This is an ongoing series of posts on by Dr. Ann Meyerson about assisting clients through a real estate transition. Dr. Meyerson specializes in senior transition, but has been doing work recently on clients with hoarding issues. Read Ann’s other posts here.
In a recent conversation with two colleagues, a geriatric social worker and a placement coordinator, we were sharing experiences. Each of us identified planning as a critical key to any successful transition. Without clear guidelines to follow; confusion, misunderstanding and duplicated efforts often result. In addition, a lead person or communication channel must be identified.
When I am asked to assist in an estate sale, I always want to know who my designated point person is going to be. I recently closed out a condo in an over-55 community in Palm Beach County. While everyone was lovely and cooperative, I had too many cooks in the kitchen! I had four sets of adult kids making decisions and every little item required a group consensus. In an effort to include the whole family in the process, we managed to lengthen the cleanup and property fix up time. Undergoing the price determination debate and the actual list date took quite a while. The date on market was delayed by about six months because of discussions and duplicate efforts to get the unit ready to show. Although this did not prevent a successful sale, it created anxiety for those involved and actually made more work for me as a listing agent.
Another instance where issues can become confusing is when the elder adult and their grown kids do not see eye-to-eye on the next step. In one case, we scheduled a move to Florida for a Dad at 98 years young who couldn’t take the New England winters any longer. We were temporarily going to move him to an independent living facility in Florida until the plans for finding him a permanent home could be finalized. Unfortunately, Dad and his two children could not agree on a plan. After an uncomfortable snow bound winter, the family is still disagreeing over the next step. I am trying to work out a plan involving family support and guidance so Dad can enjoy his time in a warm setting year round.
The critical point of planning is that it makes the entire transition process go more smoothly. Too often adult children will contact me about a move and then wait until there is a crisis to take action. While elders do move a bit slower, and decision-making can take a lot of time, planning can be the first step to getting a move underway. I encourage all of us as real estate professionals to help our potential clients and their families to embrace and own the situation so the correct decisions can be made.
Dr. Ann Meyerson is an agent at William Raveis in Westport, Conn. and specializes in helping seniors and their families during real estate transitions. She has been featured as an industry expert on Channel 12 News and has hosted the Real Estate Forum on Channel 88. Ann shares her professional time between Connecticut and Florida where she is actively involved in Senior Transitions and is affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. You can learn more from Dr. Ann Meyerson on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare and her blog.