often unfortunately guided by what buyers want and what they are prepared to pay. This means that you need to research the area and market thoroughly and ensure that your plans, asking price and profit expectation match the current market.

3. Start with the end price in mind
Always start with the end price that you may be able to sell your property for in mind. That is, the price right now that you could get in the market given the economic and market cycle. Also be sure to price in line with what the market will pay. Often, investors will overspend on the upgrade of their investment property and then price it at the top end of the market. Top end buyers tend to be few and far between and can be quite discerning and will not pay an inflated price regardless of how fabulous the upgrades are.

4. Renovation costs
Most renovators will tell you that it is almost inevitable that your planned renovations or upgrades will turn out to cost more than initially anticipated. Nonetheless, there are many examples of well-budgeted and planned renovations that have turned older homes and complexes into trendy spaces that have not only attracted buyers, but contributed to upgrading the area.

5. Economic climate and property cycle
Generally, house flipping relies on a strong property market because you would want to get a good price and for this, you need willing buyers and some competition. The economy and property market are cyclical in nature and heavily sentiment driven. This is something that we see right now.

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

How to Financially plan for your aging Parents

How to Financially plan for your aging Parents

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJHow to be financially prepared when your parent needs long term care

Are you the caregiver of a senior loved one? Have you ever wondered how expensive the cost of long-term senior care is for your elderly loved? Do you have any idea how much the average cost is for a nursing home or an assisted living community or the cost of in-home care services?

What about financially preparing for the care of an elderly loved one. How about documents? Do you even know what documents you will need when the time comes? Do you know what sources of income your elderly loved ones have?

This is part of a continuing series of article and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. 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’d like to share with you some recent information conducted by Genworth Financial about the cost of caring for our seniors. We think this will not only be informative but a real eye opener.

This year’s annual cost-of-care survey shows that the national, median annual cost for care in an assisted-living facility is about $42,000.

The average cost of an assisted-living facility nationwide has increased 4.29% annually over the past five years, according to the study.

Nationwide, the cost for a private nursing home room rose about 4.2% annually over the past five years to $87,600.

This is part of an 11 year study surveying about 15,000 providers of long-term care services nationwide.

About 70% of people older than 65 will need some form of long-term care services, but costs for those services have been rising for years. The average length of a long-term care claim is about three years.

The median cost of a private bedroom in an assisted living facility now stands at about $47,880. The cost of a private room in a nursing home has increased 3 percent to $84,315.

Costs for adult day care and home care have grown at slower pace of about 1 percent to 2 percent. The median cost for in-home health aide services now runs about $43,472 a year, while the cost of adult day care services cost about $15,860.

Nationally, the 2014 median hourly cost for the services of a homemaker or in-home health aide hired from a home care agency is $19 and $19.75, respectively.
The real challenge is how to pay for the long term care of our elderly.

Coordinating Alzheimer’s and long terms care for your parents or an elderly loved one is difficult, and the last thing you want is to have to deal with a financial hardship. Elder care is expensive.

Examine their financial situation

Assets and income: As precisely as possible, estimate your parent or parents’ net wealth and income. This means considering the total value of their home, their bank accounts, investment funds or individual investments they own, and income they receive from jobs, annuities, or other sources. It also requires that you calculate the value of their debts and current expenses, and subtract these values from their assets and income, respectively. Not only does this tell you how much you can afford to pay for their care, but it also will let you know whether your parent qualifies for benefit programs, such as Medicaid.

Power of attorney: If they haven’t done so already, your parent must assign power of attorney for finances, or the right to make financial decisions on their behalf. This does not necessarily need to be you, but it should be someone whom they trust, who is familiar with their finances, and who is good at managing multiple assets. You should also have a backup person to exercise power of attorney if their first choice cannot.

A living will: Your parent may want to earmark some of their assets for specific purposes other than elder care. If this is the case, they should do so ahead of time in a living will. Otherwise, you may end up selling such assets and spending the money on their care.

These financial preparations go hand-in-hand with other aspects of elder care planning. You should assign financial power of attorney, for example, at the same time that you assign power of attorney for healthcare. The better you coordinate all these activities, the easier it is to develop a clear, realistic plan for your parent’s care.

Identify sources of income

Once you have a detailed picture of your parent’s finances and desires, the next step is to make up any difference between their money and the likely cost of their care. There are many different income sources available for senior care expenses, including:

• Long-term insurance: If your parent has an insurance policy that specifically provides benefits for long-term care, you may be able to use it to pay for their housing or other elder care costs. Most such policies have strict daily, monthly or lifetime caps on spending, however, so this likely won’t cover your parent’s care by itself.

• Medicaid: Medicaid will cover some of the largest expenses involved in Alzheimer’s care, including custodial care, or care that involves helping your parent bathe, dress, and eat. To qualify, your parent must have less than $2,000 total in assets that can be counted. The only exception is if they receive such care from their spouse in their own home, in which case they can own up to $115,920 along with the home itself, a car, and wealth stored in certain trusts.

• Life insurance withdrawals: If your parent owns a life insurance policy, they can withdraw the base value of premiums they paid without paying taxes on it. You can then spend this on elder care.

• Veteran’s benefits: If your parent served in the military and was discharged honorably, they likely qualify for benefits from the VA. They can use these benefits in any of the 1,300 facilities across the country that the VA recognizes.

• Tax savings: If you take over a significant portion of your parent’s care, you can claim them as a dependent. Depending on your income, this will likely save you thousands of dollars, which you can put toward that care.

Most importantly, don’t wait. Trying to make the best financial decisions when coordinating care is challenging and waiting can be costly to your family.
Personal Property Managers, LLC (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) can help you in the process of asset liquidation and moving. At Personal Property Managers we specialize in downsizing, content removal and liquidation, Real Estate / property sales and moving. With one call, Personal Property Managers does it all.

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Profiles of Today’s Homebuyers and Homesellers – 2018

Property Manager PA NJToday’s Homebuyer and Home Purchaser Profiles for 2018

Are you thinking about selling your home in 2018? If so, the market has shifted dramatically over the past several years. It is totally different than it was years ago. Today’s buyers are not apt to want to spend a lot to time and money to fix up and or rehab a house as they were in the past. Why? Because today’s home buyers are more in debt and are more time challenged than years ago. They are looking at things from a return on their investment of time and money. Today’s buyers are looking for homes that are in move-in condition. For today’s sellers this is important to understand. If a sellers home is not updated and in move in condition, then it needs to be priced commensurate with the upgrades that will be needed from a buyer perspective. In other words, the listed home selling price must be discounted to reflect the amount of time and money a home buyer will need to put into the house and also factor in that today’s buyers simply do not want to do the work that may be needed. Properly pricing a home to meet today’s buyer needs are desires is one of the most important considerations that a home seller should consider.

With this said, with the help of our friends at the National Association of Realtors, we’d like to share with you important profiles of today’s buyers. We are sharing this information with you with a keen eye on looking at things from various generational buyers perspective.

This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.

Home Buyer Profiles for 2018:

• The millennial generation is defined as those who are 36 years old and younger.
Generation X is 37 to 51
Younger Boomers are 52 to 61.
Older Boomers are 62 to 70
• the Silent Generation are aged 71 to 91.

Buyers 36 years old and younger made up the largest generation of homebuyers in 2016 at 34%.

Millennial buyers (age 36 years and younger) represent 66% or 2/3 of today’s buyers and were first-time buyers. Over one quarter or 28% of today’s buyers were Gen X buyers (age 37 to 51). So, 92% of today’s buyers were Millennials or Gen X’ers….

In 2016, the majority of recent homebuyers were married couples, and buyers 37 to 51 had the highest median household income at $106,600

Buyers 37 to 51 (Gen Xers), consists of 28% of recent homebuyers. They are consistent with their buying trends and demographics. Notably, they are also the most racially and ethnically diverse population of homebuyers, with 21% identifying they are a race other than White/Caucasian. Buyers 37 to 51 are in their peak earning years and thus their incomes are the highest among all generations of buyer types at $106,600. They are both the generation most likely to be married and most likely to have children under the age of 18 in their home. Their housing preferences are driven by these demographics. Buyers 37 to 51 have the highest median priced homes of all other buyers and buy the largest homes in median square footage and bedrooms. Their neighborhood choices are driven by their convenience to job, but also the quality and convenience of school districts.

Buyers 52 to 61 (Younger Baby Boomers) and buyers 62 to 70 (Older Baby Boomers) were broken into two separate categories as they have differing demographics and buying behaviors. Buyers 52 to 61 consist of 16% of recent buyers and buyers 62 to 70 consist of 14% of recent buyers. Buyers 52 to 61 have higher median household incomes and are more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their home. Buyers 52 to 61 are also more likely to buy a multi-generational home. As the sandwich generation, they are nearly equally likely to buy this type of home for both children over 18 living at home and caretaking for aging parents. Buyers 52 to 61 buy for an array of reasons such as a job-relocation, desire for a smaller home, and the desire to be closer to friends and family. Buyers 52 to 61 also project the length of time they will live in their home is the longest at 20 years. Buyers 62 to 70 are often moving due to retirement, desire to be closer to friends and family, and desire for a smaller home. Buyers 62 to 70 typically move the longest distance at a median of 25 miles and are least likely to make compromises on their home purchase.

Characteristics of Homes Purchased

Buyers of new homes made up 14% and buyers of previously owned homes made up 86%. For buyers 36 years and younger, 11% bought new homes again this year. New home purchased increased with age, 15% for buyers 37 to 51 years and 21% for those 71 to 91 years.

Most recent buyers who purchased new homes were looking to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing or electricity at 34%. Buyers who purchased previously owned homes were most often considering a better price at 32%. For buyers 36 years and younger, 48% bought new homes to avoid renovations and problems compared to 18% of buyers 71 years and older. 35% of buyers 62 to 70 years bought previously owned homes to receive a better overall value.

The most common type of home purchased continues to be the detached single-family home, which made up 83% of all homes purchased compared to 87% of buyers 37 to 51 years and only 65% for buyers 71 years and older.

Senior-related housing increased slightly this year to 14% of buyers over the age of 50; that number was 7% for buyers 52 to 61 years and 24% for buyers 71 years and older.

The typical home that was recently purchased was 1,900 square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and was built in 1991. The size of homes purchased by buyers aged 37 to 51 years old was typically larger homes at 2,100 square feet, compared to buyers 36 years and younger, and for buyers aged 71 years and older, they purchased homes at a median of 1,800 square feet. For buyers 36 years and younger, the median home that was purchased was built in 1984; for ages 62 to 70, the median home that was purchased was built in 1998. For homebuyers over 71, the median home that was purchased was built in 1999.

Heating and cooling costs were the most important environmental features for recent home buyers, with 84% finding these features at least somewhat important.

For buyers 36 years and younger, commuting costs were more important that heating and cooling costs at 39% and 31% respectively. Compared to buyers 62 years through 70, commuting costs was listed as very important to only 12% whereas heating a cooling accounted for 34%.

Overall, buyers expect to live in their homes for a median of 12 years, while 18% say that they are never moving. For buyers 36 years and younger, the expected length of time is only 10 years compare to 20 years for buyers 52 to 61 years.

At Personal Property Managers, we use all this information and all these statistics to help our seller clients understand today’s market and whom they are marketing to, along with the taste that today’s buyers desire.

A cluttered home will have a negative appeal and will turn off today’s buyers.

A home that has not been updated or has dark colors, wallpaper, older kitchens and bathrooms will be a turn off to a whopping 92% of today’s buyers. This is very important to understand. Today’s sellers need to factor this into the selling price and adjust it accordingly.

The good news is that at Personal Property Managers, one call does it all. We can help with selling a home. Downsizing and de-cluttering it. Liquidating its contents and getting it market ready for sale. We have a strong following of interested buyers and can help our clients in many different home buying and selling avenues.

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Maximize Results with home decor tips for homebuyers and homesellers

Selling a house? Flipping a house? Home Decor tips to maximize results

 Property Manager PA NJSelling or Flipping a House? House decor tips to attract today’s buyers.

If you are a homeowner or a house flipper thinking of renovating your home with the aim of selling down the line, there we have some hands on tips that are an absolute must have for today’s buyers that you should pay attention to.

This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.

Top tips for today sellers to factor in to appeal to todays buyers:

Keep it simple

If you are going to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms, white and light grays are always a safe bet, says Joe and Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers.
For the kitchen, think simple; like white Shaker-style cabinets. “Nobody wants ornate moldings” on the cabinets, Nick Santoro says. Brushed-nickel knobs, light-colored quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances work well for most people, he says. In the bathroom, you can’t go wrong with white subway tile.

You’ll want to appeal to today’s buyers, who for the most part are what is described as ‘minimalists;’ clean, simple, not cluttered and not busy, Santoro says.

Remove wallpaper

We have found that if a house has wallpaper, it must go; it must be removed. It is dated and too busy for today’s buyers.

“When people walk into a home with wallpaper, all they see is dollar bills,” says Joe Santoro. They begin to think immediately about…“How much will it cost to take it off?”
We advise that sellers paint walls neutral colors to make rooms look larger and feel more contemporary.

Our most recent house flip achieved rapid success by painting the whole house in light grays and whites and staging it with furniture. There were multiple offers during the first week and it was on the market for less than two weeks.

“It made a world of difference,” Santoro says. “The buyers of today, the millennials (age 36 and younger) simply have no time” to plan and undertake renovations.

Remove carpeting

Buyers see carpeting in much the same way they see wallpaper: as something they will have to remove. The longer it stays on, the more damage it can do to your floors, the Santoro’s warns. “When wall-to-wall carpet is removed in heavily trafficked carpeted areas we see the backing of the carpet and the foam padding sticking to the wood floors,” Nick says. After removing carpeting, refinish the floors and stain with a low-gloss finish.“It will bring a renewed life to your home,” Joe says.

Small Touches help

If kitchen and bathroom renovations aren’t in the budget, pay attention to the small details, such as the condition of your front door, the doorbell, curb appeal and the mailbox, the Santoro’s say.

Explore new light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling drapery. “LED lighting is an inexpensive way to brighten up and cheer up any space,” Joe says. If a home has built-in furniture from the 1980s, Nick Santoro suggests taking it out and getting inexpensive modern pieces.

The Santoro’s say regular upkeep goes a long way. “If you invest in it and keep it on trend, your investment will pay off,” Nick says. Or don’t renovate — and price accordingly.

Joe Santoro cautions that if a home needs work and the owners need to sell quickly, he will tell the client to set the asking price to reflect the home’s condition.
“A lot of times we just tell them to not do anything,” Joe says. “It’s easier to take the numbers off of the price.”

Personal Property Managers, can take care of all your home selling needs along with downsizing, content liquidation and renovation work. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all.

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

How to financially plan for your aging parents

How to Financially plan for your aging Parents

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJHow to be financially prepared when your parent needs long term care

Are you the caregiver of a senior loved one? Have you ever wondered how expensive the cost of long-term senior care is for your elderly loved? Do you have any idea how much the average cost is for a nursing home or an assisted living community or the cost of in-home care services?

What about financially preparing for the care of an elderly loved one. How about documents? Do you even know what documents you will need when the time comes? Do you know what sources of income your elderly loved ones have?

This is part of a continuing series of article and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. 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’d like to share with you some recent information conducted by Genworth Financial about the cost of caring for our seniors. We think this will not only be informative but a real eye opener.

This year’s annual cost-of-care survey shows that the national, median annual cost for care in an assisted-living facility is about $42,000.

The average cost of an assisted-living facility nationwide has increased 4.29% annually over the past five years, according to the study.

Nationwide, the cost for a private nursing home room rose about 4.2% annually over the past five years to $87,600.

This is part of an 11 year study surveying about 15,000 providers of long-term care services nationwide.

About 70% of people older than 65 will need some form of long-term care services, but costs for those services have been rising for years. The average length of a long-term care claim is about three years.

The median cost of a private bedroom in an assisted living facility now stands at about $47,880. The cost of a private room in a nursing home has increased 3 percent to $84,315.

Costs for adult day care and home care have grown at slower pace of about 1 percent to 2 percent. The median cost for in-home health aide services now runs about $43,472 a year, while the cost of adult day care services cost about $15,860.

Nationally, the 2014 median hourly cost for the services of a homemaker or in-home health aide hired from a home care agency is $19 and $19.75, respectively.
The real challenge is how to pay for the long term care of our elderly.

Coordinating Alzheimer’s and long terms care for your parents or an elderly loved one is difficult, and the last thing you want is to have to deal with a financial hardship. Elder care is expensive.

Examine their financial situation

Assets and income: As precisely as possible, estimate your parent or parents’ net wealth and income. This means considering the total value of their home, their bank accounts, investment funds or individual investments they own, and income they receive from jobs, annuities, or other sources. It also requires that you calculate the value of their debts and current expenses, and subtract these values from their assets and income, respectively. Not only does this tell you how much you can afford to pay for their care, but it also will let you know whether your parent qualifies for benefit programs, such as Medicaid.

Power of attorney: If they haven’t done so already, your parent must assign power of attorney for finances, or the right to make financial decisions on their behalf. This does not necessarily need to be you, but it should be someone whom they trust, who is familiar with their finances, and who is good at managing multiple assets. You should also have a backup person to exercise power of attorney if their first choice cannot.

A living will: Your parent may want to earmark some of their assets for specific purposes other than elder care. If this is the case, they should do so ahead of time in a living will. Otherwise, you may end up selling such assets and spending the money on their care.

These financial preparations go hand-in-hand with other aspects of elder care planning. You should assign financial power of attorney, for example, at the same time that you assign power of attorney for healthcare. The better you coordinate all these activities, the easier it is to develop a clear, realistic plan for your parent’s care.

Identify sources of income

Once you have a detailed picture of your parent’s finances and desires, the next step is to make up any difference between their money and the likely cost of their care. There are many different income sources available for senior care expenses, including:

• Long-term insurance: If your parent has an insurance policy that specifically provides benefits for long-term care, you may be able to use it to pay for their housing or other elder care costs. Most such policies have strict daily, monthly or lifetime caps on spending, however, so this likely won’t cover your parent’s care by itself.

• Medicaid: Medicaid will cover some of the largest expenses involved in Alzheimer’s care, including custodial care, or care that involves helping your parent bathe, dress, and eat. To qualify, your parent must have less than $2,000 total in assets that can be counted. The only exception is if they receive such care from their spouse in their own home, in which case they can own up to $115,920 along with the home itself, a car, and wealth stored in certain trusts.

• Life insurance withdrawals: If your parent owns a life insurance policy, they can withdraw the base value of premiums they paid without paying taxes on it. You can then spend this on elder care.

• Veteran’s benefits: If your parent served in the military and was discharged honorably, they likely qualify for benefits from the VA. They can use these benefits in any of the 1,300 facilities across the country that the VA recognizes.

• Tax savings: If you take over a significant portion of your parent’s care, you can claim them as a dependent. Depending on your income, this will likely save you thousands of dollars, which you can put toward that care.

Most importantly, don’t wait. Trying to make the best financial decisions when coordinating care is challenging and waiting can be costly to your family.
Personal Property Managers, LLC (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) can help you in the process of asset liquidation and moving. At Personal Property Managers we specialize in downsizing, content removal and liquidation, Real Estate / property sales and moving. With one call, Personal Property Managers does it all.

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Top 7 tips – help make your home ready to sell

Top 7 tips – Help Make Your Home Ready to Sell

Property Manager PA NJIf you’re thinking of selling your home over the next few months, then you will need to make sure it’s ready. Although you can put it up for sale at any time, it certainly pays – literally – to take some time and do some work in it before you commit to putting it on the market. A few hours and for a few dollars spent here and there, will give you a healthy return on your investment when it comes to selling.

This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers ( www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.

Joe Santoro, co-founder of Personal Property Managers lists 7 quick tips for getting your home ready to sell:

1. Clean Your Windows
Your house could be the cleanest, most lovely, most perfect house in the world, and it could be a real bargain too, but if your windows are dirty (inside or outside) then prospective buyers could be put off before they even step through the door. It takes a lot to change someone’s first impression of a property, which is why you want to make sure it’s a good one for as many people as possible. Consider having your windows professionally cleaned or you can simply take a few hours to do it yourself. Make sure you don’t just focus on the glass, but that you clean the sills and facias too. Not only will washed windows look much nicer, but the effect inside your home is better too, as more natural light can be let in, showing off the rooms as they are meant to be.

2. Make the Outside Welcoming
There may be many elements to the outside of your home that you don’t really notice anymore because you’re so used to them. It’s time to step back, and go across the street if you can to appraise what you can see. If you need to invest in new outdoor lighting, a welcome mat, some flowers, or even a new front door itself (or just paint and maintain the current one) then do it. Making the outside of your house attractive will ensure that more people take a second glance at the realtor’s brochures, or on the webpage your house appears on.

3. Paint It Up
If you’ve lived in a house for a while, there will be signs of life’s wear and tear. There might be scuff marks on the walls, or greasy fingerprints. There could be marks where pictures were hanging, and the sun has bleached around the frames. A freshly painted home (not costing a lot of money) can restore your home’s beauty. Fix everything up for you so that it looks well-kept. This can help you score you points with today’s buyers, and add thousands to the selling price of your property. It’s a job that needs doing, and if you do it rather than the new owners, they will pay for that thoughtfulness.

4. Lighting
When you’re showing prospective buyers around your home, lighting can be key. Change your bright white bulbs for something that is much softer and inviting. A more flattering wattage that gives your home a cozy feel and welcomes people into each room will go a long way to helping people make a decision.

5. Stage the Rooms
If you have rooms that aren’t really used for what they were originally designed (a spare bedroom currently being used as a junk room, a dining room being used as a study and so on), when you put your house on the market, turn those rooms back into what they are supposed to be. It’s easier for prospective buyers to see themselves in a property if you dress it right. It may inconvenience you for a short while as you try to sell, but if you make the house look great, that sale shouldn’t be too long in coming. Dress that spare bedroom as a bedroom – you can simply use a cheap bed frame (or borrow from a friend) with an inflatable mattress on, but be sure to dress it with complementing bed linens. Make your home have a dining room by tidying up your paperwork and renting a dining set – or, again, borrowing a table and chairs from someone. It will be worth the effort.

6. Use Smells
We’ve all heard of the idea that baking bread or cookies, or brewing up a pot of coffee before someone comes to view the property as a sure way to promote how homely and cozy the place is. The thing is, it’s not a myth. The sense of smell is the sense that is most closely related to memory and feelings. If you can evoke the feeling of comfort, a memory of childhood or happy times, then the potential buyer will automatically feel right at home, which is exactly the kind of thing that will lead them to buy it. If you’re not a baker, don’t worry; using scented candles can do the same trick.

7. Make the House Appear Bigger
You obviously can’t make your house bigger physically, but you can make it feel that way. You can, for example, lay down a striped rug, which will give the impression of a longer room. You can hang floor to ceiling drapes, which will give the illusion of a room with high ceilings. You can clear away clutter to show more floor space. In the yard, make sure there are no huge toys such as trampolines which take up a lot of space. These can be stored somewhere for the duration of the sale, or just until you have secured an offer. Above all…de-clutter your home. Clean out closets, basements, garages. We know this can be a challenge, especially if you have lived in your home for many years, but this is important, and we can help you with any of your downsizing needs.

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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.