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Five (or more) Things I Learned From My Recent Home Sale & Move to A Senior Community

By June Ann Schroeder RN, CFP®

My husband and I had planned to move in about 5 years, but as I often discuss with clients, life often gets in the way of plans, creates a need for change and with-it new opportunities and experiences.  With signs of changing health, we accepted the timely offer to relocate earlier than expected from our home of nearly 30 years to the Cedar Community Village Homes. Cedar Community offers a continuum of care and has several campuses in West Bend and Elkhart Lake. We now occupy one of their 85 independent living 2-bedroom 2-bath ranch homes with access to all levels of care and housing as needs change.  It was only 5 months from decision, to sale, to move-in!  

Here are a few takeaways from the experience – so far!        

1. We learned about Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES). Although my husband and I were not in the market to buy a home, our choice of a SRES (after interviewing 3) made the sale of our home super smooth, because he understood our needs and stresses.   NOTE:   We never even had to put out a sign at our house because it sold so fast, without an inspection, so no staging, no fixing anything.  We were very blessed…and still are!                                         

2. I underestimated time and energy needed to declutter and pack even with the movers available and offers from helpful friends and warnings from my hubby. I wanted to do too much myself and I hurt my back in the process. (Can you see yourself in this scenario?) I finally asked for help so the last 10 days were frantic and included a dumpster and lots of trips to St Vince’s and Goodwill.  

3. We learned about Senior Move Managers (SMM). The SMM can help declutter, organize, pack, and move all with their own, experienced staff and equipment.  Some SMM use subcontractors they have worked with for each particular situation.  They all charge by distance and by the hour.  We interviewed 3 and picked one that fit our needs best. Packing and moving days with the SMM crew were nothing short of miraculous! I was starting to remove drawers but all I had to do was put towels inside of any drawer containing loose objects (like my desk drawers and jewelry case) to hold the stuff in place.  Those strong movers wrapped all the furniture with drawers in cellophane and out they went to the truck.  When they arrived at our new home, we just cut off the cellophane!   Who knew!

4. Address changes.  The Post Office is very good at forwarding, but it will only forward certain publications for a few months so that’s up to you.  It has been 2 months and unfortunately, all the junk mail I thought I was going to be rid of has found us AND OUR NEW ADDRESS...and more! We now get all kinds of “New Resident” mail and offers. One bright spot is that I finally got a new set of address labels from one of my charities!

5. There is lots of little adjustments and surprises, like times for mail delivery and garbage/recycling pick up, cabinet and room sizes, setting and resetting the programmable thermostat, conquering the ceiling fan remote, setting off the sensitive fire/smoke alarm, the biggest surprise of all is that WE DONT MISS OUR OTHER HOUSE! I believe that once we decided to move, we had already begun to make the change. I do occasionally miss the sound of the frogs in the pond and the many rocks I collected for my garden over the years. But the sight of someone else mowing and trimming the lawn is a pleasant replacement to planning for the next home repair/improvement project for these long-time homeowners turned renters! We don’t even change our own light bulbs!

6. We moved for each other.  I heard my hubby tell someone that the main reason he decided to move was to be sure that I would be in a place where I could have access to what I need as I age.  Funny-that’s my big reason for making the move-so that he would have care if something happened to me!  In the meanwhile, we will have clubs and activities galore for fun and learning to join, or not, and many new neighbors our own age to enjoy and “age in place” in a different way than we had planned.