Elizabeth "Betsy" Bergman
Coldwell Banker Realty


How to Handle the Home When Moving to Assisted Living


Assisted living is a difficult topic to raise with loved ones who are seniors. It’s never easy for a person to admit that they can no longer live on their own. Although dependency is somewhat inevitable for a majority of elderly people, it doesn’t make this transition any easier. After living for many years in their home, it’s understandable why many seniors have trouble admitting the need for an assisted living home. Once the decision has been made, seniors have to then decide what to do with their current home. Here are some possible scenarios for seniors to consider when handling their home after moving into a nursing home.


Selling the property.


If you’re moving into an assisted living facility and have no use for your current property, selling your home is always a potential option. This move will free you from the responsibility of paying for and managing a property and will also free up a significant amount of money that can be put toward assisted living. Depending on the value of your home, seniors may be able to cover a significant chunk of their assisted living costs. This move can be seen essentially like a clean trade.


If you’re interested in selling your home, it’s important to conduct some research beforehand to ensure you’re getting the best deal. You should start by looking at the trend of home prices in your area. This will give you a good starting point for where to price your home. Don’t forget to compare your home to properties of similar size, age, and condition. Location isn’t the only consideration to make when settling on an asking price.


There are important steps to take when selling your house. Choose a good agent to help you list your home, consider listing it closer to the weekend when buyers have more time to visit open houses, and be careful not to overprice your home. Also, make sure it’s properly staged for  buyers and listing photos. When staging your home, declutter, make necessary repairs, depersonalize, and do a deep cleaning.


Renting the property.


Selling a property is a great option for freeing up money in the short run; however, renting your current home or apartment can end up generating more income in the long term. Instead of having a lump sum right away, you would be receiving a monthly allotment of passive income from tenants. Although this strategy does require some extra effort, you’re still maintaining ownership of your home and still earning an income from it.


While living in an assisted living home, you may not have the strength, energy, or time to maintain a rental property. You may have to hire someone to manage the property on your behalf whether you’re renting it long term or as a vacation property. This investment will take a chunk out of your monthly income, but it will still be worth keeping the home in your name and ownership. When searching for a rental management company, try to find one that screens for problematic tenants and provides day and night local support. There are even vacation rental management companies that offer convenient online booking for your guests.


When seniors decide it’s time to move into an assisted living facility, many questions about their transition arise. What is to be done with their home is one of these difficult and important decisions. The choice really comes down to whether or not you would like to earn an ongoing income from the property or take advantage of its full cash value here and now.

Author: Rhonda Underhill

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com



Practical Tips for House Hunters in Search of Accessible Homes




If you’ve already begun your hunt for accessible housing, you know it can be a massive headache. Unfortunately, just 5 percent of American homes have the features needed to accommodate people with moderate levels of disability — and only 1 percent of homes are fully wheelchair accessible. Whether you intend on buying or renting, read through these simple tips to learn about your best options for finding an accessible living space.

Start with a List

Searching for an accessible home without a game plan is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Make your house-hunting efforts more efficient by creating a list of features you absolutely need. This list of requirements will help you weed out listings that will never work for you. At the same time, you’ll be able to hold onto options that could meet your needs with a few modifications.

For example, if you’re in a wheelchair, your ideal home might be equipped with a zero-step entrance and wide doorways. For people with disabilities of the upper body, lever-type door handles and taps are often essential home features. Someone with a vision disability may be searching for adequate natural light and high-contrast or textured surfaces. 

Don’t forget to consider your location requirements as well. What kinds of nearby amenities and services do you need? Have you considered the proximity to public transportation or the walkability of the neighborhood? Walk Score is a great online resource for finding locations where you can easily get around on your feet (or wheels). Just make sure you check out the condition of the sidewalks and hilliness of the area!

Narrow Your Search

Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start sifting through listings. Begin with a simple Google search for accessible homes in your desired city. If you’re not yet sure where you want to live, check out these top wheelchair-accessible cities for ideas.

Take advantage of apartment search tools, such as Padmapper, Hotpads, and Lovely. While Craigslist can also be a useful tool for house-hunting, beware of these common rental scams discussed by Making Sense of Cents. You can narrow your search results by including keywords like “wheelchair accessible” or “disabled access.” Additionally, apartment search tools often include an “accessible homes” filter under their advanced search options.

Consider Potentially Modifiable Homes

During your search, you might come across homes that would be perfect with a ramp at the front entrance or grab-bars in the bathroom. Don’t pass these up! You’ll likely be able to make some of your own modifications whether you’re buying or renting (installing a wheelchair ramp usually costs between $1,200 and $2,400). Many landlords are required to make accommodations or allow you to make modifications at your own expense. And if you’re buying a home, look into your funding options — Disabled World has compiled a helpful resource of available grants and financial assistance programs for disabled homeowners.

Get Your Home Move-in Ready

When you finally find that elusive home, the first thing to do before moving is to have your locks rekeyed. This is crucial to the safety of your family and possessions. Once you know the closing date on your home, book a locksmith as soon as possible. According to Home Advisor, you can expect to pay about $96 to $210 to hire a good locksmith. Also, consider hiring a contractor to plan custom modifications to make the home more suitable for you. Find a contractor with experience in home accessibility and ensure you both sign a contract before any work begins.

Focus your modifications on the most cost-effective and impactful solutions. Adding ramps is a relatively inexpensive and reliable way to improve access to the home. Replacing the flooring with a firm, non-slip surface can also make a huge difference in your ease of mobility and safety. If you have a service animal, make sure your floors non-porous and easy to clean — vinyl and laminate are great options to consider.

Help Is A Phone Call Away

Finding an accessible home takes work, but you don’t have to go it alone. Find a local real estate agent to help you search for homes with features that appeal to you. Do not just partner with the first agent in the phonebook, however. Talk to friends and family for their recommendations and then interview the agent before you sign a buyer’s agreement. 

Remember, it will take some time — and probably a little frustration — before you find a home that meets your individual accessibility needs. You’ll have to read countless property descriptions, talk to several landlords, and sift through endless listings of inaccessible homes. Start your search as soon as possible so you have enough time to find the perfect place and plan modifications that will make the space your own. 

Author: Patrick Young

Photo via Pixabay




How to Host the Best Memorial Day Party of the Season

Summer — it’s the season of barbecues, pool parties, cold beers, and kicking back. Memorial Day is the perfect occasion for coming together, celebrating our fallen soldiers, and being with those we love. However, hosting a fun party doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

Besides the Barbecue

A barbecue cookout and Memorial Day go together like sweet tea and sugar. Most of us have our own favorite sauces or spices ready to rock, but what else can we serve to go with the protein? One way to cut back costs is to host a potluck and have each guest bring a side, a drink, or paper dishware. However, if you want to have some basics on hand, there are some side dishes that go excellently with any barbecue. Use fresh summer vegetables and fruits to keep spending down, and remember, you can grill almost anything. As for drinks, beer, wine, and local sodas always go well on a hot summer evening.

Parties with a Pool

If you’re fortunate enough to have a pool, a pool party can give you a whole day of fun, for kids and adults alike. Of course, that means you need to make safety your number one concern, as anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Always have a designated adult supervising without distraction, and that means no phone, no book — nothing but watching the children. Have a set of rules that everyone knows and understands, such as no diving and no running. If a group of little ones has never met before, have some games ready to play to act as ice breakers. If all else fails, set up a squirt gun race to give them an energetic (but fun) contest.

Decorating Your Backyard

The best way to decorate is to remember your theme: Memorial Day. Make red, white, and blue your color palette, and add a potluck element to your décor as well. Have everyone bring a blanket or towel to sit on so you can enjoy the grass in the sun. For inexpensive decorations, check out thrift stores and cheaper outlet-like shops such as Walmart. When the daylight dims, use flameless candles to keep things safe. After all, you never know when someone may accidentally knock one over, and a real candle has the potential to start a fire. Not only that, but you never have to buy more, as they will never melt.


One important thing to acknowledge is that Memorial Day is meant to commemorate those who have served our country and fallen. Make sure that you organize something to recognize the men and women in the armed forces. You could have a moment of silence, spend a few minutes writing to those who are deployed, or set up a donation box for your favorite military charity. For instance, there are organizations that assist families of veterans, help veterans transition careers, pay for service dogs, or support the USO. Even if everyone only gives a few dollars, that can add up to a sizeable donation, and every bit really does help.

Outdoor Games for All Ages

You don’t want to end up with everyone simply standing around as they wait for the food to cook. Instead, plan out a few games, both for the children and the adults. Kids usually will be content with a bit of chalk, a handball or some hula hoops. These things are generally pretty cheap, and no one will mind if they get a bit banged up. Similarly, you don’t need to spend much to keep the adults entertained either, as a deck of cards can go a long way, as can pretzels for poker chips or even a Frisbee for Frisbee golf. Get a volleyball or badminton set if you want, but breaking the bank isn't necessary to have a blast with your friends.

As a holiday, Memorial Day is truly the perfect excuse to gather our loved ones and enjoy the summer air. Yet, while it’s an excellent time for a fun day with family and friends, it’s also important to remember those we have lost defending our freedom. Celebrate your Memorial Day and surround yourself with the important people in your life.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Budget-Friendly Ways Dog Owners
Can Keep a Spotless Home

As much as we love our dogs, there’s not much to love about the messes that come with them. Left unchecked, it doesn’t take long for your puppy’s fur, dander, saliva, and odors to take over your entire household. Since buying cleaning supplies can really eat into your treats and bones budget, we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips on how to save money on the things that keep your dog-friendly house clean.

Be Smart with Price Comparisons
Price comparing used to mean sifting through the Sunday paper advertisements and clipping coupons. Thankfully, the process is much simpler nowadays thanks to the internet. Stock up on budget-friendly cleaning supplies by looking for special offers or deals from big retailers like Amazon. With a cursory online search, you can track down the best coupon codes, in-store offers, and cashback opportunities that will save you the most money.

An Ounce of Prevention...
...is worth a pound of cure. You know the old Ben Franklin saying. Its wisdom applies to tidiness as much as it applies to fire departments. The best way to minimize the amount of mess your dog creates is through proper obedience training, plenty of exercise and regular grooming. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog is less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors out of anxiety. The same goes for exercise -- regular walks and off-leash play time allows your dog to release pent-up energy in the appropriate manner so they don’t take it out on your floors and furniture. Finally, regular grooming can mitigate shedding and prevent things like scratched-up floors due to uncut nails. The number one way to save money on dog grooming? Do it yourself. If you’re not confident in your obedience-training abilities, check out sites like Groupon for local discounts from professionals.

Remove Odors from Carpets
Sometimes, your pup’s presence is notable even when he isn’t in the room-- through his stench. When this happens, it is definitely time to deep clean those carpets. Surprisingly, you don’t have to invest in a steam cleaner to get rid of deep-down pet stains. There are various ways to remove odors with simple and cost-effective products like vinegar, baking soda, and pet enzyme digester you can buy in bulk and dilute. You can also look for online coupons or weekly deals for carpet-cleaning products from retailers like Walmart. If the odors are really stinking up your house and a steam cleaner is your best option, check out weekly deals from stores like Lowe’s to see if they’re offering discounts on steam cleaner rentals.

Make Meal Time More Efficient
Your dog is so grateful when you feed him, so can you really blame him for how excited he gets at dinner? Unfortunately, all that excitement can lead to spilled food and water all over your clean floors. You can prevent spills by placing a rubber-backed placemat underneath his bowls that keep them stationary and your floors clean. Make sure to wash your pup’s bowls and the mats about once or twice a week to ensure they don’t collect dust, dirt, and grime. You can also keep his food fresher and prevent pests by investing in some smaller, reusable plastic containers and divvying up your bulk bags for easier access. Look for online promos or in-store offers from go-to stores like Target for pet food containers, doggy bags and even pet food.

DIY Stations for Doggy Bags
It’s important to always pick up after your dog’s -- ahem -- messes. Dog feces contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can harm other animals ... including people. Always have a baggy on hand by placing dispensers around the yard for easy access. This DIY project will cost you less than $20 on materials, and you can stock it with recycled plastic bags from the supermarket instead of having to buy more of those overpriced ones from the pet store.


Your dog is worth the messes, but it doesn’t make you a bad dog parent if you want to save money on cleaning supplies. Use the power of the internet to find the best deals on essential products. Prevent messes by training your dog, giving him plenty of exercise, and grooming regularly. Avoid expensive steam cleaner rentals and remove odors from carpets with inexpensive ingredients such as white vinegar. Prevent mealtime messes with a rubber backed mat under your dog’s bowls, and always
have a doggy bag on hand by making DIY stations that provide easy access at every corner of your yard.