Real Estate Matters by John Baer, SRES
Helping Seniors Take the “Oy!’ Out of Moving

    For over 30 years I have specialized in working with seniors. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) I am very sensitive to the fact that it can be extremely emotional for a senior considering leaving the family home with all that it represents - the place where children were raised; the safety and security of a family unit; the physical space where the oldest and dearest memories reside. For seniors, it can signify the best years of their lives, where friends and community ties were made.

   Many seniors would prefer to continue living in their home, or aging in place, but, sometimes circumstances work against those preferences: home maintenance becomes a burden, a major life event forces considering a move, an aging parent wants to live closer to adult children or other caretakers, financial concerns make it difficult to keep the home, or support services are needed that are not available at home.

   Whatever the reason, there may come a time when seniors along with their adult children, consider selling and moving on. And yet, just thinking about all the work associated with moving can be overwhelming. It is for this reason that I, as a real estate agent, when representing a senior home seller, love working with professionals known as Senior Move Managers. What is a Senior Move Manager? Simply put, they take the “oy” or “oy vey” out of moving. They are disposers of “stuff”, packers, movers, decorators, and counselors plus much, much more.

   When a senior establishes a relationship with a Senior Move Manager, the manager helps the senior determine which belongings to take, they work with home seller to sort through closets, attics and garages, help dispose of unneeded items through sales, auction or charitable donation, and can create a floor plan of the new residence to determine which pieces of furniture will fit.

   They provide all the packing material, boxes and bubble wrap. Whether it is a $2.00 thirty year-old wedding cake ornament or a valuable Jackson Pollock, experienced staff pack each item with care. They then manage the entire moving process. They can arrange for a mover or work with a mover of your choice. They can oversee the mover on “Move Day”. While the mover is loading the truck, they clean your old residence so that it is ready for sale or moving in by the new owner. They empty your refrigerator and freezer and transport your perishables to their new location. They arrange for shipping your belongings to family members. And they arrange for shipment of your car.

   Senior Move Managers also help get the home you are leaving ready for sale. They sort through your household items and furniture and empty the residence according to your wishes. They clean, update and/or fix your home to get it ready for sale. They refer painters, electricians, contractors, professional cleaning services, and attorneys who specialize in working with seniors. They supervise and direct the work.

   They are also involved in getting your new home ready. They can help you decorate your new home. They can shop for you for needed items. Whether it is painting, new blinds, electrical or plumbing work, they can arrange and supervise it all.

   They handle all the administrative tasks related to relocating. They forward your mail and magazine subscriptions. They notify the utility companies and make the required changes to service. They cancel or change your newspaper subscription.

   And, believe it or not, that’s not all, they make moving into your new home incredibly easy. They unpack every box and organize your entire residence…..everything – furniture, personal items, clothes, dishes, linens and food –is put in its place. They plug in the phones and set the clocks, they set up your computer system, and even make your bed! And then they dispose of all boxes and packing materials.

   How much do Senior Move Management services cost?  It's virtually impossible to calculate what a specific move might cost, as the fee can vary considerably by geographic region and the services requested.  Additionally, some Senior Move Manager charge their fees on an hourly basis, while others prefer to package the cost of the entire job at one price.  National Association of Senior Move Managers members will generally outline the cost of a job through a written estimate before you engage their services.

   Is the cost worth it? I think so, and for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is that it takes the stress out of moving. It takes the pressure off of adult children who often assume the burden of helping mom or dad. And, many times, the cost can be counteracted by a big tax deduction from the objects donated to charity or sold online or at an estate sale or auction.

John E. Baer, SRES, DPA is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Prudential Centennial Realty of Scarsdale and Larchmont. He can be reached for questions at 914/600-6086 or at 914/844-2059. His website is
Office 914 600-6086 Direct 914-844-2059
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