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Ten Steps to Home Staging

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on April 1, 2014 at 4:28 PM

According to Real Estate Staging Association statistics, staged homes are on the market 67% less time than non-staged homes.

If you are a skilled or impartial seller, the basic steps to home staging may be familiar to you and easy to apply.  Many homeowners, however, find it easier and more effective to hire a professional s or work with an experienced Realtor to prepare a property for listing. The following steps may help you get started.

  1. Focus on the task at hand. Keep in mind your objective is to sell as quickly as possible and at a good price. Understand that living in a staged home is different than living in your home. Once you list your home, your concern should no longer be about your own comfort or decorating preferences, but all about the home buyer’s perception.
  2. Evaluate the home. View every room from the doorway to determine how it looks. Make sure each room has a clear entryway and a spacious feel. Move or eliminate furnishings that may be blocking entry ways, light or seem too bulky or heavy for the space.
  3. View every room for the amount of natural and artificial light. Take steps to add light, clean windows and open or replace window treatments. If the views of the outdoors are pleasing, window treatments may be minimized.
  4. Evaluate your paint colors, busy wallpaper patterns and any structural damage. Neutral colors are best. Hire remodeling professionals and contractors to make improvements in these areas.
  5. Thoroughly clean everything. Cobwebs, skylights, windows, brick work, baseboards, flooring, carpets, corners of appliances and on and on.
  6. Declutter rooms by removing extra pieces of furniture, item in storage spaces, excess or broken electronics, collectibles and other items that create a “cluttered” feel.  Hold a professional Estate Sale to optimize the value of your possessions and offset some of your household move or staging costs.
  7. Don’t fill your storage spaces to help clear out other rooms. Storage space is often an important selling feature and buyers want to know how much space is available. Portable storage units may help you organize excess, but for a permanent and cost-free solution, we recommend “Downsizing to Sell.”
  8. Depersonalize your home. Removing refrigerator magnets, family pictures and religious items make some homeowners feel sad, but in reality it is best if the home buyer can imagine how their belongings will look in the home, rather than yours.
  9. Address any odors. Whether smells are due to age, people or pets, most houses have their own particular odor. Use air cleaners, unscented aerosols and open windows to reduce unpleasant odors.
  10. Don’t forget the outdoors.  Creating “curb appeal” has been a selling practice for many years. Be sure to trim bushes and plant attractive flowers in warm weather; shovel driveways and remove dead foliage when it is cold.  Discuss the need for other repairs and issues with your realtor or home staging professional.

Preparing a house for market may seem daunting,   yet as long as you focus on your overall objective, which is selling quickly for the best possible price, you may learn to apply these home staging basics and achieve excellent results.  Find more “Reasons to Stage Your Home” in this blog series.

©Caring Transitions

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Five Reasons to Stage Your Home

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on February 7, 2014 at 4:25 PM

The concept of “home staging” has been around for a number of years now, but some sellers may not yet realize that preparing their home for sale isn’t just an option, it is a necessity. Similar to sprucing up a used car before listing it for sale, most homes require a good clean and polish before they are placed on the market. Home staging experts agree on several more reasons to stage before you sell:

1. Staging helps sell homes faster. A National Association of Realtors survey found that the longer a home stays on the market, the further below list price it drops. Homes that sold in the first 4 weeks averaged 1% more than the list price; 4 to 12 weeks averaged 5% less; 13 to 24 weeks averaged 6.4% less; than list price; and 24 weeks averaged more than 10% less than list price.

2. Staging investments won’t break the bank. According to other home staging statistics, an average expenditure of $575 for simple cleaning, decluttering, lightening and brightening provides a return of over $2,400 on the sale price of an average home, which is more than a 400% return on investment.

3. Staging provides a market advantage. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of buyers search for homes online before they decide which to visit.  Online real estate videos and photos that reflect nicely staged rooms provide a true advantage over competitors.

4. Staging creates appeal. Residential buyers tend to make emotional decisions when they decide to purchase a home. The potential residence should feel like home as they walk through. Many buyers are simply unable to envision relaxing or raising a family in a home that is dirty, cluttered or in disrepair.

5. Staged homes generate better selling price. According to a National Association of Realtors survey, homes that sold after 4 weeks on the market sold for 6% less than those which sold in the first four weeks. Improving the appearance of your home can help speed up the sale, especially when the home is priced right.

©Caring Transitions 

Real Estate Resources For Mom & Dad

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on June 5, 2013 at 3:14 PM

by Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions

When it comes to choosing housing or buying and selling real estate, the needs of older adults and their families can be quite complex. Selling situations may be complicated by issues such as family dynamics, deteriorating health, personal loss and financial constraints. To provide consumers with dedicated support options, two of the nation’s most professional resources work in partnership.

Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estatblished their Senior Real Estate Specialist© (SRES©) program in 2007. Realtors who invest the time to earn their SRES credential cultivate a unique view of today’s market, including the sale of older homes, senior housing options and the logistics of relocation. They also understand the implications of common financial concerns, including financing options, reverse mortgage, tax laws, probate and estate planning. Today there are approximately 15,000 SRES Realtors nationwide. All SRES Realtors meet NAR industry requirements and are supported by the SRES Council.

Caring Transitions®:

As the nation’s largest professional resource for household relocation and liquidation, Caring Transitions, is uniquely qualified to serve in partnership with the SRES Realtor network.

With independently owned offices in every major market, Caring Transitions® supports families and business professionals as they downsize, sell, move, pack and unpack. With professional Estate Sale and state-of-the-art CT Online Auction capabilities, Caring Transitions® helps consumers with decluttering. They often assist clients by preparing homes for sale. Moving and storage costs may be offset by professional space planning and downsizing services which are typically delivered in advance of a major move.

Not sure where to start?

It is important for families to understand their options when it comes to secure, knowledgeable and qualified resources. Both SRES® and Caring Transitions® work with teams of professionals who assist with all facets of the home sale and relocation process. Both serve as advocates for their older adult clients.

If listing your home for sale is your immediate concern, contact an SRES® Realtor® today.  However, if you think it is best to begin the downsizing process before you list or if you are ready to move to your new home or clear an estate, contact this local Caring Transitions® office. Both groups of professionals will work in concert to support your needs and help you avoid costly and time consuming mistakes.


La Jolla Based Franchisee Highlighted In Press Release

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on May 17, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Caring Transitions La Jolla

Will and Suzy Fuller, owners of Caring Transitions La Jolla, were recently highlighted by a local news story in the Rancho Santa Fe Review. The couple, who graduated from their training class this winter, have hit the ground running and taken the local market by storm. With a background in customer service and marketing, connecting with clients and understanding their complicated issues came naturally to Will Fuller.

“Our focus is to minimize the stress and maximize the returns while helping clients through a difficult time,” commented Fuller.

One reason why the Fullers were interested in owning a Caring Transitions franchise are the demographic trends. According to statistics, 79 million baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 which translates to about 10,000 Americans gaining senior status each day.

“It’s a daunting thought that each of those families must face a major change at some point,” said Fuller. “But we have proven systems in place whereby we can remove a lot of the stress – and a lot of times the arguments – out of coping with these often overwhelming major life-changing transitions.”

To read more from this article, head to the Caring Transitions La Jolla website.

Caring Transitions Recognizes Exceptional Franchisees at National Conference

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on April 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Cincinnati, OH — Caring Transitions (CT), a national franchise specializing in senior moving, household liquidations and estate sales management, recently honored several outstanding franchisees at its annual conference, held at the Riverside Hotel in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

With nearly a hundred franchisees, vendors and home office staff in attendance, the awards were presented at Caring Transitions’ national meeting, during more than two days of informational sessions, networking opportunities, and roundtable meetings.

Sherri Gillette, Caring Transitions of Southern Arizona, received the “Franchise of the Year” award for her contributions to the Caring Transitions system. She and her team doubled their revenue during the past year, rising up to the second largest business in the system. Sherri was also instrumental in mentoring and hosting a number of new owners, serving as an Onsite Training Center.

Donna and Jeff Rea, Caring Transitions of North Dallas Suburbs, received the “Rookie of the Year” award for their exponential growth and great cooperative effort in building a strong Caring Transitions presence in the DFW area.

Janet and Rick Parkinson, Caring Transitions of Upstate South Carolina, were awarded the “Trailblazer of the Year” award for their commitment in helping to develop the Caring Transitions Online Auction site, helping to refine the processes, assisting others by developing and training the CTO model, and making recommendations for software upgrades and improvements.

Also honored at the conference for finishing 2012 in the Top Ten in sales revenue were: Bruce Treadway, CT of Northern Illinois and the North Shore; Sherri Gillette, CT of Southern Arizona; Darcy Inge and Rebecca Cline, CT of Richmond; and Janet and Rick Parkinson, CT of Upstate South Carolina. Others honored for their growth and system involvement by being named to the “Rookie All-Star Team” were Erin Marcus, CT of Chicago and North Suburbs; Cindy and Steve Breck, CT of Las Vegas; and Sue and Mark Fadden, CT of Chicago Western Suburbs.

Chris Seman, President of Caring Transitions, reaffirmed the two main areas Caring Transitions will continue to focus on in 2013: unit revenues and unit profitability.

“Our company’s growth and success is totally dependent upon the interactions of everyone — home office, franchisees, and vendors, working together to build a strong, dynamic, and viable partnership. As each of our individual offices succeeds, so too will our group as a whole,”  - Chris Seman, CT President.

Conference attendees had a chance to share ideas and gain new insight into business practices. Keynote speaker, Jim Ryerson, President and CEO of SalesOctane, delivered the “Science of Selling” to the system and then worked with our franchisees during a breakout session to develop a Caring Transitions Sales Map, outlining behaviors needed to improve the sales process. Caring Transitions’ Ray Rofkar, Director of Operations, reaffirmed the operations team’s commitment to continuous improvement in assisting franchisee’s growth. Nan Hayes, National Marketing and Training Consultant, spoke about national accounts and the need for a strong, cohesive alliance between CT’s individual offices and the home office. Joel Roadruck, CT Operations Manager, led a panel in discussing how to incorporate multiple revenue streams. Joe Lewandowski, CT Operations Manager, led a panel discussion outlining the development of the CT Estimating Program to help franchisees increase profitability by properly pricing and managing each piece of business.

Nationwide, Caring Transitions fields more than 100 franchises serving hundreds of communities.

Founded in 2006, Caring Transitions has been a trusted and highly respected national company leading the way in senior moving, household liquidations and estate sales management in dozens of cities across the United States. Caring Transitions is part of the International Franchise Association, the Small Business Association’s Franchise Registry, VetFran and Minority Fran. For more information call 1-800-647-0766 or visit

Home Market 2013 – Caring Transitions February Newsletter

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on February 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Home Market 2013

By Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions

In the past year, sales of existing homes rose by 11% or 4.75 million and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects sales to rise to nearly 5.1 million in 2013. Sales have increased across all regions and all price categories.

Despite the positive outlook and improvements in housing market indicators, many remain cautious and lack the complete confidence that consumer spending, employment and lending will fully recover.  The good news is most economists say the majority of these issues will be resolved by the second half of 2013, giving the housing market a chance to continue its positive trend.

Challenges for Buyers

Over the past few years, many potential sellers waited for the market to trend up before listing their homes and during that time much of the home inventory that was out there dried up. As we move into 2013, markets such as Chicago are seeing record lows in inventories. This inventory reduction provides encouraging news for sellers who stand to sell quickly, near or even above list price; however, a low inventory market isn’t so great for buyers, who will undoubtedly face stiff competition for available properties.

The 2013 market may see a rapid increase in prices as an increased number of buyers compete over these low inventories and engage in bidding wars.  Buyers are on the rise in many markets and for many reasons. More buyers will enter the market as the economy recovers and hiring increases. High rental occupancy and rising rents are encouraging renters to move on to homeownership, creating even more buyers and as home prices increase, owners who were in negative equity situations will begin to sell their homes, but they will also become buyers searching for their next home. With so many people looking for properties during a time when home building and financing for builders remains at historical lows, the biggest question  for 2013 may be “Where are the homes?”

Distressed properties are still available in some markets, but even foreclosure filings are expected to dwindle throughout 2013.The number of inexpensive homes for sale  has dropped significantly over the past year. This resulted in an increased number of transactions in the mid to high price ranges and caused dramatic increase in the median home price in many areas.

Fifty cities experienced double-digit increases in home prices, led by Phoenix, with a gain of 28.4% where the properties had become severely undervalued.  Many of the cities that are showing the largest increases are those who suffered most at the beginning of the crisis. They are now on the leading edge of the recovery. Across the board market observers agree that home prices will keep rising in 2013, but they disagree by how much. Forecasters speculate anywhere from a 2% to a 5% increase.

According to Kiplinger’s Report, the following 12 cities report the largest percentage increases in home prices late 2012; Phoenix, AZ, Provo, UT, Ft. Meyers, Fl., Minneapolis, MN., Akron, OH., Youngstown, OH., Seattle, WA., Salt Lake City, UT., Boise, ID., San Jose, CA., Washington, D.C. and Tucson, AZ.

While  these markets experienced the largest percentage decreases in the same time frame; Louisville, KY., Columbia, S.C., Springfield, MA., Baton Rouge, LA., Scranton, PA., Greensboro, N.C., Memphis, TN., Omaha, NE., Knoxville, TN., Toledo, OH., Philadelphia, PA. and Portland, ME.

Challenges for Sellers

Based on the inventory situation, you would think home prices would be skyrocketing and sellers quickly jumping into the market. But it hasn’t really happened.  On one hand desirable homes that are priced well move fast, but on the other hand homes that are too cluttered, in need of serious repair or in poor locations may continue to languish.

And sellers are not yet as optimistic as one would think they’d be. Many sellers entering the market are selling their homes due to affordability problems such as inability to pay their mortgage or finding their investment in an “underwater” position. Others are suffering from job uncertainty, loss of household income or just choosing to move to a more affordable market. These owners’ reasons for selling reflect the hardships that many are experiencing and may explain why sellers are not very hopeful about the future of home prices. According to the Home Buyers Report, only about one in five sellers believe home prices will continue to increase.

Still, the shortage of preferred inventory in the market will still work to the advantage of some buyers, especially those who are well positioned, have a home in reasonably good condition, who seek out the right broker and list at the right price before everyone else jumps in the game.

Let us help you get your home ready for the 2013 selling season! Downsizing, decluttering, estate sale and online auctions from Caring Transitions!

About Caring Transitions

As life changes, it may become necessary to leave a familiar home and part with personal belongings in order to downsize and relocate to a smaller home or retirement community. At Caring Transitions, we help our clients understand the process, evaluate their options and make informed decisions that suit their best interests. We are committed to making each client’s experience positive by minimizing stress and maximizing results.


Ask An Expert – January 2013 Newsletter

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on January 7, 2013 at 10:05 AM

By Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions 

If you are over the age of 70, chances are your 2013 New Year’s resolutions may include items such as “Look into long term care insurance,” “Clean out the basement,” “Investigate housing options, ““Find a home care provider,” “Add grab bars in the bathroom,” or perhaps “Locate a qualified  home helper.”


All of these are good resolutions and things most of us should deal with sooner rather than later. The trick is finding the right resources to help you work through your “later lifestyle” list of resolutions. To help get you started, Caring Transitions has put together a short list of industry “experts” you can turn to for advice and support in 2013.


Housing Choices

With so many care options, amenities and fee structures, it is sometime tough to narrow down your housing choices. Free referral services are available both online through comprehensive directories such as Retirement or you can contact a hands-on expert, such as those working at your local Assisted Transitions office.

Online: or

Other resources:,


Financial Planning

While not specific to senior adults, the Certified Financial Professional (CFP) designation is awarded to those individuals who meet the CFP Board’s experience and exam requirement for financial planning, risk management, insurance planning and more.


Other resources:


Home Care

Finding qualified home care is often a matter of referral by medical professional, friends or family. However, more and more websites offer free search options, such as at and Years Ahead.  Don’t hesitate to ask a potential caregiver for their rates, qualifications and referrals in order to understand if they are right for you!


Other resources:



Whether you are looking for help to pay for prescription drugs, health care, rent, utilities, and other needs or seeking information about your veteran’s benefits, resources are available to you day and night.

Online: and

Other resources:


Home Sale

The National Association of Realtors developed the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) Program in 2006. Realtors who carry the SRES® designation after their name have been trained to understand the needs of their senior clients including housing options, financing and issues facing a later life move from family home.


Other resources:


Legal Matters

A great many resources on elder law may be found at the government’s National Legal resource center. Also, The National Association for Elder Law Attorneys maintains a list of both accredited (CELA-Certified Elder Law Attorneys) and experience qualified attorneys who specifically serve senior clients and their families.


Other resources:


Downsizing, decluttering, estate sale

Caring Transitions® is the only national network of certified home transition and estate sale professionals with offices in over 100 major markets. We also support the CT Online web-based auction site. The Certified Transition Specialist (CRTS®) designation is awarded to those who specialize in downsizing and managing transitions for older adults, including local and long distance relocation to Senior Living Communities.


Other resources,,



In conjunction with government agencies, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) launched their Pro Mover program in 2009 to help the consumer identify and steer clear of moving imposters, known within the industry as “rogue operators,” by giving consumers an easy way to separate reputable, professional movers from con artists out to make a quick buck at their expense. Individuals can locate an interstate Pro Mover by looking for the Pro Mover logo, which is only issued to those companies that meet AMSA standards.  Many state movers’ associations have their own local programs to help qualify local movers. For more information contact your local mover’s association.


Other resources:


No Computer?

No problem! You can call the Eldercare Locator at 1.800.677.1116 or use your phone book to contact your local Senior Center or Area Agency on Aging for a list of qualified providers and their contact information.

Our Resolutions

All Caring Transitions We feel it is important to stay abreast of the current issues and trends so we may thoroughly understand how our society is changing with the “graying of America. It is evident that as the Baby Boomers and their parents grow older, we have a real responsibility to specialize our services to meet our client’s varying needs. All Caring Transitions agents have passed rigorous examination and are CRTS® Certified. Many also carry the CSA professional designation. Our 2013 resolution is to help you carry out your resolutions for the year. We will continue to maintain our high standard of excellence and working in tandem with qualified professionals such as SRES Realtors and Pro Movers in order to provide the best possible service experience for our clients.

Caring Transitions does not endorse or guarantee the services of any of the providers above.


The Gift of Giving – Caring Transitions December Newsletter

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on December 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM

By Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions®

The holiday season represents so many things; a time for giving, for entertaining and spending time with family and friends. For some, the holidays may even be a time to address household clutter. It’s true! Right now, you may be trying to figure out where to stash all the “stuff” that has slowly filled the guest bedroom over the course of the year; or maybe you need to clear piles of paperwork off the dining room table in order to add the extra leaf. Perhaps you have even decided this is the year to buy new lights and a fresh Christmas tree because your artificial tree and old light sets are stored in the far recesses of your basement or attic and your holiday schedule just doesn’t include the time it takes to remove all the boxes from storage, locate the items you need and then replace everything once again.

Most of us hold onto the possessions that fill our homes because we don’t regularly take the time to evaluate the functionality or personal meaning of each item and discard those that are no longer useful.  Instead, as we buy new items, we just set the old aside to be dealt with at some future point in time.  Most of us never find that time and eventually, clutter accumulates. Houses that suffer symptoms of    “over-accumulation” can cause stress as is evidenced by the recent TV shows about “Hoarding. Yet, even on a smaller scale,  too many things in one place may just make us uncomfortable or becomes another source of day- to- day anxiety as we let the growing piles of outdated electronics, broken cooking gadgets and  worn out shoes and handbags go unresolved and unaddressed.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from a bout of holiday household stress due to  an over-abundance of household possessions, we at  Caring Transitions suggest you give yourself the gift of giving this season.

We are not suggesting you choose December as the month to do all of your spring cleaning. It is perfectly ok to make larger household projects part of your 2013 resolutions. However, as you encounter small projects while preparing for the holidays, why not use this opportunity to give some things to those who will need and appreciate them? At the same time, you can accomplish some of your decluttering goals. For example:

Gifting Holiday Décor:

In most counties, there are a number of organizations who provide shelter, housing and group homes for individuals and families in need. Early December is s perfect time to donate excess holiday themed décor. Please only donate items in good condition.  Keep in mind that many of these organizations also need cash donations, furniture, small appliances, linens and other household goods. Decorations and accessories that are no longer in good condition may be gifted to a craft club or hobbyists who may use the items as raw materials.  Holiday items that have sentimental value, but no longer suit your home, may also be gifted to family members.

Gifting Heirlooms:

The holiday season is the perfect time to add to your family legacy by passing on heirlooms to next generations.  And you don’t have to be in your eighties or nineties to begin this kind of gifting.  Make it part of your annual tradition. Give at least one meaningful or sentimental item to another family member. If you have concerns the other party may not understand or appreciate the item, include a card or note that explains why it has special meaning or value. Describe how or why it is part of family history.  It is not always easy to choose the right recipient for family heirlooms and certainly no one wants to start an argument between jealous siblings as gifts are unwrapped. Consider who will most appreciate or use an items and look for family members or friends who have at some point, expressed an interest in the item. As you consider your many sentimental possessions, it may also be the time to ask yourself if anyone in the family will ever appreciate Aunt Rose’s spoon collection. It may fare better if sold or donated to a dedicated collector.

Give and Get

As you stop by your favorite retailer this season to replace your old office supplies and electronics with new ones, bring the old ones along.  The following is a short list of national retailers who provide recycle services. Please visit retailer websites for more information, applicable fees and restrictions. Also, in the spirit of “giving” don’t forget to ask a housebound or elderly neighbor if you can drop off some of their stuff too!

Best Buy: everything from TVs to refrigerators, games, stands, cell phones, rechargeable batteries and printer cartridges

Staples: ink and toner cartridges, desktops, laptops, printers and peripherals like keyboards, mice and speakers

Apple Store:  cell phones, Apple products, computers, displays, and peripherals. Cables, mice, keyboards, speakers, printers, scanners and hard drives,

Verizon: wireless phones, batteries and accessories

Other Gifts:

The short list below may also help you find the perfect gift for others who need a little help with their own holiday organization.


Regardless of how you choose to handle your own home and property, make choices that provide value to you personally while improving someone’ else’s at the same time. Giving to others has always been the best gift we give ourselves and we wish you many “giving moments” this season!

From all of us at Caring Transitions,

Happy Holidays!


Cornucopia – November Newsletter

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on November 29, 2012 at 8:38 AM

By Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions®

Holidays are an opportunity for families to come together in celebration. Over the next few months you will hear a great deal from advisors and elder care professionals who suggest we use this time of family gathering as an opportunity to evaluate our parents’ well-being, to advance discussions about housing options and long term care insurance; to take a closer look at mom’s “activities of daily living” or to hold a “ parent conversation” with dad.  Much of this advice should be heeded to an extent, as it is undoubtedly a valuable exercise for families to gain a clear understand their parents’ plans and wishes for the future.

The professionals suggest we pepper dinner table conversation with well-placed, open-ended questions such as Where do you see yourselves 3 years from now?”  Or “What is your favorite holiday memory?”  And many of us will do just that, in the hopes of giving our parents a chance to share their plans and their legacy.

We hope to gain something from these conversations, a little guidance, a little insight. The responses to our questions may not always be what we want to hear but since it’s the holidays, we will try our best not to criticize or pass judgment or force our opinions on others. We will sit back in our chairs and really listen and then, when we have the opportunity, we will share some information with our parents as well.

What kind of information? We could tell them where to get help with downsizing and decluttering or how to find more information on local senior living options. We can try and give them financial advice and share the latest about the health of the housing market. Or, more importantly, we can tell them what we love about them. We can share favorite stories of past family gatherings and thank them for their commitment to us. As adult children with children of our own, many of us have a great new understanding of just how many hours dad spent hanging holiday lights or putting toys together at midnight. We can finally truly appreciate how much effort mom put into filling stockings, making holiday meals, baking cookies and wrapping gifts. This year is the year to thank them and to share our best memories of them with them.

We can present our parents with a virtual cornucopia of good memories and gratitude for all they have done. At this particular time of life, when constant worry over their health and welfare threatens to define our relationship, we have an opportunity to redefine it with caring and with commitment.

Commitment. There is probably no better way to express gratitude to parents than by affirming our commitment to them. Reminding them that we are here for them, at any hour, without any inconvenience, with no threat to their independence and nothing but respect for their lifestyle, wishes and choices. Commitment means letting them know they remain a priority in the midst of busy schedules and hectic lives.  And commitment means letting them know that while our relationship dynamic may change a little, we do not believe “the child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child.” We will continue to respect them as our parent, always.

In 1990, a Japanese woman founded an unusual enterprise. Noticing that many elderly Japanese were increasingly isolated from their children by the frantic pace of contemporary life, she established a company where lonely older adults could “rent a relative.” Surrogate sons, daughters or grandchildren could be rented to show up at the door and gush as if they haven’t seen the client in years. They’d stay for a long chat, share concerns, sip tea and possible perform some minor repairs around the house. Many thought the business was sure to fail, but instead, thousands hired the service and the business was a great success. When asked why she believed the business had taken off, the owner said “What is common about our clients is that they are thirsty for love. They all reach an hour in their life where they cry out to the people they need and when the response doesn’t come, they finally pick up the phone and call us.”

Commitment means letting your parents know they may have to hire home care, maybe even health care, but they will never have to hire a family.

The late ethicist Lewis Smedes said it well, “Commitment means reaching into unpredictable times and making one thing predictable, that I will be there.  I will throw myself into uncertainty …and create the certainty of my caring presence. “

From all of us at Caring Transitions, we wish you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season.

©2012 RSL for Caring Transitions. No reprint in part or entirety without express written permission.

Selling a Home? Improve Your Time on Market

 Posted by Rebecca Hasbrook on October 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM

In a news release issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in early September, a new statistical measurement showed the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking. Average selling time for non-distressed homes is in the six to seven week range. By comparison, time on the market during the housing “boom” was 4 weeks and during the subsequent housing “bust”, 10 weeks.

“As inventory has tightened, homes have been selling more quickly,” the report said. “A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between homebuyers and sellers in much of the country. This equilibrium is supporting sustained price growth, and homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market.”

There are two other reasons non-distressed homes may remain on the market longer than average. These include “Condition” and “Marketing.”


If you are one of many home sellers who wonder why the house down the street just sold at an asking price similar to yours, it is time to look at the condition of your home. The concept of “home staging” has been around for a number of years now, but some sellers may not yet realize that preparing their home for sale isn’t just an option, it is a necessity. When a home is in disrepair, too dirty or too cluttered, buyers may not be able to see beyond the mess to effectively compare the home value to other properties.

The NAR states the average home staging investment is between 1 and 3 percent of the home’s asking price, and generates a return of 8 to 10 percent. According to other home staging statistics, an average expenditure of $575 for simple cleaning, decluttering, lightening and brightening provides a return of over $2,400 on the sale price of an average home, which is more than a 400% return on investment.

In those cases where a home is densely cluttered and requires more than “simple” cleaning, professional estate sale and online auction services cost the same or even less than basic staging services and produce similar results. Typically, professional estate sale management fees are paid as a percent of sale proceeds. Once those fees plus any additional administration fees have been paid, the net sales gain belongs to the home owner. As a result, the owner gains not only from the net revenues of the sale but also the increased value of a decluttered home. Even in situations where the outcome of an estate sale is just “break even”, the seller still benefits from the improved value of the home.

Some real-estate agents recommend home inspections before placing a home on the market and others suggest you should save the $200-$400 cost of inspection because the buyer will pay for  it done prior to closing. Yet, in today’s market, it may be an advantage to be proactive and complete all repairs before you list.

According to the staging statistics, basic improvements such as plumbing, electrical, exterior and interior paint produce 50-100% ROI and larger remodeling projects, especially kitchens and baths, result in even higher returns for sold properties.


If you haven’t sold a home in awhile, take some time to understand how homes are marketed these days. Technology has not only changed the way buyers look for homes but also the way homes are priced and presented to buyers.

If you decide to sell the house yourself, set a time limit to maintain your own listing before you consider hiring a professional. Certainly saving a 6% commission may provide you with a price advantage, but if you do not have the right information or don’t fully understand the pitfalls of a slow and changing marketplace, listing a house month after month without the guidance of an experienced professional may cost you more money in the long run.

Either way, it is important to fully understand local housing trends and review comparable sales figures. As markets change rapidly, you will want to find the most current information. You can use sites such as and, or again, get the advice of a professional agent. As noted above, establishing the right price is your first and most important rule when selling a home.

One you have established your price and listing method the details must be managed. Consider how much better the search results for your home may be if you list at $399, 999 instead of $400,000 and be sure to take pictures of the home after the decluttering, cleaning and repairs are complete. Of course the best pictures are professionally done. Buyers will spend more time perusing properties that have more than just a cover photo so take advantage of websites that allow multiple photographs to help you display the home’s best features.

A complete marketing program includes more than website and online tools, but also print collateral for showings and open houses, as well as a strategy for bringing in successful brokers and serious, qualified buyers.

The Good News:

It is anticipated that these overdue but positive trends in home sales and housing inventory will continue into the fall season and subsequently, according the NAR report, median existing home prices will rise 4.5 to 5 percent in 2012 and about 5 percent in 2013. Additionally, if new home construction doesn’t pick up, those increases could lead to greater supply shortages resulting in more above average increases.

Whether your home is on the market today or tomorrow, be sure to use these trends to your advantage and follow the guidelines for price, condition and market strategy in order to position your home to its greatest advantage.

 – By Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions

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