Tag Archives: pennsylvania

How to begin your home downsizing project and cleanout

How to Begin Downsizing Your Home

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.

Top 9 secrets to selling your home

Top 9 Secrets to Selling your Home

Get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.

If you are serious about selling your home at the best possible price and in the shortest possible time on market, then you’ll want to pay close attention to our top 9 secrets to helping sell your home.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into helping you sell and market your home 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.

#1: The first impressions are lasting… and are the only that matter
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You often use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

#2: Always be ready to show… you just never know…
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

#3: The kitchen comes first… it’s often the first place people look
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

#4: Take the home out of your house… de-personalize your home
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

#5: Don’t over-upgrade… but keep it clean
Quick fixes before selling always pay off, however expensive makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

#6: Conceal your pets… not everyone likes pets
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

#7: Light it up… the more light the better
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

#8: Half-empty closets… clean them out
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

#9: Pricing it right… be grounded in reality
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 5 to 10 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids – even in the worst markets – and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

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.

The cost for caring for our aging loved ones

Caring for our Aging Population

Who will care for our aging loved ones in our new society

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJThe fact that we are all living much longer is no secret. With our extended longer life come new challenges. In years past, when lifestyles were less complicated, family units were more defined, and marriages and families with children dominated the landscape. Caring for our aging loved ones was easier with more defined roles by spouses and children.

Times have certainly changed. Studies indicate that people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care help. Genworth, a leading US company that studies our aging population says that 66% of people over 65 will need extra care. In fact, they say that 70% of this age group will need some form of long-term care for at least three years. It the past, most aging loved ones relied on a family member, a spouse or a partner for help. But what happens today with family and demographic changes, when an individual has none of the above? Who can they count on for help in an emergency or when they get sick?

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. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Many aging Americans who have children don’t want to be a burden to them, but at least they are lucky enough to have a choice. They may not want to, but older adults rely on family caregivers most of their help. Today, there are over 43 million family members providing some form of elder care for a person 50+ years of age. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that 11 million people over the age of 65 live alone, and that number will likely increase. Even more alarming is that 11.6% of women (ages 80 to 84) are childless, so who will care for them?

Today, society has a totally different view of people without children verses 25 years ago. Many of today’s adults no longer believe that those without children lead empty lives. Recent surveys found that children are less significant to a thriving marriage. In 2007, a Pew Research survey unveiled 41% of adults said that having children was crucial for a successful marriage. This is a huge decline from 65% who said so in 1990.

Since the supply of family caregivers diminish as families get smaller or without children, it’s important to get organized around ones long-term care preferences.

PPM Insights into Elder Care

We at Personal Property Managers, often work within the Senior Community and with Adult Care Givers. We specialize in senior transition services, helping our elderly loved ones transition from their home of many years into senior care communities or to move in with caregivers or other family members. This process if often very overwhelming and our one stop services are valued by those going through a major move and transition. We have learned that there are significant facts about aging care that every person should know and wanted to share them with you. First, what we have learned is that elder care is more expensive than you think. And most of the costs of long-term care come out of your pocket and not through some government or state program. To help you plan for senior care later on, you should understand the details about the services that are and are not covered.

1. Medicare (controlled by each state) does not pay for long-term custodial care services. This is the kind that help you with everyday activities of living needs. Medicare only pays for the medically necessary care like acute medical care, doctor visits, drugs, and a hospital stay.

2. Medicaid is a combined program offered by the federal and state governments. It helps individuals living with low income and assets, and it pays for some of the health care expenses. Medicaid has stringent regulations on who are eligible for the benefits and the services covered.

3. Paying for long-term care out-of-pocket is your option if you have enough money and savings.

4. Health insurance covers the restricted and particular types of long-term care. Disability insurance replaces income and does not include long-term care services and supports.

5. Long-term care insurance pays for long-term supports and services. But before you buy a policy, know the daily amount it will pay to assist you with the activities of daily living requirements.

While we are certainly not insurance agents or elder care attorneys, we do, a large portion of our business assisting adult caregivers in the transition of their elderly loved ones from their home of many years into a senior care communities via our home downsizing, cleanouts, estate sales, and full service discount real estate services. We would like to share with you some tips that we have learned along the way that may help you in your long term care plan. They are:

• Draw up legal documents: a will, a living will, a healthcare proxy and a power of attorney.

• Share a home with like-minded friends and siblings. Create a “share the care” approach that serves each resident equally. Draw up legal papers outlining each person’s responsibilities; one that makes each party accountable.

• Live nearby mass transportation if you don’t drive.

• Choose a walk-able neighborhood.

• Find a trustworthy person or family you can depend on for support and care. Work out a payment strategy and put it in writing. Get legal advice prior to implementing a plan. An elder law attorney can steer you in the right direction.

• Hire a chronic care advocate if you live with a prolonged medical condition, preferably an attorney specializing in elder law.

• Make friends with the supportive type.

• Eat fresh, healthy foods.

• Stay fit.

• Keep your brain sharp by getting involved.

• Volunteer and help those in need.

• Take up hobbies that fulfill your curiosity.

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.

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.

How to modify your home for an elderly loved one moving in

Home Modifications When Moving In an Elderly Loved One

Home modifications tips for elderly parents moving in with caregivers

Bucks County Home Downsizing

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With Americans living longer and longer, and with the baby boomer retirement population exploding, and expecting to almost double in the next few years, one option that many families are taking is having elderly parents move in with their adult caregiver children.

We have found that it’s very important to consider certain home modifications so you can accommodate elderly loved ones moving in with you.

This is part of a continuing series of articles 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 and services PA and NJ.

  • Some general safety and room-by-room details to consider include:
  • Make sure to have study handrails on all indoor and outdoor steps
  • Install nonskid strips on or near steps and near the edges.
  • For those with visual impairments, the strips should be a color that contrasts with the color of the steps.
  • Light switches should be located near all entrances to each room, at each end of hallways, and at the top and bottom of stairwells.
  • Lighting should be sufficiently throughout the home.
  • Consider replacing traditional door knobs with lever handles which are easier to operate than doorknobs.
  • Interior doors should have locks that can be opened from either side.
  • Hallways and doorways should be wide enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair.
  • The water heater should be set at 120 degrees to reduce the risk of scalding.
  • Solid color carpeting with dense pile will lower fall risks. Deep pile carpeting can be more difficult to walk on, and patterned carpeting may cause optical illusions for those who have difficulty with depth perception.
  • To lower fall risks with hardwood floors, avoid wax or high gloss polishes or throw rugs.
  • Avoid room entrances with raised door thresholds.
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be present near all sleeping areas.
  • Check that kitchen cabinets and countertops are a comfortable height, and that there is space to roll a wheelchair under a counter, if needed.
  • A side-by-side refrigerator/freezer will be easier to use than a top-bottom model.
  • Electric or gas stoves should not be positioned under a window because the presence of curtains will increase the risk of fire.
  • Sinks should have a single-lever mixing faucet.
  • The touch pad of a microwave should be large and easy to read, and the device should be in a convenient location.
  • There should be one bathroom located on the main floor of the home, as well as near the bedroom (if the home is multi-level).
  • Grab bars should be present or can be installed near the toilet and tub/shower.
  • Check that the toilet is a comfortable height.
  • It is recommended that the tub/shower has a hand-held spray unit, and a built-in seat or space to utilize a shower chair (chairs are available which extend over the side of a tub if a stall shower is not present, however you will need a curtain instead of shower doors to minimize water escaping from the shower.)
  • A pedestal sink may be needed if a wheelchair or regular chair will be used in front of the sink.
  • The size of the bathroom should be adequate for wheelchair maneuverability
  • Avoid throw rugs and bathmats. The floor should be carpeted (low pile), or matte-finished, textured tile instead of a smooth, potentially slippery surface.
  • Towel racks and built-in soap dishes should be secure and not located where they might be used as a grab bar.
  • One Bedroom should be available on the main floor of the home.

We have learned over the years that these modifications can make a world of difference for your elderly loved one.

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

Having an Aging Loved one move in

Planning on Having an Aging Parent Move In With You

Have conversations up front and define your boundaries to make it a very pleasant addition to your life.

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJWe often work with families where children are caregivers for their aging parents. Often time medical conditions and sometimes financial decisions necessitate change. This change may mean that your elderly loved one may need to move in to their children’s home.

This is a decision that adult children and caregivers should think though carefully. There’s so much that’s involved. If you move mom or dad in and don’t have discussions on ground rules and space then it’s going to be chaos. If you make a plan and if you have conversations up front and define your boundaries, it can be a very pleasant and very productive addition to your life.

This is part of a continuing series of articles 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 and services PA and NJ.

No matter how prepared you are to have an elderly loved one move in to your home and no matter how pleasant your relationship is, expect the unexpected. You need to be prepared for the role reversal. You need to be prepared for the things that are going to happen so that you don’t blow up so you don’t have an incident that you can’t take back. The only way that this new relationship works is if you find a way to have a real relationship with mom or dad and get rid of those old parent to child roles.

Lastly, if mom or dad are moving in, getting their finances together is the first and most important thing. In addition, plan in advance for absentee care giving when you go on vacation. Having ‘alone’ time with your spouse is important. There are services [and] people you can pay hourly, but the one thing a lot of people miss is that there may be members of your own family who are actually out looking for employment while you’re struggling trying to figure out who’s going to watch mom or dad. One thing that’s worked out very well is having family members come in and have them get compensated instead of paying an outside professional. You want to get creative with your solutions.

We have learned that these discussions [between parent and adult children] aren’t always easy, but they are extremely important at many levels.

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.