Services for seniors on the move
The Savvy SeniorMarch 22, 2011 | 1,824 views | Post a comment
Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there organizations or businesses that specialize in helping seniors sell their house, find a new home and help them relocate to it? My wife and I are interested in downsizing from our home of 35 years, but need some help with the entire process. What can you tell us?
The process of selling a house and moving to a new home, or downsizing to a condo or an apartment, is a huge job that can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially for seniors. Fortunately, there are a variety of specialized services available today that can help make it a little easier. Here’s what you should know.
Buying and Selling
To get help selling your home and finding a new one, a good place to start may be with a Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES). These are realtors that have received special training, making them better equipped to help older clients through major financial and lifestyle transitions involved in relocating, refinancing, or selling the family home.
SRES designees are educated and knowledgeable in such areas as reverse mortgages, senior housing options, downsizing, universal design, as well as ways to use pensions, 401k accounts and IRAs in real estate transactions. They can also help you steer clear of loan scams that victimize older borrowers. And if you need help from other professionals, a SRES can put you in touch with qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs and other experts.
To learn more or to search for a SRES in your area, visit sres.org or call toll-free 800-500-4564. The SRES Council also offers a free “Moving On” guide to help seniors with the decisions and transitions that come with moving. To get a copy, call their previously listed toll-free number or visit their website.
Making the Move
To help you get packed-up and move, another specialty service you should know about is “senior move managers.” These are organizers who assist older people with the challenges of relocating, and can minimize the stress of this major transition by doing most of the work for you. They can help you pare down your belongings, decide what to take and what to dispose of, recommend charities for donations and help sell your unwanted items. They also get estimates from moving companies, oversee the movers, arrange the move date, supervise the packing and unpacking, have the house cleaned and just about anything you need related to your move. Costs vary depending on the services and size of the move, but you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $5,000, not including the cost of movers.
To locate a senior move manager visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers website at nasmm.com or call 877-606-2766. But before you hire one, be sure you ask for references from previous clients and check them. Also find out how many moves they have actually managed, and get a written list of services and fees. And make sure they’re insured and bonded.
If you can’t find a senior move manager in your area, another option is to hire a certified professional organizer -- many of whom offer moving/relocating services for seniors. To find one, check the National Association of Professional Organizers at napo.net.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit http://SavvySenior.org.
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