Archive for the ‘retirement communities’ Tag

Condominium Living 101

Condominium living is wonderful, in my opinion.   You pay the money and someone else does the work!  No mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds, or shoveling snow, etc.  However, you need to be somewhat flexible with your expectations and not become angry or bitter when things are not done exactly the way you think it should or when it is done.

I have lived the condominium life for over twenty years and most of it has been a wonderful experience.  I am currently the chair person of our board of trustees and it has been an education and a challenge.    Everyone wants to have platinum or gold services but they only want to pay for Bronze, and sometimes they feel that Bronze service costs too much and we don’t receive the service.    I have to say that my board is extremely diligent in overseeing and counting our pennies, but there are always people who are not and will not be happy with anything.

Now that we are in landscaping season we are spending 90% of our time dealing with landscaping issues.  Spring in New England started early and the trees, shrubs, and other plantings really have had a growth spurt.  People are unhappy with the way the place is looking and they want it fixed and fixed immediately.   The board is in agreement, and is working on getting things resolved, but this is one of those situations that we are not going to please everyone all the time.   The board has the task of defining and implementing standards to guide the contractors in performing their jobs; for instance,

  • Keep the shrubs to window sill height and at least 6-8 inches away from the side of the building.
  • Ornamental trees should be trimmed and not be touching the siding or roof

It is difficult for many of the condo owners to adjust to condo living.  Because everyone has an opinion on how things need to be maintained, and when we owned our own home we did what we wanted.  If we wanted the shrubs to grow taller and cover the windows for privacy it was okay.  A condominium is much different than owning your own home.   Everything needs to be standardized, and just because you prefer it one way and your neighbor wants it another way, it all needs to be done uniformly in order to maintain a consistent look within the allotted budget constraints.  The contractors do not work for the individual condo owners, whey work for the total good of the association, and owners stopping the landscapers for trimming or cutting the lawns only disrupts the scheduling, uniformity, and costs everyone more money.   Yes, it is frustrating at times, and not everything can or will be done the way everyone would like.   The process is not instantaneous or perfect.   The board members are dealing with a management company, who works on our behalf, who is dealing with the individual contractors and vendors and it can (is) frustrating at times.  

Life in a condo will never be the same as owning and caring for your own home.  My advice to people thinking of purchasing a condo is to really determine why you think you may be happy in a condo.  Once you have the plusses then really think about any of the negatives that you have heard or can think of then weigh them.     If the plusses outweigh the minuses then a Condominium may be a great fit for you.  If not, then opt for a smaller home and arrange to have the services you need provided for you when and how you want them.   

Some Times I Wonder!

There are times when I really have to stop, think, and rethink what I am about to say.   I really wonder at times what people think about when they hand out advice, and get paid to do it.

Case in point is an 85 year old woman who just moved into a very nice, but expensive, retirement community.   I was called in to do a complete unpack and set up in the new apartment.   However when I arrived the morning after the move I walked into to a wall of boxes and furniture, and the woman I came to help was so confused and disoriented it was sad.

The community where she moved to employs a ‘move in coordinator’, who visited my client prior to the moving.   The purpose of the visit was to make sure that the items that were being moved would fit into her new apartment.  My client was moving from approximately 2000 sq ft to about 1400 sq ft.   Six hundred square feet makes a big difference.  However my client was told she could bring everything, and she did!

The bigger pieces of furniture fit, and were placed in the new apartment according to the floor plan produced by the move in coordinator.  What wasn’t taken into consideration and should have been were the closet and storage spaces between the old and the new apartment and no downsizing and decluttering took place prior to moving.  As a result, when the movers were told to pack everything, they did.

After 4 days of working to find appropriate ‘homes’ for all the items it was necessary to sit down and really have a focused (as much as possible) heart to heart discussion with my client.  I explained that there just was no more room for my team to put anything else.   There were still several cartons of ‘stuff’ that we needed to decide where to put them.     Eventually, with my client sitting on a folding chair in the storage room area, we pulled out several cartons that she had absolutely no idea what was in them.  They were old greeting cards, letter, etc., that had not been unpacked from a previous move years ago.

I cannot understand how someone could tell my client that she could bring everything and it would fit.  Of course my client relied on this advice.   I only wish that I could have been with the client on both ends of the move.   Because decluttering and downsizing prior to the move, would have saved time and money, because time is money.    But it also would have saved unnecessary stress and aggravation for the client.

My advice to Retirement Community move in coordinators, think about what you are telling your future residents about what they should and should not bring, and offer to find them some assistance.   This will be less frustrating on everyone involved in the move, from the mover, the family, and most importantly your new resident.

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!

Are you or someone you know . . .?

  • Preparing to enter the spring real estate market?
  • Overwhelmed with all that needs to be done to get ready?
  • Has limited time or energy to do everything?
  • That needs help on where to begin, who to call, or how much time this process will take?

If you do, I can help!

During February, I have an extra day to help you!
Schedule your complimentary Strategy Session
to review your plans, objectives, and goals; and I will answer
your Where, Who, and How questions, on beginning
 to downsize and preparing for the move.

CALL TODAY, 508-285-4802, to schedule your
 LEAP YEAR strategy session, and receive:

  • A written summary of primary action areas and dates to meet to complete project on time.
    AND HAVE:
  • An Opportunity to save $75.00 or more* on a WITTZ END service package IF booked during your Strategy Session!                

 

*Save $75.00 or more on a WITTZ END service package (depending on package size), when booked during your  strategy session.  Everyone receives the written summary just for booking strategy session.

 

Fix Your Own House First!

This morning I checked the front page of the local paper and the headline above the fold said: “Cleaning up the game, Senators seeking tobacco ban for Series”.   This associate press article went on to talk about how say that several senators sent a letter to the players union to ban chewing tobaccos at games and on camera.

Yes, chewing tobacco is a disgusting, dirty, and potentially unhealthy habit.   However I feel that these and all other lawmakers, have far more important issues on their agenda’s that they need to deal with first.  They cannot get members of their party or the other party to agree on some very important issues like health care, economy, budget, and spending limits to mention a few.   Why do they feel that they can convince the NBA players union to do anything voluntarily.

The old saying about people in glass houses should not throw stones, is something the US Senate should bear in mind.   Clean up and finish your own pending business before you start something you cannot finish.   When I hear that social security recipients will receive a raise (first time in a few years) but the cost of medicare and supplemental insurance coverage is going up something is wrong with this picture.

I want my senators to focus on the real issues that are affect me and my neighbors and let the baseball commissioner and players union focus and clean up their own house.

Just my opinion, another frustrated taxpayer looking for my elected representatives to do the job they are elected to do.

 

 

Is This Your Life? Three Suggestions Could Make A Difference!

There was an old TV show called This Is Your Life!  Is this your life?

Are you a Baby Boomer, with a spouse and children, work full-time, or have parents and older relatives you are care for?
Are you frustrated that you have too little time to spend with your family?
Are you afraid to take time off from work to deal with personal and family issues?
If these scenarios resemble parts of your life it does not have too!

Many of us of juggling many balls each and every day between work, family and trying to have a life.    When all the balls stay up in the air and in proper sequence then life is wonderful, and we feel invisible.  However, when one ball spins out of control and it drops to the floor, this is when the day starts in a downward spiral.   This is when you could use someone to run those errands that you were planning on doing, but now you have to work late on that special project.
  1. Investigate whether you could work from home 1 or 2 days a week.
  2. Many employers are amenable to 4 day work weeks.
  3. If all else fails investigate Concierge Services in your area, the cost of the service could be less than you think and will relieve a good deal of stress you are feeling.

These three options could reduce some of the stress and frustration you are having.




We All Have To Put Our Trash Out

I was scheduled to speak in Newport RI today about ‘Where Do I Begin To Downsize?‘  and, unfortunately,  it was cancelled.    Since it was a beautiful day and I had no other appointments scheduled, I felt like taking an afternoon ride around the fabulous homes and mansions of Newport.   It would do me good, so off I went to Newport!

It certainly put me in a better frame of mind.   Today was trash day in Newport RI and, almost without exception,  every one of the mansions and McMansions that line Ocean Drive had their barrels lining the street in front of their long, winding,  gated driveways.   I was reminded that, no matter how rich and famous you are or however big and elegant your home is you still have trash!

The more I thought about this the better I felt.   Even though the owners of those mansions, probably have all kinds of help to haul the trash to the street, they have the same bottles, cans, and junk  that I have.  Other than having a bigger and more affluent home and lifestyle they are no different from you and I.

This was a valuable insight for me today, because I have been dealing with a lot of my own trash lately — both junk and mental trash.   So today is trash day for me!  All the trash I have is going out today!   It is time for me to get rid of my actual clutter, AGAIN.   The  old catalogs, papers, and stuff that is hanging around cluttering up my space and subconsciously causing me aggravation – GONE!  Now I know how my clients feel when I work with them to clean out their clutter and trash.   It is also time to trash old and dated thoughts, anger and pet peeves – I AM LETTING THEM GO! WOW, what a great feeling to know that  things that bog you down can fairly easily be gone.

Baby Boomers rejoice!  If you are fortunate enough to live in an Active Adult Community, like I do,  you can haul your trash to a community dumpster, press the compact button, and away it goes.    Mental trash is a little harder to be rid of but, it can happen and the sooner the better.

Remember there  is always someone who will help you remove whatever clutter you need to deal with today.   Just remember we all have to put the trash out and we all have similar trash.   Yours is not any worse or better than your more affluent neighbors — it all smells after a while!

No Air Conditioning, Fans, or Fresh Air!

Okay, I am sitting here at my computer barely dressed, in an air-conditioned office, under the overhead fan and I am hot!    I love summer as long as my home and car is air-conditioned and I have ceiling fans, with out these conveniences I would not be a happy camper.   Not sure how we made it through so many years with out these things.

Even though I am hot, I am far better off compared to a woman I visited this morning.     This woman was in a small, very cluttered home with no air conditioning, fans, or fresh air!   It was stifling sitting at her kitchen table.   It amazes me how she was able to be in that house.   How do our seniors do it.

We talked for about 20 minutes before I was given the grand tour of the home to figure out what was required — just to put the house on the market.   It really was a nice home in a very nice neighborhood of starter homes.   Her problem is that she is sick, old, and physically unable to maintain the property.   She is barely able to take care of herself!   There was no discussion of family in the area to help her, and we talked about her using my services.   She said,  she was at her WITTZ END!   And she was!

Once I get going, and tackle the house one room at a time it will quickly start to shape up!   This is what I do, one room at a time, I move my clients from FRAZZLED TO DAZZLED!   After her home is sold we will move her into a retirement community where she will have all the amenities that she deserves, and she will not have to worry about the lawn, heating oil, or air conditioning.

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