Archives for August 2016

What is the Value of? Liquidation Truths

The silver pattern you registered for when you got married has been polished each month for decades. Today, your children and grandchildren aren’t interested in and there is no room in the new apartment for it. Liquidate it! But, is there value?

Liquidation – Estate Sale, Consignment, Auction, Repurpose

The value your household inventory is based on what someone would purchase it for today and not what you paid for it or what you consider its value to be! This is difficult to understand for many. The truth is times have changed. When you were younger, what was exciting and chic to you was not what your parent’s thought was trendy. Millennials live differently then Baby Boomers or their parents. Technology makes a writing desk obsolete. The flat screen or laptop monitor makes an entertainment center merely furniture that takes up space. Millennials are more mobile then previous generations. They don’t want to accumulate as much stuff. Turn on HGTV sometime. Did you ever watch an episode of “Tiny Houses?”

China and Vintage Dishware

The china, dishwater and stemware you hand wash to keep it in good shape is difficult to liquidate. Our children entertain differently than their parents and grandparents. Delicate china is not part of eating at home. Family dinner are for smaller families — there is no need for enormous service for 10.

The prime directive for dishware: “If you can’t put it in the microwave or dishwasher, then don’t use it.”

Shop at IKEA, Restoration Hardware, or Target. You will not find floral designs on a lot of the china. Today, that is saved for estate sale. Slowly, there appears to be a growing market for vintage china and stemware in larger markets.

Solid Wood Furniture/Well Crafted Furniture

If your household furniture is midcentury modern, there are buyers. 50’s furniture is making a comeback in vintage shops. Well crafted, wood furniture has been replaced with IKEA or DIY plywood. Millennials purchase furniture they can use today. It doesn’t need to last for decades or even make it through one or two moves; trends will change and so do tastes. Home makeovers are the thing.

Value Suggestions

When selling household inventory through an estate sale, auction, or consignment, don’t expect large sums of money. Research other local sales in the market to understand what market value really means. Recognize who the buyers are — collectors? dealers? neighbors?
Everything has a value and a buyer. The smallest object was purchased once; it can be purchased again.
Before liquidating, look for original packing, boxes, or sales slips. Anything you can to return a piece to its original form will give it a vintage appeal and demonstrate its value.
Shop around. If you know how much it would cost to buy the same item new, use that to your advantage. Price below new and share the difference with the buyer. That is their savings!

We have learned from our clients disposal of household goods is painful. The idea of throwing away household inventory they have cared for and carries memories is often overwhelming. Our team includes a repurposing specialist. Her role is to find new life for household goods. For example, almost every high school has lost its budget for dram departments. A fir, china, or stemware that has minimal value on the open market has tremendous value to a school as a prop. The kitchen items that don’t match any longer and no one wants to purchase are treasures for a homeless individual that is getting a fresh start and new residence.

We avoid the term donation or charity. Many elders in the process of right-sizing or merely aging feel as if they no longer have a purpose in life. Discovering their household treasures lack value adds to one’s depression. Learning your treasures will have a new family, new stories around the table, or be honored as part of a right of passage offers hope!

The stage of life elders face is filled with endings. Every other life stage includes hope, new challenges, milestones to reach symbolizing passage to the next life stage. Aging goes from this moment in time through death. It is filled with closure and endings. When liquidating, consider each item has given you something. It could be a couch or stemware for 12. It has been part of your life. Hopefully, it has given you memories and its value enjoyed. When I took economics, there was no rule that everything appreciated in value. Consider your initial investment, how long you had it, and then what its current value could be. You might feel better.

How Do You Tell Someone It’s Time To Transition to Senior Living?


You know that it is that time.

Your elder is having difficulty caring for themselves. The house is getting too much to clean. The stairs and a walker do not go together. Or, there is a clinical condition that warrants consideration of a different living situation.

Psychologically, you understand the situation. Emotionally, the thought of telling a parent, a spouse, a friend that a new residence is warranted is terrifying! It all begins with having “that” conversation. At times, it is easier to have a mediator lead the conversation; for others, bringing the family together is needed. The most important rule to keep in mind is that your goal is for the elder to make the decision. Your role is to present information and empower.

Help Is Needed – Indicators to Recognize

  • Spoiled or out of date food in the kitchen.
  • Mail piled up or unopened.
  • Finances are not up to date.
  • Confusion.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Difficulty walking, mobility, balance.
  • Vehicle dented or scraped.
  • Clutter within the home,
  • Change in personal grooming.
  • Weight loss or weight gain.
  • Change in social habits.
  • Not taking prescribed medications.
  • Missing appointments.
  • An unexplained bruise, burns, cuts.

First Steps – Assess and Gather Facts

  • Physical and psychological evaluation by medical professionals.
  • Decluttering and organizing the residence.
  • Legal and Financial State
  • Home monitoring systems.

Pre-Planning for a Transition

  • Living Will, Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy.
  • Elder Empowerment to make life decisions before they are unable to.
  • Family meeting and agreement.
  • Home valuation, repair, cleanup.
  • What is/are the clinical need(s) of the elder(s).

Conversation Tips – Engage in Purposeful Conversation

  • Empower the elder – the ability to make independent decisions before family, friends, or care givers are forced to make decision of the elder’s behalf.
  • Understand the elder’s wants and needs – one goal is always safety. This requires understanding any current or potential physical and/or psychological changes. Engaging in a purposeful conversation about end of life is not death planning. It is a process designed to understand the elder’s desires when they are unable to communicate them.
  • Develop a transition GPS – know where legal, financial, and healthcare documents are kept. Are elder finances positioned to meet their needs; if not, what is the gap between assets and anticipated expenses?
  • One message – Ensure all family members understand the situation and the plan. It is not the time for one family member to be played off another.
  • The plan – Based on the facts or needs, what options are available? Discuss a limited set of options and be knowledgeable about each.
  • Timing – A decision can’t be made in a split-second. Have a time frame in mind providing sufficient time for decision-making.

When Is The Last Time You Checked the Basement?

Posted 1 July 2016

A recent client moved from the home she and her husband built in the 1960’s. For the last decade, she was living alone in the home. Her mobility was restricted the last two years because of physical changes; she required a walker or wheel chair. She and her family made a decision to move into assisted living and sell the residence. Our transition team was engaged to liquidate the household inventory, move the woman and set up her new apartment. Once the residence was liquidated and deep cleaned, the realtor took over. First order of business was a pre-sale home inspection. The result was a four-page list of items that needed repair. The report-included mold in the basement, loose furnace pipes, combustibles in the fireplace chimney, and hazardous waste in the garage and basement.

brokenFurnacePaintStripping_1Walking into the home, everyone commented how wonderful is looked and how well kept! The visible areas had been cared for over the decades. It was the infrastructure and areas the owner could not easily access or see that created the problem and prevented an immediate listing of the residence.

You take your vehicle to the dealer on regular basis to keep it running. As we age, there are preventative tests that are recommended to keep the body fit and healthy. There are even recommendations for your electronics to keep them in peak working order. When is the last time the home’s infrastructure was checked?

Aging in place and remaining independent is an objective for many seniors. It is common to have a cleaning service, home care, or others who come into the residence to keep it clean. There are spaces that simply are harder to access as our bodies age – the back of closets, electrical sockets, basement, AC/Heating systems, pipes, and more.

The issue is compounded when the residence, itself, ages. Visible areas are most regularly kept up to date – paint, decor, lighting. Furnace, water pipes, drains; vents probably are original with the building of the residence.

It is imperative to regularly check the residence’s infrastructure to ensure the health and safety of those living in the residence, and to maintain the value of your home when it is sold.

Here are some ideas for your residential watch list:

  • Clear, accessible fire-escape routes.
  • Smoke alarms on every floor and outside every bedroom. Check the batteries in the alarms regularly.
  • Carbon monoxide detector that sounds an alarm.
  • Fire extinguisher in the kitchen that can be used by an elder.
  • Monitors and intercoms.
  • Lighting — stairways, porches, and outside walkways.
  • Protective screens on fireplaces.
  • Exposed hot-water pipes need to be covered.
  • Additional light switches or remote switches (such as those that go on or off with the clap of hands).
  • Remove raised doorway thresholds.
  • Remove throw rugs.
  • Remove stacks of magazines, books, clothing, and clutter.
  • Repair loose carpet or raised areas of flooring.
  • Move furniture and electrical cords out of walking pathways.
  • Use nonskid floor wax.
  • Sturdy handrails to stairways.
  • Install grab handles in bathrooms.
  • Nonskid mats inside and outside your shower or tub and near the toilet and sinks.
  • Move storage of household items on lower shelves so that you can easily reach them.
  • Table or area near the main entrance to place packages and groceries while closing a door or carrying items into the residence.
  • Elders should check these items on a quarterly basis or involve a caregiver, family member, or friend.

The Transition Team is available to provide a no-cost consultation and conduct a walk through of your residence to identify any issues or challenges that could create health or safety issues for elders. Contact our offices at 317.4964995 or for more information.