Saturday, December 28, 2019

Great Tips to Assist Seniors Tackling Financial Decisions After a Spouse Has Passed

I work with many seniors in the real estate business and like to help and support them as they age. Lucille Rosetti  recently shared some information with us about assisting seniors with financial decisions after a spouse has passed.  If you would like more information you can reach her at the following places.  info@thebereaved.orgThe Bereaved 

                                          Photo by Pexels

Great Tips to Assist Seniors Tackling Financial Decisions After a Spouse Has Passed

Losing a loved one is an emotional challenge, but many people don’t realize that it’s also a financial challenge. When a senior has lost their spouse, there are monetary decisions that must be made to help support and prepare the senior loved one even when they will not feel ready to move forward. As a senior prepares to look toward their future, they will have to make decisions such as downsizing their home or protect themselves from potential financial abuse. This list of tips will help protect your beloved senior from being taken advantage of and let them focus less on their finances and more on their retirement.

Consider Downsizing the Home

Unfortunately, when a senior’s spouse dies, they are often left alone in their home. If a senior hadn’t downsized previously — or is interested in downsizing again — it is important to contemplate where a senior is interested in living next. According to, there are many different reasons why seniors downsize, including making money to pay off previous expenses or keep the home more mobile-friendly and prevent potential tripping.

When seniors consider downsizing, it is important to decide if they would like to move to a new neighborhood, a retirement community with fellow Baby Boomers, or move down the street in order to access current friends and family members. As your senior begins the process of moving and getting rid of items, it is important to let them grieve and reminisce. On the other hand, giving away items early allows for seniors to share their stories with the younger generation that makes the gift even more special.

Develop a Plan for Mental Decline

As seniors age, it is important to prepare for the possibility of their mental health declining even if they don’t have Alzheimer’s or neurodegenerative diseases. However, one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia is the lack of being able to handle financial matters. As you take your senior to the doctors to understand what could be impacting their mental function, help your senior loved one simplify their financial lives. Seniors may need and some banks want trusted family members to be the agent when it comes to estate-planning discussions. If your senior starts to forget paying bills on time or accusing someone else of stealing or mismanaging money, these are signs that they may no longer be in the best position to handle their finances.

Avoid Elder Financial Abuse

When a senior loses their spouse, they also lose their financial partner when it comes to making decisions with besides income. According to Consumer Reports, it is estimated that $30 billion a year is lost by seniors due to elder financial abuse, and they often go unreported due to embarrassment or poor health. To prevent elder financial abuse, it is important for loved ones to keep their seniors from becoming isolated. This includes asking questions and making sure they are paying their bills on time. In these situations, it is imperative to keep an eye on your loved one, including looking for unusual activity in bank accounts, changing from a basic account to a more complicated one, new people accompanying them to the bank, or sudden unpaid bills.

Think About Opening a Business

On the other hand, seniors who are still cognitively sharp and want to continue working should consider opening their own business. This will help give your senior something to actively work on that can help them transition into a life without their spouse. Starting a business is great for seniors who want to do what they love full-time, learn something new, and be their own boss. Other great jobs for seniors include being a travel tour guide, babysitting, or becoming a tutor. As they’ve already retired, this job should be thrilling and fun.

As seniors lose their life partner, it is important to help them through this difficult time. This includes keeping an eye on your loved one and helping them make financial decisions. Lastly, encourage your senior to be as independent as they can.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Color of the Year 2020

Did  you know that there is more than one color of the year? Twenty years ago the Pantone Color Institute began the tradition that is ubiquitous in the paint industry. Of course they don't really know at the beginning of the year what that will be but their prediction is based on what they see happening in the world and what's happening in retail and the lifestyle trends of influencers on social media.

Pantone will not release their pick until later in the year, Behr, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin and Williams have release their picks. They believe these colors will reflect the year ahead.

Behar's has chosen a green shade called "Back to Nature" which reflects the world of the great outdoors.

Benjamin Moor's selection is a soft pick called "First Light" because they keep seeing it this color pop up in their travels.

Sherwin Williams's color for 2020 is called "Naval" and is a calming color and always looks good.

It will be interesting to see what colors we spot in homes being listed for sale in 2020.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

An Update to SR 99 Tunnel

For months we have been watching and hearing about the removal of the Alaskan Way viaduct and the new SR 99 tunnel. After using the tunnel for a few months, it's now time to start the tolling process. If you want to know more about that process, here is a great video from  WSDOT that will provide more information.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Commission Update from Northwest Multiple Listing Association

Recently there was an article published in the Seattle Times about the changing commission information. The article implied that you might save some money buying a home in Seattle. You can read the article here: Buying A Home In Seattle

Well, Katherine got some things correct but not all. This will not make home buying cheaper. It will simply publish what buyers agents get paid. Everyone sees these numbers in their paperwork when they buy a home anyway, it's not a secret.

What isn't obvious when buyers and sellers see how much we get paid is how much it costs us to be in business. The brokerage usually gets 1/2 of the commission, for example.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Alexa or Google Home

Many people I know have either an Amazon Alexa device or a Google Home device. The people that  own one of these devices also varies by age. I know there are all sorts of integrated apps that you can use with either device,  but I'm just beginning to learn how many seniors have one and how useful these devices can be.

You can use them to play games, check the weather, find your cell phone, get encouragement, turn on lights, medication reminders and more. One of the most intriguing to me is the Ask My Buddy skill. By setting up this feature to work with your device, if you need help you can say "Alexa, ask my buddy to send help" and your contacts will receive alerts. This is not a substitute for calling 911 but would be helpful if you can call out but are unable to reach your phone for a text or a call.

Here is a link to the directions to set up this app if you're interested. Ask My Buddy helpful instructions.  

Friday, August 30, 2019

Amazon Spheres

 Amateurs, employees and King5, and more all love to show and talk about  photos of the Amazon Spheres here in Seattle. They are amazing structures and make a fun field trip for out of town visitors. 

The idea behind the spheres is to create a space where employees and nature can co-exist. They do house over 40,000 plants from over 30 countries. 

You can visit the spheres on two Saturdays a month. You do need a reservation that can be made by using this line Amazon Spheres Reservation

Check it out, I think you'll find it fascinating. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Q2 Seattle Metro Real Estate

Q2 Seattle metro real estate numbers closed where the trends suggested. While available inventory continues to tic upwards, average sales price declined 7%. This is further evidence that our market continues to moderate from the frenzied pace of the past 5+ years.

Friday, July 19, 2019

ADU's and the City of Seattle

In 1988 when I bought a house that was previously a duplex (after WW2 Seattle eased housing restrictions to allow apartments in homes, as there was a housing shortage then). In the 80's and 90's Seattle cracked down on the "illegal' MIL apartments, and I had a hard time getting two garbage cans and two recycling bins so my tenant and I could have separate cans. The city came to "inspect' the house and the regulation was you could have a family member live in your apartment in your home, not a stranger, so there must be an interior staircase connecting the two units and if there was a second kitchen, there could be no stove, in fact the city made me remove my range/oven.
fast forward to now: OK to have both a MIL and a backyard cottage, and OH! they can cook while they live in your basement or backyard...

For more information on this current Seattle regulation, here is a article that was published recently by Curbed Seattle

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Today we have a guest blogger, Mike Longsdon. Mike has had personal experience helping his aging in-laws downsize and move. He learned a lot about the process and would like to share some of the things that he learned. If you would like to look for other helpful information on his website, you can find him here Elder Freedom. You can also reach him by email at

3 Ways to Reduce Stress When Helping Seniors Downsize and Move

Do you need to help a senior loved one downsize and move? It’s a potentially stressful task to take on all alone, but with the right help, you can make the process much easier for all involved. You need to think about the emotional and physical ways moving can impact you and your loved one, as well as the steps, like the ones below, you can take to mitigate these issues.

Research Financing Options for the New Home

To finance the purchase of a smaller home, many seniors use the money they make from selling their old house to secure a short-term mortgage, one that has a monthly payment that they can easily afford. As such, it’s important to do plenty of research about area mortgage rates before settling on a loan. Also, as PennyMac explains, veterans can qualify for a VA loan, which allows them to purchase a home with low interest rates and no down payment. Additionally, VA loans may offer additional benefits that government programs do not.

Consider Hiring People to Streamline the Process

Downsizing and moving homes for your senior loved one can be overwhelming. Many times, seniors have amassed a lot of possessions over the years, and sorting through things on your own can be impossible. You need a lot of patience and focus to make the multi-step process go smoothly, or you could think about hiring someone to help. Many seniors and family members opt to use senior move managers to take some of the stress out of downsizing, discarding, and relocating senior belongings. Having this third-party perspective can help reduce the likelihood of emotional tensions when it comes to letting go of unneeded things, and can also give you some extra help planning the rest of your loved one’s move.

Whether you use a move manager, you should definitely think about hiring professional movers to help with the actual move. Hiring move helpers takes the burden of moving heavy items and boxes off of you, and it also makes packing easier for seniors. However, be sure to research when the busiest moving times are and the best moving companies in your area.

Stay Safe When Packing and Moving Items on Your Own

Sometimes, hiring professional helpers just is not in the budget for seniors and their families. If you do need to lend a helping hand to your senior loved one, make sure you do so without risk of injury to yourself. Many people fail to research proper back positioning for lifting heavy objects, such as boxes and furniture, which can result in serious injuries. It’s important to maintain a straight back (no hunching over) when attempting to move or lift boxes, but also take your time in doing so. If something feels too heavy for you, it probably is.

Packing your seniors’ possessions can be emotionally stressful as well, especially if you are afraid of causing any damage. Head to a local home improvement store to pick up some packing supplies, like sturdy boxes, bubble wrap and tape, to get a good start on the task. Then, look online for some handy packing tips that can keep breakable and fragile items much safer during the move. Knowing how to safely pack and ship appliances, glass items. and TVs can prevent unnecessary stress for you and your senior.

Help Seniors With Alzheimer’s Adjust to the Move

For many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, the need for a big move comes after the loss of a loved one. Addressing the grief seniors feel after a loss should be your primary focus before you begin the process of downsizing and moving. You can use these Alzheimer’s resources to help your loved one (and yourself) work through the complicated emotions and thoughts that bereavement with dementia can bring about.

If your loved one is moving to a new home, it is important to make sure that space will provide safety. The home must be free of objects that could present a danger for those with dementia and cognitive function problems. This includes household chemicals, sharp kitchen tools, and potentially dangerous electronics. Anything that could cause harm to the senior or others in the home should be kept locked in a secure location that is not accessible for the individual with Alzheimer’s. You should also think about whether a nursing home would be a better choice for your loved one to protect the health and safety of everyone.

Downsizing to a new home can be a painful process for seniors, especially following a loss. As a loved one, you can help your senior find peace with this important transition and take some stress out of the process for yourself as well.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Friday, May 17, 2019

Should I Choose a 15 year or 30 year Mortgage?

When you meet with a loan representative to secure financing after you've made a home purchase one of the questions you'll be asked is if you would like a 15 year term or a 30 year term. Time to make that decision.

At this point you need to consider your options. A 15 year term will likely give you a higher payment over a shorter time period, but a 30 year term will give you a lower payment with a longer time to pay it off.

Several things to consider are your job stability and your financial situation. Would you like to put more money into savings or a retirement or education account each month? The lower payment with a 30 year loan plus the tax deductions may make this a better choice.

If your job is stable and you don't see any changes in your future, this might be a good option and you will be paying less interest overall.

One other option if you want the lower payment but would still like to pay off your mortgage early, is to make biweekly payments rather than monthly payments. This alone will shave years off of your mortgage.

The bottom line, which is best for your budget and peace of mind?

Friday, March 29, 2019

Should You Remodel?

Spring is here and maybe you're thinking about remodeling. Remodeling magazine notes that nine out of ten high return projects are high curb appeal projects. The first on the list is garage door replacement with a 97.5% return on the value at resale. The second project on the list is replacement of vinyl siding with manufactured stone veneer and this returns 94.9% of it value at resale. 

Several of the other project that you might consider might be these projects:

  • Replacement of existing siding with new siding: 75.6 percent
  • Steel entry door replacement: 74.9 percent
  • Vinyl window replacement: 73.4 percent
  • Fiberglass grand entrance: 71.9 percent
  • Wood window replacement: 70.8 percent
  • Composite deck addition: 69.1 percent
Remodeling costs are rising but you can sometimes cut some of the costs by  shopping at places like the ReStore where they sell gently used building materials and appliance at a fraction of their retail prices.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spring Checklist

One of the important items on your spring checklist should be checking the batteries in your smoke detectors and your CO Detectors. This small but significant step can save lives! In addition, did you know that all fire alarms/detectors should be replaced every 10 years?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Daylight Saving Time

Washington State is trying to join the states of Arizona and Hawaii and no longer observe daylight saving time. For many years, there have been other bills proposing the permanent switch to permanent standard time like we use in winter. If the law passes this time, it will go into effect on the first Sunday in November following the effective date of federal authorization. If congress does not authorize the revision, legislators are proposing that the state seek approval to change Washington to year around Mountain Standard time which would have the same effect.

Apparently studies show that about 400 lives are saved due to more light in the late afternoon hours when more people are up and out.

It is estimated that there would be 20% less crime because the preferred working hours for criminals would be reduced due an hour less of darkness.

It would improve the well being by avoiding disruption in schedules.

Opponents say they don't like the idea of children standing in the dark waiting for buses as the sun would rise at 9 am rather than 8 am.

If you count out the months however, we do spend 8 months of the year in daylight saving time and only 4 months in regular time.

 The federal Uniform Time Act followed in 1966, instituting a nationwide daylight saving time, but allowing states to opt out as long as the entire state (or the entire part of a state that’s in a given time zone) does so. That exemption allowance is what could let Washington and other West Coast states make this change.

What do you think, would you like to eliminate daylight saving time?

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Remodeling or updating your home in 2019?

Curb appeal continues to be the highest return on investment in the 2019 real estate market. Curb appeal and first impression are central to the real estate professional's estimation of resale value. A home's exterior will either encourage or discourage a potential buyer to look at your home. These impressions will set the stage for what a buyer is willing to pay for in your home.

The top five projects in 2019 according to Remodeling Magazine are:

1. Garage Door Replacement
2. Manufactured Stone Veneer
3. Mid-range Minor Kitchen Remodel
4. Wood Deck Addition
5. Siding Replacement

If your're interested in more information you can use this link Cost VS Value