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Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES Keller Williams Sunset Corridor Beaverton Oregon

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Making Homes Safe for Seniors

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

In a 2010 AARP study, nearly three quarters of the people surveyed said they wanted to remain in their own homes as long as they can.

As we age we become more fragile and living in our homes become more challenging... and risky.  Health issues and side effects from medications increases the chance of injury.  Falling risks also increase, the leading cause of death for those over 65.

However, 48% of home accidents experienced by seniors are avoidable.

Adult children need to be aware that their senior family members (SFM) needs and abilities are ever changing.  And they can happen fast.  Keeping up with modifications could mean the difference of a SFM living in their own home or in a care facility. 

It's very important that adult children take at least one day a year to perform a thorough safety inspection of their SFM's home.  About two-thirds of adult children say their SFM has at least 1 safety hazard in their home.  However, about 70% of seniors say their homes need no modifications and are safe.  Father knows best?  See the problem here?

Only 18% of senior homes have safety modifications/fixes made by either the SFM or their children.

The most common safety hazards are:

1) Tripping hazards

2) Bathrooms without assisting equipment

3) Storage too high or too low

4) Poor lighting

 

Here's just a few thing things you can do to make your SFM's home safer:

Clear fire escape routes.  Have an escape plan.

Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they work.

Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Remove unused furniture and clutter.  Furniture that may be leaned on needs to be stable.  If not, remove it.

Clear paths in the home for movement, and once cleared, don't rearrange furniture.

Cushion sharp corners on furniture, walls and cabinets.

Remove throw rugs.

Repair loose carpet and tiles.

Use non-skid wax on floors.

Place colored tape or removable decals on glass doors and windows to mark them from accidentally walking in to them.

Increase wattage (only to manufacturers recommended maximum) on bulbs in bathrooms, bedrooms, stairwells, halls and outside.  No-glare bulbs (indirect light) are best.

Use automatic night lights in well traveled areas.

Install grab rails in bathrooms and tubs.

Convert faucets handles to lever-style ones.

Replace wall mounted shower heads with a hand held shower head and hose.

Use non-skid mats in and out of the tub/shower.

Use a toilet seat that is a different color than the toilet bowl.

Consider using monitors and intercoms inside and out.

Remove raised thresholds, fast closing doors.

Replace round door knobs with lever-style knobs.

Make sure electric and telephone cords are out of the way and secured.

Make chair seats 20" high.  Arm rests should be sturdy enough to support weight.

Have friends, neighbors and family clear snow, ice and leaves outside.

For wheel chair and walker use:

Consider automatic door openers.

Allow 18-24" clearance from the door on the landings.

A minimum of 32" is needed for wheelchairs to access doorways.  Widening a door can be done by removing trim or with offset/swing-clear hinges.

If access to a second floor is needed, install a chair stair elevator.

 

Most changes can be simple, inexpensive and done by the SFM or adult child.  Others may cost a bit more.  A licensed professional should be hired to perform major changes for safety and liability reasons.  There are government and non-profit groups that are available to help seniors with modifications.  Some are free or at a lower cost.  A lot of repairmen and contractors offer a senior discount.  Churches may also have people who can assist you.

See these links on obtaining government grants.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8629734_government-grants-senior-home-repairs.html

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grants-senior-citizens-fix-up-homes-53480.html

 

Here are some other helpful links, some of which added information to this blog.

Stay safe!

 

http://www.caring.com/articles/senior-home-safety

http://www.csa.us/freeresources/freeguide/homesafetyguide/

http://www.caregiverstress.com/senior-safety/making-home-safer/safety-checklist/

http://stopfalls.org/

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/index.html

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

Keller Williams has more offices on the 2014 Real Trends 500

by Denise Townsend Group

Top Keller Williams Offices Expand Presence on REAL Trends 500

With a 13 percent increase in the number of brokerages ranked by transactions and a 9 percent increase in the number of brokerages ranked by sales volume, Keller Williams has 126 represenatives on the 2014 REAL Trends 500 – more than any other franchise listed. The report is an annual ranking published by REAL Trends, Inc., a leading source of analysis and information on the residential brokerage and housing industry.

The Keller Williams brokerages on the list increased the number of transactions they handled by 30 percent year over year. Moreover, Keller Williams offices increased their sales volume – that is, the cumulative sales price of all properties sold – by 42 percent. The Keller Williams representatives on this year’s REAL Trends 500 handled approximately 377,000 transactions and more than $90 billion in sales.

“We are thrilled by the performance of the Keller Williams teams on the REAL Trends 500,” CEO Mark Willis said. “Our enhanced representation on the list reflects the incredible gains our associates are achieving for their businesses and for their clients.”

Keller Williams also increased its representation on the REAL Trends Canadian 250, with the number of offices listed by both transactions and volume increasing 18 percent year over year.

Keller Williams Realty’s strong showing on the REAL Trends 500 mirrors the company’s achievements in 2013:

  • Becoming the largest real estate franchise by agent count in North America.
  • Being named the #2 training organization across all industries by Training Magazine.
  • Achieving 95 percent office profitability.
  • Helping associates earn 30 percent more in gross commission income.

“As a company, Keller Williams is firing on all cylinders,” President Mary Tennant said. “We are incredibly proud of the passion, focus and commitment of all of our family members on the REAL Trends 500. They’re building dynamic businesses and delivering extraordinary client service, which is always a win-win combination.”

For more information about the REAL Trends 500, visit realtrends.com.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Growth, Leads, Leverage, Listings, Marketing & Branding
 
 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

Elder Financial Fraud

by Denise Townsend Group

Senior financial abuse is becoming the crime of the 21st century.

In order for fraud to take place we need to learn about the fraud triangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rationalization (or attitude) and Pressure (or incentive) can not be changed.  People are going to commit a crime if they want to.  Opportunity is the only thing you can control.  More on this to follow.

In Oregon, from 2009-2012 fraud allegations rose from 2,153 to 2,811.  Substantiations rose from 612 to 828.  For various reasons, fraud is not always reported.  A lot has to do with fear of retaliation.  Or family and friends are involved and people do not want to report them.  Oregon's highest fraud counties: Multnomah, Columbia, Coos, Curry and Jackson. 

Statistics:

About $3 billion is annually stolen from 9.5% of the elderly population, or 5.9 million people (2010)

Typically, the thieves are not strangers.

For every 1 case reported, 4 or 5 are not.

Neglect is the #1 crime,  emotional/physical abuse #2, and fraud is #3.

Financial costs:

20% of victims end up having financial or credit issues.

Health care choices are limited due to the lack of income.

Due to age, re-cap of monetary losses are limited.

Emotional costs:

Most victims relate fraud to a violent crime.

Increased depression occurs

General mistrust with everyone

Possible paranoia

A lack of independence occurs

Physical costs:

Deteriorating health

Unnecessary institutionalization increases

Medical needs may become limited

 

Perpetrators can be family members taking advantage of the situation or think it's their entitlement due to taking care of an elder or inheritance rights.  It can also be drug, alcohol or gambling related, survival (kids living with parents because they have no other means) or a social behavior problem.  Often times, it is the sons more than the daughters, but statistics are changing.  More men between the ages of 40-59 and women between 30-59 commit these crimes.

Other, more common, perpetrators (but not all):  non-agency caregivers, life and health insurance misrepresentation, predatory lenders, internet scams, security/bond scams, unscrupulous contractors, lottery scams, professional con artists, travelers (people who travel from one city to another, perform a couple scams and move on to the next place).  Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.  Buyer beware.  Ask for references, license information, insurance documentation and other credentials to prove their work.  If they can't, don't deal with them.  Even people and businesses who have never committed a crime may find themselves tempted to do so.

Here are some red flags to watch for:

Isolation - often times if someone is committing fraud they will try and keep the victim away from family, friends and their usual routine.  This way they have total control over them.

Bank Accounts Change- if their is a change in the current account to who is handling it or new accounts and money transfers, question it.  It's a good idea to get duplicate statements sent to you as well if you are in charge of a loved one.  This way you can follow transactions and balances.  Also, consider using a credit protection company to monitor accounts.  Keep checks, credit and bank cards locked up when not in use.  If you have power of attorney, don't mingle funds and keep the rest of the family in the loop so their is no mistrust.

Delinquent bills - this could be due to other financial issues, but again, question and investigate it.

Caregivers handling finances - it's not a good idea to let strangers handle your money.  If need be, deal with small purchases and small amounts of cash.  ALWAYS get the receipts.  It's best to use a trusted family member or an agency who pays for such purchases and charges you.  Have a trusted person double check your purchases.

Anxiety about personal finances - again, this could be unrelated to fraud, but verify why.  Maybe the criminal is threatening behavior if payments are not made?  Or their are second thoughts on why a person is giving up money.

New BFF - a new best friend may be a new besty or it may be someone  taking advantage of an elder.  It could be a harmless, having fun and spending money friendship.  But double check.  Find out the persons name and other pertinent information and perform a background check.  Just searching for a name online can come up results for free.

Missing property or belongings - we all misplace things and get forgetful, but don't blame that on advanced age.  Be extra cautious when its a person with a mind disability.  Caregivers, delivery people, grandchildren...  all are suspect.  Take inventory, pictures or set up "Granny" cams for surveillance.

 

If you ever suspect fraud, you need to report it to the authorities.  Contact the police and the Department of Human Services in your area.  For the office near you call DHS at 1-800-232-3020.  Also, get an attorney.  Some speculate in elder law.

For more reporting information you can visit the DHS website here.

 

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

 

 

 

55+: Why Sell? Why Stay? How to Prepare. Part 3 of 3

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

Part 3, How to Prepare

There is no doubt about it, moving is a lot of work.  Selling your home, buying a new one, working with agents, buyers and sellers, getting both homes ready, changes of addresses, and packing - just to name a few - is time consuming.

It's also something that shouldn't be done alone.  Seniors need to share their plans with their family and get them involved.  This reduces the stress and questions over aging, health, health care, safety, distance, finance and inheritance. 

This blog, and the 2 parts previous, need to read and planned with everyone in the family.

 

It's you that's moving...

 

Start thinking and planning on the years ahead

Start now!  (Even if you are not close to retirement).  Where do you want to be?  How do you want to spend your time.  What size home do you want?  Will children and grandchildren be visiting? 

Prepare emotionally

It's hard to move and leave those memories behind.  I've personally experienced this with my grandfathers home.  After most things were moved out, I was walking through it and had almost 50 years of memories flashback.  Again, it's hard to let go.  But, eventually we must.  Start focusing on your new life and make it a positive experience.

What's your income level going to be?

The best thing to do is meet with your financial planner and decide what you can afford to do during your retirement.

How long will you work?

As posted in Part 2, people are working in to their later years.  This will definitely make a difference in what you do and how you do it. 

What is my home worth?

Hopefully you do not have to move when the market is down.  Although their is no crystal ball to foresee this (I wish), talk to an agent for a free market analysis.  Here is our link.  No mater what the market is, it doesn't hurt to find out.  We'll let you know if the time is right for you.

Here's to your health

As posted in Part 1, health can play a huge role in what you do.  It's the difference between a home, assisted living or a care facility.  If you are going to buy your own home consider it's size, number of levels and access.  While shopping for a new home keep these things things in mind. Remodeling before moving in is a great time to adjust for possible aging and health concerns.

Are my children financially fit?

Because of the recent economy, a lot of children are moving back home or may be there now.  This can put  a halt to your retirement needs, temporarily or permanently.  If there is a possibility of your children and their families moving back, and you intend to help them if that were to happen, have a contingency plan for your retirement dreams. Remember, Family Feud is a game show, not something you want to experience in real life.

Keep your home up to date

What seems to have been great over the last 40 years to you probably will not be great to someone in todays market.  Outdated homes generally sell for less.  So do homes that have not been maintained.  Don't put things off because you are moving.  Buyers will ask for repairs.  Some lenders will too in ordered for the buyers loan to be accepted .  Not doing repairs may cost you the sale, and a failed sale puts up a red flag to other buyers, which makes it tough to get people interested in your home.  As far as updates, consider spending some money to make money.  Your agent can give you insight to what should and what could be done to to help your home value.

Take, give and throw away

Do you have 40 years of treasures?  20?  5?  Even if it's a few years off, start organizing and cleaning now.  Decided what to keep, what to give to family and friends, what to donate and what needs to be thrown away.  Unsure?  Put it in a box and put that days date on it.  If you haven't opened it up in a year, toss it.

 

Is it your parents/grandparents moving...

 

Express your concerns and be empathetic. 

Don't push unless it's serious or a timing issue.

Support them through all aspects of the move.

Ask questions they may not ask, or may be afraid to ask, about the process, details, etc.

And most importantly, think of them, not you.

 

As an SRES, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I have the training to meet your needs.  Our Team, including my wife Denise who has been a realtor for 24 years, are here to help.  We live by our motto: "Results with a Caring Touch".

Other experts to consult during the process are your mortgage office, accountant, financial planner and lawyer.  Don't have one of these?  Call us.  We have a large referral network.

Take care!

 

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

 

 

55+: Why Sell? Why Stay? How to Prepare. Part 2 of 3

by Denise Townsend Group

Part 2, Why Stay?

 

Aging in Place.

A lot of our grandparents and great-grandparents had plans to retire and move somewhere else.  Become a Snowbird and live in Florida for the winter months.  Move to that second home in the country.  Buy a smaller home in a retirement community because the kids were gone. All this was common.  Not so much anymore.  "I'm going to stay here until the day I die" is now often said.  People have spent years making a home a home.  Homes can be modified to meet your aging needs.  Home health care and delivery services is becoming common and a preferable choice rather than hospital or nursing home care.

Working in to their later years.

In some cases this is necessary to make ends meet financially.  For others, the idea of retiring and taking it easy sounds good until they try it.  Boring!  Working full-time past retirement age is becoming more and more common.  So is working part-time.  Baby Boomers don't want to take it as easy as their Silent and GI generation parents.

People are healthier, living longer.

Marketing, self-awareness, education and medical breakthroughs are keeping us around longer, and generally healthier.  Remember, Boomers are "forever young".  And they want to stay that way.  Health and home goes hand in hand.  As long as they can keep up the home, and get around it, they're staying.

Cautious of the markets.

Those approaching or in retirement age remember the recessions of 1980, 2000 and 2008.  Housing markets are not predictable.  Some people are shy to make a move from a home with equity, paid-off or nearly paid-off.  It's become a wait and see approach for some.

Children.

Many people choose to stay close to their families. Even if they have to move for some reason, they want to be within a few hours drive.  Younger Boomers may still be raising children at home.  Due to the latest recession, children are moving back home or staying after college due to the lack of jobs.  And there is a rise in the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren due to family and financial issues.

Houses are an investment.

The GI and Silent generations didn't look at real estate as a big investment.  It was just a home.  Not so with the remaining generations.  And walking away from an investment is not an easy thing, or even an option.

No urgent needs.

If it's not broke, don't fix it.  Why move if you are financially set to stay.  Your health is good so there are no worries about maintenance or getting around.

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

55+: Why Sell? Why Stay? How to Prepare. Part 1 of 3

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group
 
  
This is part 1, Why Sell (or move)?

 

Here are some Facts:

In 2010:

More than one-third of the U.S. population reached age 50
 

—17 million Baby Boomers, 20 percent, were age 60 or older.

Generation X moved into middle age and began knocking on the door of age 50

80% of homeowners are 50+

 

There are 6 Generation classifications:

G.I. - 90+ years old, 1.5% of the population, 4.8 million people

Silent - 69-89 yrs old, 11.4% of the population, 35.3 million people

Baby Boomers - 50-68 yrs old, 24.6% of the population, 76.5 million people

Gen X - 38-49 yrs old, 16% of the population, 49.6 million people

Gen Y - 20-37 yrs old, 24.8% of the population, 77.2 million people

Gen Z - 19 or younger, 21.4% of the population, 66.5 million people

 
Why Sell?
 
Bigger home
For some, getting older means going larger.  Maybe you had a smaller home and now you can afford something newer and larger.  Perhaps you want room for visiting children and grandchildren.  For some, they may need a larger home because their children are returning home due to the economic down turn.  And more and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren.
 
Down-size.
On the other hand, empty nesters may want a smaller place to take care of because they don't need or want the room.  Maybe a spouse has passed on.  People also down-size because they have a vacation or retirement home and don't want to take care of a larger home when they come back to visit.  Or maybe they are moving to that smaller vacation home.  Maybe it's health related and a single-level home is easier to get around in than a multi-level home.
 
Active Adult Community.
As in our previous blogs, these communities have like-minded people who have down-sized.  They are made up of retired or retiring people.  Some are "snow birds" that have winter residences in warmer climates.  They offer single-level homes, condos and apartments, making it easier to get around now or in the future.
 
Health.
Unfortunately, we sometimes can't control what becomes of us heath wise.  Progressive or chronic conditions, urgent needs, sudden changes and advanced conditions force us to move.  Maybe it's just down-sizing to a single-level home or one in an adult community.  Other times it's to various assisted living facilities because more advanced care is needed. 
 
Family Concerns.
Family members often get concerned about where their parents and grandparents live.  The world is full of "what ifs".  What if you fall...  What if something needs to be fixed...  What if you need to get a hold of someone in an emergency...  These are not signs of nagging, but of concern.  Concerns also include the loved ones income level, being alone, safety in the neighborhood and living too far away, just to name a few. More and more popular are children who purchase extended family homes; homes for them, their children and their parents or grandparents.  Usually these homes have separate living quarters, with all the amenities, on a smaller and private scale.  Money to purchase these homes are sometimes shared or gifted from the sale of the other home.
 
Income.
People now a days are working longer and not retiring, or semi-retiring.  It may be necessary to keep the income coming in, but for some, they don't want to slow down and retire.  Others may find they can not afford a large home even if it is paid off.  Taxes and maintenance are expensive.  Moving elsewhere or to a smaller home may save them a lot of money when they do retire.
 
 

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

— 

Spring has Sprung, the Grass has Riz, does Anyone know what the Shape of my House is?

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

OK, that may not have been grammatically correct, but seriously, how is your house?  With the days getting longer and warmer, now is the time to see how your home fared through the winter.

Here's some things to look at and correct:

- Clean your roof of debris and moss. You'll be saving yourself costly repairs, and the life of your roof.  We suggest getting a professional to do it.  They can inspect it the same time as cleaning. And it keeps you safely on the ground.

- At the same time, have the gutters cleaned.

- Check your attic for leaks and mold.

-Check your crawl space for standing water.  If you find it, get it fixed.  Water will lead to mold in your attic.

-When you turn on your irrigation and outside faucets, check for freeze damage.  Water leaks can get expensive if you don't notice them.

- Prune, or have pruned, trees and shrubs away from eaves, gutters and siding.  Tree limbs should be a minimum of 3 feet from your home.  Limbs that rub cause damage and shading leads to moss, and in some cases, rot.

- Check your siding and decks for wear on the finish.  If it looks like you need paint or stain, start planning on repairing it.

- Check weather seals and caulking on windows and doors.  Repair them now, don't wait until Fall.  You may forget or run out of time.

- Fertilize your landscape and lawn and get rid of those weeds.

- Spring clean: windows, dryer ducts, furnace and filters, air ducts, the garage, remove clutter...

Owning a home is a lot of work, but it's an investment.  Taking care of it will pay off in the end.

If you need professional advice, we have a lot of great contractors to refer you to.

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

Buying is Still Cheaper than Renting

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

Even thought mortgage rates are slightly higher, buying is still 35% cheaper than renting in the top 100 largest metro cities.

How?  When prices and rates are rising?  Because both home prices and mortgage rates are rising a very low levels and are still below the long-term historical lows.   There are a few markets - San Francisco, San Jose and Honolulu - that are close to the tipping point where renting may become cheaper.

Mortgage rates the last 40+ years

 

To figure out the options of buying versus renting, first do the math:

1) Compare IDENTICAL properties for sale and for rent and come up with an average price.

2) Compare the initial costs of owning versus renting (taxes, insurance, maintenance).

3) Estimate the future monthly costs of owning versus renting (rent increases and inflation).

4) Add in one-time costs such as closing costs, down payment, security deposits and sales proceeds.

5)  Calculate the net present value to account for the opportunity cost of money.

Assuming a 4.8% mortgage rate, 30 year fixed loan with 20% down, itemized federal tax deductions, a 25% tax bracket and you stay in your home for 7 years, buying is 35% cheaper than renting.

 

Buying versus renting is not just about the numbers.  Both owning and renting has advantages.  Owning gives you more control over your home, what you can do with it and is an investment.  Renting gives you more flexibility to change locations and time that would otherwise be spent taking care of a home, and allows for investing in other areas. 

The information for this blog was referenced from Trulia Trends.  www.trulia.com/trends/2013/09/rent-vs-buy-summer-2013/

 

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

The Benefits of Senior Community Living

by Tom Townsend, Denise Townsend Group

Like I said in my last blog, Senior Living is all about people 55 or better who are like-minded with interests and lifestyles like their own.  That's why they are sometimes referred to as affinity communities; having someone in common.

The benefits of these communities are designed for the person 55 or better.  They are designed to offer a piece if mind to you the buyer and your family (one less worry going both ways).  They are the stepping stones to the next stage of your life; retirement and pursuing the dreams you've had for decades.  Most of these communities are close to where you live now.  It's an an advantage still keeping close to family, friends and work.

Typically, the house, townhouse or condominium you purchase is smaller, with a smaller yard and generally a single-level home.  These homes are built and designed to be trouble free and easy to manage.  Most of these communities have a home owners association that manages common areas, among other things.  In some cases they may provide service for the maintenance of the front yard and parking strip.

There are usually a number of amenities associated with a senior community.  Clubhouses or meeting halls, common grounds for walking, swimming pools and spa/fitness centers are very common.  Some are associated with golf courses or have their own.

Active lifestyles and social activities are the norm.  Most communities have clubs you can belong to that fit your interests and hobbies, from book clubs, billiards and cards to gardening, golf, swimming, woodworking and wellness.  They can even off you the chance to be active in your community by sitting on various committees in the community.

Some communities even have added safety and security measures by having security patrols and gated areas. 

Of course, there is more and I will bring these to you in upcoming blogs.

 

 

Tom Townsend, Broker, SRES

Denise Townsend Group

Keller Williams Sunset Corridor

1915 NW Amberglen Pkwy #250

Beaverton OR 97006

503-504-3961

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