Having the Talk with Your Aging Parents

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Having The Talk

A Challenging First Step

By Joe Gilmore, Landmark Senior Living

Talking about long-term care needs with an elderly parent or other loved one can be a difficult thing. You may not know exactly how to approach it without coming off as rude or disingenuous. However, when it comes to a loved one’s health, it is important to cast aside how you feel to ensure that they can live safely and happily later in life. It is especially important to have this conversation before a problem occurs, not after.

An American Assoc. of Retired Persons survey found that two-thirds of adult children have never had this conversation. This is most likely due to the fact that a lot of adult children don’t know how to engage in this type of talk, or how to begin it. To begin, you have to decide who is going to be there during the talk and what the discussion is going to center around.

Keeping your loved one or parent safe later in their life is a priority, and talking to them about living situations, such as assisted living or even enlisting the help of a caregiver, is the first step. This is especially true if your parent or loved one has experienced a traumatic event in the recent past, such as a fall or the loss of a spouse.

Tips for the Talk

• Decide how you are going to do it and who’s going to be there. Sometimes a one-on-one talk is best; however, if you need someone to back up your points or provide another point of view, it may be a good idea to get other family members involved.

• Go over which talking points you will speak on before approaching your loved one, and set up a time and place to talk.

• Express each idea as an opinion of yours rather than a need for them. For example, choosing phrases like “I think” or “I need” rather than “you should” or “you need” are good ways to avoid conflict.

• Remind your loved one that everyone is there because they care and want to help keep them safe.

• Stay calm. Don’t raise your voice, speak over your loved one, or encourage any hostility during this discussion, as it will only make the situation worse.

• If your loved one immediately dismisses the idea of leaving their home, it may be best to drop the issue for the moment and bring it back up at another time.

The first step in beginning the talk is setting up how you are going to do it and who’s going to be there. Sometimes it is best for the talk to be a one-on-one; however, if you need someone to back up your points or provide another point of view, it may be a good idea to get other family members or loved ones involved. Every family is different, and it may be a good idea to disregard some family members when deciding who is invited to speak.

It is best to go over which talking points that you will speak on before approaching your parent or loved one. Meeting beforehand to talk about these things is recommended. Create a plan on how you wish to talk about this.

Understanding Your Loves Ones’ Goals for the Future

Your conversation about the future doesn’t have to focus only on a caregiving plan. You may also consider talking generally with your loved ones about what is important to them as they grow older. This checklist can be used as a starting point to better understand their priorities. Start by asking then to check all those that apply and then spend some time talking about each one in a little more detail:
__ To remain as independent as possible for as long as possible

__ To remain healthy and active

__ To remain in my home as long as possible

__ To focus on a hobby

__ To work for as long as possible

__ To become involved in the community

__ To remain as financially independent as possible

__ To take classes

__ To create a safety net in the event of an emergency or crisis situation

__ To start my own business

__ To buy a second home

__ To move closer to my family

__ To relocate to a smaller home

__ To retire in a different place

__ To travel

__ To be able to help my children and grandchildren

After going over the points you will make, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a time and place to talk with your parent or loved one. This may require the use of some type of web communications like Skype or just over the phone if someone can’t be there or lives in a different area.

Depending on how you are hoping to help your parent, there are a few ways to go about this. For example, if you are just hoping to enlist the help of a caregiver, or become the caregiver yourself, it will take less convincing than, say, getting them to agree to be admitted to an assisted-living or residential care facility.

When speaking with a parent or a loved one about what you feel they should do, it is best to phrase it in a way that expresses that it is an opinion of yours rather than a need for them. For example, choosing phrases like “I think” or “I need” rather than “you should” or “you need” are good ways to avoid conflict.

Be sure to remind your parent or loved one that everyone is there because they care and want to help keep them safe. It may even be beneficial to bring up times when your parent may have had their health put at risk — maybe a fall or another incident.

This is also true for other major events like the loss of a spouse. There is evidence that the social isolation that stems from living alone and independently can lead to problems like loneliness and depression.

It is also important not to raise your voice or encourage any hostility during this discussion, as it will only make the situation worse. You should also be aware of when your parent is trying to talk. Do not try to speak over them, as it will likely lead to an argument. Keep your cool and remain calm during the discussion, even if others don’t.

Some parents will dismiss the idea of moving to an assisted-living facility immediately or adamantly. If this is the case, it may be best to drop the issue for the moment and bring it back up at another time down the road.

At the end of the meeting, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the issues, concerns, and considerations presented.

Analysis: Homeowners’ Cost Working with an iBuyer? 13-15%

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Instant offers work well for sellers who want quick closings with minimal preparation, but a study by Collateral Analytics found that homeowners make less money than selling their home on the open market – even after backing out a real estate agent’s commission.

 

NEW YORK – iBuyers – companies that offer homeowners cash upfront for their home with a promise that owners can just walk away – are a relatively new phenomena with new players entering the business every month.

OpenDoor is the largest iBuyer, but the instant-offer market already has other firms involved, such as OfferPad, Zillow Offers, Redfin, Knock, Realogy CataLIST, Perch, Keller Offers and may more.

The real estate industry has been debating the pros and cons of iBuyers, both for the industry and for home sellers, and a study authored by Dr. Michael Sklarz and Dr. Norman Miller with Collateral Analytics took a closer look at the issue in their study, “iBuyers: A new choice for home sellers but at what cost?

“iBuyers offer quicker closings for sellers who would like to avoid the uncertainty of knowing when and if their home will sell,” the authors say in the study “For motivated sellers who want a predictable sale date and need to move … there is no question that iBuyers have provided a welcome alternative to traditional brokerage.”

The purpose of their study is to “address the question ‘Who are the iBuyers, how do they make money, what risks do they face, and what are the benefits for sellers?’”

Overall, the study found that iBuyers cost homeowners 13-15% of their home’s value. While taking a home to market comes at a cost too – generally a real estate commission – it was better to go with an agent if the seller’s goal is to maximize profit rather than move quickly.

The authors concluded that iBuyer sellers “are paying not just the difference in fees of 2% to 5% more than with traditional agencies, and a generous repair allowance, but another 3% to 5% or more to compensate the iBuyer for liquidity risks and carrying costs. In all, the typical cost to a seller appears to be in the range of 13% to 15% depending on the iBuyer vendor.”

Noting that some buyers want a quick-and-easy sale, the authors believe there’s a place for iBuyers in the market, but “what percentage of the market will want this service remains to be seen.”

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

2 Easy Real Estate Tips

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Top Tips to Make Your Offer Stick
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House in HandIt’s that time again, when the real estate market is as hot as the summer sun. Low inventory, multiple-offers, and offers that soar over asking price are great for sellers, not so much for buyers. If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, here are a few tips.

Up your budget
If you’re a first-time buyer looking in a lower price range, you’re in the most competitive market. Getting pre-approved for a little more could move you into a higher price bracket and eliminate some competition. Adding even a few thousand dollars could make the difference, and the change to your monthly mortgage payment will be negligible.

Cut associated expenses
If you’re worried about upping your budget, think of ways to save on associated expenses, and put that money into your mortgage instead. Look for homes without a homeowner’s association. That could save you several hundred dollars per month. Look at areas where you don’t have to pay a toll for your daily commute (or, better yet, where you don’t have to drive at all). Those savings add up.

Watch the contingencies
“Sellers have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, and they want offers that are clean and concise,” says NerdWallet. Asking the seller to pay closing costs, purchase a home warranty, or requesting that they make small repairs like fixing a leaky faucet can get your offer thrown in the trash.

Be flexible
In a multiple-offer situation, the seller is looking for the easiest path to closing. The trick is finding out what they really want—beyond the right price, of course. It could be that a shorter closing would do the trick. Or maybe you can offer them the opportunity to rent back until they’re ready to make their move.

Write a letter
Yes, writing a sappy letter to the seller telling them all about you and why you love their home is shameless pandering, but sometimes shameless pandering works. Include a picture and don’t hesitate to include your cute kids or four-legged friends.

4 DIY Things You Can Do to Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer
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If you live in a place where summer heat is an issue, this time of year can mean substantially higher energy costs. Here are four low-cost, high-impact changes you can make on your own to save money and keep your home more comfortable this summer.

Clean your window sills
A few seasons worth of dirt and soot can prevent your windows from closing all the way. Even a little air getting in can make your AC less efficient and raise your electric bill. Drafty windows are the top energy leak in a typical home, accounting for up to 25% of a home’s energy loss.
Cost: $0-5 (cleaning spray and paper towels)
DIY level: Easy. You can even make this a chore for the kids!

Install a door sweep
“A common place where air leaks occur is under the door leading from the house to the garage because they are often not as well sealed as doors leading directly to the outside,” says Energy Star. Install a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold to prevent cold air from escaping your home.
Cost: $10-15 (per door)
DIY level: Easy. Use a drill to make holes in the door and screws to attach the sweep.

Caulking Window Frame

Caulk your windows
Window air leakage can be reduced by applying a continuous bead of caulk around the window trim where it meets the wall, at the mitered joints of the trim, and between the trim and the frame. Make sure the caulk is intended for indoor use and can be painted. Using Charlotte, NC as an example, the Department of Energy estimated that the average homeowner could save 14% on heating and cooling costs each year with proper air sealing and insulation.
Cost: $3-5 (caulk)
DIY level: Medium. Caulk can get messy, so go slow.

Check your ducts
Ducts are used to distribute AC and heat throughout houses with forced-air systems “In typical houses, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts.” says Energy Star. “The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high utility bills, and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.” You can check all the ducts you can access, such as those in the attic, crawlspace, or garage. Look for holes and tears, and seal them using mastic or metal tape.
Cost: $5-10 (roll of tape)
DIY level: Medium. It’s just taping, but you’ll likely be dealing with tight spaces and a few creepy-crawlies.

An Increasing Surge of Wire Scams & Frauds Across the Real Estate Industry: How can you Protect yourself?

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The lucrative nature of real estate investments and transactions makes them vulnerable to the risk of fraud, robbery, phishing and cybercrimes. As opposed to bank robberies and burglaries, wire net frauds and cyber robberies don’t have a limit to the amount of money that can be looted. 

Wire fraud in the real estate industry appears to be the fastest growing amongst all cybercrimes prevalent across the US. In 2017, the authorities reported losses more than $1.4 billion while complaints were registered by 301,580 individuals and firms. Moreover, statistics reveal that more than 9,600 investors and renters were looted of $56 million in the real estate industry last year. 

So, how does a real estate fraud actually occur? 

Basically, the fraudsters and crooks conduct fake real estate transactions by adopting the identity of a real estate agent from a reputable firm or someone related to the agent handling the purchase. The fraudsters forge the identity, email and other important details to create a highly authentic and credible image that can be easily trusted by the buyer or organization. After posing as a credible agent, they scam the buyers with fallacious emails and instructions of wire to a bank account, which belongs to the fraudster. 

Earlier in June, the federal authorities have launched a coordinated law enforcement initiative, WireWire, to take down all BEC schemes that attempt to intercept and hijack wire transfers. In a short period of 6 months, this effort has managed to make 74 arrests, and recovered $14 million from fraudulent wire transfers. However, the risk of being a victim is still looming high above the buyer’s head. 

How can you protect yourself? 

Reports from the FBI reveal that business email scams and compromises have accumulated loss of over $12 billion and the numbers keep growing with every passing day. It is a common practice for fraudsters to hack the buyer’s email account and monitor all the correspondence taking between the buyers and real estate agents. 

The scammers wait until the two parties head towards the transaction, and at the very last moment, they contact the buyer with fake emails to make it appear like the agent is using a different account to ask for a money to be wired to another account. Fraudsters can also hack the email accounts of real estate agents and professionals. So basically, not only your money and your investment are at stake, but more importantly, your personal identity and your personal/financial information linked with your email account are also at risk. 

These wire transfers amount up to a great deal of money, and personal identities and information are also valuable for such scammers. It is important for buyers and real estate agents to adopt a more secure way to communicate and conduct business transactions. Most important, email accounts should be password protected. It is also important to make sure you verify all emails that ask you to wire funds or pay any kind of amount. Be sure to verify all the details and sudden changes by contact your real estate firm or agent on a verified number. 

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019?  Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Why You Need to Make Home Buying Your New Year’s Resolution

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Losing weight, starting an exercise plan, or giving up on smoking are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions for a vast majority of individuals. But have you ever thought that buying a home should be in your New Year’s plan? Let’s face it, you have been dreaming about moving into your own home for such a long time. You even have plans for the kitchen cabinets and a backyard where your kids can play with your dog. But somehow you have not been able to convert your dreams into reality. It is finally the time to stop postponing your decision and start the home buying process….welcome to 2019!

 

Buying a home is a great New Year’s resolution

If you have been living in a rented place for a long time, isn’t it the right time to stop making the bank account of your landlord happy? It’s time to treat your family to a place that it can truly call its own!

 

Benefits of home ownership should spur you into action

There are so many benefits of buying a home that it would take a full article to describe each one of them. But just the fact that you can have your own home with the same (or less) monthly payment that you are now paying as rent should be reason enough to spur you into action. You would need money to put forward in the form of down payment but this money helps in building equity into your home.

 

Mortgage rates are going up and so are the prices of properties. Waiting any longer will only make it that much more difficult for you to buy a home. If you make home buying as a New Year’s resolution, the first step is to contact The Hanley Home Team to help you create an achievable action plan. Give us a call and let’s make it a GREAT 2019 together – www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-515-2479 Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty

Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

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The best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

 

Source: Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

By Brooke Nally

If you’re into renovation projects, then updating and revamping your home can be a lot of fun. But before you get too excited about knocking down walls and setting up a custom movie room, you might want to consider resale value. Flashy renovations don’t always yield the best returns, so you’ll need to take care when picking projects.

To make things easier for you, here are four remodels to avoid and four to invest in.

Remodels to Avoid

Luxury Rooms
An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool
The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents
Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards
If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of REALTORS® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels
As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding
The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

The Best Holiday Gift – A New House!

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By Stacey King, REALTOR

Summer is the time to sell your home, right?

You might think that from the stories out there. But the reality is that buyers are always looking for homes. You just need to find the right buyer.

During the summer, homes that are for sale usually see a significantly higher amount of traffic versus their fall and winter counterparts. Some buyers looking in the summer have the philosophy that if they find the “perfect” house and can move in before school starts, they’ll move. If they don’t, they won’t. There’s not a big sense of urgency. That leads to passive buyers flooding open houses, requesting showings and not submitting offers.

The fall is a different story.

After a small traditional dip at the beginning of September, things in the real estate industry pick up in time for fall. While there are fewer “lookey loos” checking things out but not making offers, the buyers who are looking are serious.
There are plenty of things to do during the weeks leading up to Halloween, Thanksgiving and the December holidays. A buyer who is taking time to look for homes is doing it for a reason — because they need to buy a home. Now.

For a seller, this is a winning combination. The buyers looking at your home are serious and ready to make offers, and there are fewer “passive” buyers walking through and taking a peek at your home when they’re not pressed to purchase a home. This means a reduced inconvenience for sellers accommodating showings, and more (often stronger) offers.

Is now the time to sell your home? Call the Hanley Home Team and we’ll walk you through it! http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-515-2479 Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside

7 Ways Downsizing Saves You Money

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Downsizing is hardly a dirty word these days, especially as Baby Boomers begin to question the size of their home, and more Millennials are finally making their way into the world. Home ownership is a good investment at any size, and if you’ve ever wanted to free up some cash for the rest of life’s joys (travel? new hobbies? investing?), downsizing can be a great way to rightsize your budget. Here are seven ways downsizing can foster a little more financial freedom:

1. Utility costs. If your gas and electric bills have been climbing year over year, consider the pleasant surprise of heating and cooling 1,200 sq. ft. instead of 3,500. Controlling the climate in empty spare bedrooms is pointless when you don’t need the room. What’s more, you can count on fewer houseguests with less space, and this, in turn, can decrease utility costs.

2. Maintenance costs. How big is that lawn? How many rooms need to be refreshed with a coat of paint? How many windows do you need to wash, and what about the size of that driveway that must be repaired and sealed?

3. Insurance. Your insurance bill is based in large part on your appraisal, and if your new home is smaller, your insurance bill should shrink as well. (This can vary based on location and levels of coverage, of course, but you would be hard pressed to insure less for more!)

4. Property taxes. Much like insurance, tax rates tend to be based on a percentage of assessed value. Here’s a few more dollars back into your wallet.

5. Repairs. How many toilets do you need to have fixed? Appliances? Light fixtures to keep lit? The smaller home has fewer leaking faucets and a smaller roof to replace. Your overall spend on maintenance goes down when you have less home to maintain.

6. Furniture. Downsizing is a perfect opportunity to sell excess furniture and find keep only those pieces well-loved or essential for your new smaller space.

7. Hosting and entertaining. When you’ve got that spra

wling home, your place is ground zero for out-of-town guests, relatives, and holiday parties. As your space shrinks, so does your annual hosting and entertaining budget. Besides, if you really want to throw a shin-dig, you can take some of that downsizing cash and pick a perfect venue.

Looking to downsize and redirect that extra cash? Get in touch: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

What is Absorption Rate and Why Is Important to the Sale of Your Home?

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Interest rates are going up and should again this December and likely 3 more times next year. Absorption rate directly affects the pricing of your home.  Get in touch and we can let you know the absorption rate of your zip code and even your neighborhood.  What is absorption rate?  Find out here: What is absorption rate?