Category Archives: Retirement in Austin

Our Interview on CNBC about Senior Real Estate

Cerretha and I were interveiwed by CNBC as Seniors Real Estate Specialists! Here is the article:

“How do these homes compare to other retirement housing options? Real estate experts say that unadorned 55-plus communities will generally cost more than if you stay in the family house and renovate. But when you decide to move closer to children, grandchildren or friends, modest adult neighborhoods can be your smartest financial option.

Cerretha Rose and her colleague Heather Kight, Seniors Real Estate Specialists in Austin, say that downsizing to a smaller conventional house often requires interior and yard renovations to make it comfortable and requires low maintenance. Senior homes don’t require those types of renovations. A conventional condo may be cheaper, but it usually means hundreds of dollars a month in homeowners fees. ”

Read more

Retire to Austin – The #1 Destination for Baby Boomer Retirement!

Take advantage of the Austin area lakes such as Lake Travis, Lady Bird Lake, and Lake Austin.

Austin is a small town disguised as a big city.  Newcomers figure this out very quickly and that helps explain why Austin is the most popular city in America for Baby Boomer retirement. It’s easy to get around and as you’ll be retired, you can avoid the bad traffic times! The sun shines 300+ days a year and our winters only last a couple of weeks. Yes, summers can get a bit hot, but between Barton Springs, the numerous area lakes and all the beautiful pools in many retirement communities you can cool off when you need to. My friend Colleen is 70 (or so) and she swims in Barton Springs every day of the year.

One of Austin’s fastest growing demographic segments is the 65 plus age group which is another testament to its suitability as a retirement option. We have several new hospitals in various stages of development so you have many options as to the part of Austin you’d like to live in. Georgetown, Round Rock and Cedar Park areas are extremely popular with the 55+ crowd and there are new hospitals in all of those areas. South Austin has great hospitals and there is a brand new Lakeway Medical Center opened in the Spring of 2012.

One of the biggest reasons I favor Austin for retirement is real estate prices. You can still get into a nice home for under $200,000. I saw some lovely townhomes yesterday for the mid 200s with NO MAINTENANCE. I also visited Tuscan Villas in Lakeway and the entire community was designed without any steps! There is a brand new master planned community off of Highway 71 called Sweetwater and all five builders have fabulous one story plans.

If you’re a golfer, there are several championship golf courses with homes in a variety of price points and Sun City in Georgetown has three courses. Water aerobics? Try Lifetime Fitness in South Austin or some of the amazing new YMCA facilities that are in the Cedar Park/Leander area. Yoga – too many choices to mention! Biking – we’ve got so many bikers that we have special bike lanes all around town. Fishing? Lake Travis, Lake Austin, Lake Marble Falls…. Try to stump me – I’ll come up with retirement activities and reasons to retire to Austin in a snap.

People of all ages love Barton Springs. Located in the middle of town, the constant temperature allows Austin swimmers to use the pool year round.

You’ll never lack for a selection of activities designed specifically for seniors with the three senior activity centers and seventeen recreation centers. The senior activity centers don’t have membership fees. They offer lots of events and activities, including health related events, tours, trips, and recreational activities. My mom is active in a group out of the University of Texas at Austin and she’s always off on some great adventure.

Live music abounds in Austin which is noted as the Live Music Capital of the World. There are over 120 venues for live music presentations of every kind, including an opera company and a symphony orchestra. Don’t forget, Austin is home to Austin City Limits and South By Southwest. Art? The Blanton and a thriving art scene with up and coming galleries. Yes, Austin is a college town, with a student population of over 50,000 and that brings excitement and energy to town. In addition to UT, Austin Community College is a fabulous system with numerous classes that would be of interest to anyone. ACC draws from one of the most educated populations in the country and the instructors are amazingly fabulous.

Retire to Austin! I keep thinking I’d like to try somewhere new when I retire but I just can’t come up with a better town. Plus since my recent college graduate daughter will be moving back here after a couple of years in Houston, my grandchildren will be here….

If you want to search for great Austin Properties check out the Austin 55 Realty Team’s website. Just click on Search for Homes. OR if you’d like us to send you some great Austin Retirement properties shoot me an email at heather@heathershomes360.com

Retire to Austin and Take Advantage of Continuing Education Opportunities

When I taught 10th grade World History and Geography at Westlake High School in the Eanes School District I always said the same thing on Back to School Night: “I teach the class you wish you could take now that you are an adult!” Every head in the classroom nodded in agreement. When Austin was named as the top city in the nation for Baby Boomer retirement, the opportunities for continuing education were cited as an important aspect of the attractions that draw retirees to the Austin area.

I’ll be interested to know how many people sign up for Women as Patients and Practitioners in Early Indian Medical Literature and wouldn’t it be great to take Italian For Travelers and Travel Italy!?  If food and drink are more in line with your interests, there are plenty of great courses. If you love coffee, there are only a couple of spots left for Coffee Barista For a Day – May. The point is that the opportunities are endless!

The Continuing Education Department of the University of Texas offers a series of classes called “Go Native U.” This

Retire to Austin and take advantage of the great opportunities for continuing education such as courses that cover Texas wildflowers.

program is designed to teach participants about the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes. The series covers native plant gardening, the benefits of planting native plants and more. With our recent drought, not only are the courses, taught through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, interesting, but they are useful as well.

One of our retired clients never misses a season of the UT Quest Program. Seminars and lectures occur in three six-week sessions and include topics such as:

Seminars:

  • The Next Internet Revolution: Dr. Gary Chapman
  • LBJ Presidential Tapes by Harry Middleton, Director Emeritus of the LBJ Library
  • Ethical Leadership by Howard Prince, Director of LBJ’s School’s Center for Ethical Leadership
  • Families and Kinship in Africa Toyin Falola Ut Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor of History

Lectures:

  • Famous Texas Criminal Trials and Lawyers: Don Stone
  • Greek and Roman Mythology: Nancy C. Collins
  • The Impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on Astronomy: Dr. Fritz Benedict
  • Cottage to Palace: Interior Architecture: Dr. Robert James Coote

Continuing education opportunities are just one of the many wonderful reasons to retire to Austin. Our climate, the proximity to lakes and parks, the active lifestyle and the cost of living all factor into an opportunity to enjoy retirement in Austin.

When you are ready to retire to Austin, give us a call. As Seniors Real Estate Specialists Cerretha Rose and Heather Kight will find a great home for your retirement and we’ll assist you with your Austin relocation and Austin home search. Once you’ve moved, you’ll be ready to sign up for the numerous continuing education opportunities that make Austin a great retirement hot spot.

Heather Kight 512-789-1871

RE/MAX Austin Associates Austin 55 Realty Team

www.austin55realty.com

Build Your Retirement Dream Home in Austin

Many people who retire in Austin considering building a home. Researching resell homes vs. to be built homes is a good

Firepit in 55+ community

Retire to Austin to take advantage of the wonderful climate. Outdoor living is possible all year round.

idea and either present good opportunities in the Austin real estate market. For those retiring to Austin, building can be a good option as you will be able to select your own floor plan, choose your finish out, build on your own lot and in general have more control over your retirement home. Contrary to what the media is saying, now is a great time to build a custom home.

If you ever wanted to build a custom home in Austin, it is a good time and here is why:

*   The house you build in Austin today will cost more to build next year

*   It will never be as affordable to build as Right Now

*   Lumber prices have dropped 36% since 2005, making today’s lumber prices, after adjusting inflation, lower than they were in 1981

*   Construction costs dropped 25% across the board in last 2 years

*   The cost of sheetrock has fallen 30%

*   With new home starts on the rise experts predict lumber and other materials will increase 25% in 2012 because of lack of production

*   Interest rates will never be this low again in our lifetime

*   Interest rates are at a 30 year low and are going to be on the rise

*   Land prices in Texas have dropped dramatically

*   Texas produced 48% of all jobs (new) in country in 2010

*   Austin is the best performing economy in United States

As Realtors who work with people who retire to the Austin area, we can help you select a builder, whether it is an Austin custom home builder or one of the excellent new home builders working in subdivisions.

Give us a call at the Austin 55 Realty team to plan your Austin area retirement living!

Heather Kight 512-789-1871

www.austin55realty.com to search for a new home

Ready to Rightsize? Step One – Take Inventory

I know this is daunting. My client Dick spent three months going through his belongings, clearing out, giving things away, making plans for what to take with him to his new, smaller duplex. At one point he just stood in the middle of the room and said, with quite a bit of distress in his voice: “I’ve spent my whole life traveling the world and collecting all these things and now I just need to figure out how to get rid of it all.” I think Dick would have benefitted from the assistance of a professional organizer and I’ll discuss their role in a senior move in another post. Here I want to focus on taking inventory.

Hire an appraiser and and estate sale expert to asses the value of the items in your home.

The first step to rightsizing is to know your numbers. What numbers?  The value of your personal property, of course! You’ve spent a lifetime collecting, acquiring, storing and buying all your belongings, also known as your “stuff.” For many people, the thought of getting started with the rightsizing process can be completely overwhelming but it is a critical step in making a move. Many of your belongings may have little or no value in today’s resale market, but some items may be of great value when appraised by a professional.

Here is a list of items that will bring the most money at an estate sale or auction: Gold, jewelry, model cars, oil paintings, antique posters, water colors and other art, antique dolls, toys and games, antique lamps, World War l and ll items, metals, and ivory. A qualified estate sale expert can assess your  belongings and can advise you on the best way to reap the most money for your things.

Antiques: The estate sale expert will categorize your antiques into those that should be sold at auction a and those that should be sold in an estate sale. This list will include furniture, fine arts, figurines, bronzes, brass, pewter, sterling flatware and other silver (but not necessarily silver plate – no market for that really), china, glassware, crystal stemware, vases, hand painted china dolls, clocks, mirrors.

NOTE: You may think that something is very valuable and then it turns out to have little value at all. The very best way to approach the actual sale of your “stuff” is to determine what to take with you, move that to your new place and then let the estate sale expert take over. Remove yourself from the emotion of the process.

Jewelry: Even costume jewelry has some value! Inventory all costume and fine jewelry, gem stones, 14K gold anything and antique jewelry.

Arts: Frames prints, oil paintings, pastel water color paintings, movie posters, poster prints.

Furniture: Sofas and love seats, chairs, recliners, tables, table and floor lamps, pianos, card tables and chairs.

Some of your items will have more value than you were expecting and some will have less. The best strategy is to remove yourself from the emotion of the decisions.

Other items: Antique quilts, books, picture frames, bar items, fireplace screen and tools, plants, planters, sewing machines, computers, book shelves, dresser drawers, yard equipment, patio furniture.

Items that will have little value – let the estate sale expert sell these in the sale: Cassette tapes, 8 track tapes, CDs, videos, most radios, candles, fabrics, yarn, office supplies, old pens, umbrellas, paper goods, perfumes.

The estate sale expert will have a referral for an appraiser if one is needed for higher value items. Feel free to check the Better Business Bureau for ratings. As I have built my own referral network I have interviewed and checked references for all my referral partners and I check  back with clients who have utilized their services to make sure everyone is happy.

You may want to get the estimates from more than one appraiser and be sure to let them know that is the case. Also, remember that donating to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, the Women’s Shelter and other non-profits provides a great tax deduction so check with your accountant on how that can benefit you. Many organizations will pick up your donations.

Hire and expert and let him or her do her job! You’ll be glad that you did.

The Austin 55 Realty Team can provide the names of professionals who can assist you in getting the started with your inventory so call us at 512-789-1871 and visit our website at www.austin55realty.com

To search for homes in the Austin/Central Texas area feel free to visit our home search site at www.austin55realty.com

Why retire in Austin, Texas? Lots of reasons!

Our daughter is off studying meteorology at Texas A&M in College Station. She’ll be in Houston this summer for an internship in an environmental consulting firm working on air quality. When she graduates I hope she’ll find a job in a faraway place…..and then she’ll come back to Austin! Why? For the very same reasons you should consider Austin as a retirement town. OK, maybe not ALL the same reason, but lots of them, anyway!

Austin is a small town disguised as a big city. It’s easy to get around and as you’ll be retired, you can avoid the bad traffic times! The sun shines 300+ days a year and our winters only last a couple of weeks. Yes, summers can get a bit hot, but between Barton Springs, the numerous area lakes and all the beautiful pools in many retirement communities you can cool off when you need to. My friend Colleen is 70 (or so) and she swims in Barton Springs every day of the year.

Austin’s fastest growing segment is the 65 plus age group which is just another testament to its suitability as a retirement option. We have several new hospitals in various stages of development so you have many options as to the part of Austin you’d like to live in. The Georgetown/Round Rock areas are extremely popular with the 55+ crowd and there are new hospitals in both those areas. South Austin has great hospitals and there is a brand new Lakeway Medical Center that will be completed around 2012.

One of the biggest reasons I favor Austin for retirement is real estate prices. You can still get into a nice home for under $200,000. I saw some lovely townhomes yesterday for the mid 200s with NO MAINTENANCE. I also visited Tuscan Villas in Lakeway and the entire community was designed without any steps!

If you’re a golfer, there are several championship golf courses with homes in a variety of price points and Sun City in Georgetown has three courses. Water aerobics? Try Lifetime Fitness in South Austin or some of the amazing new YMCA facilities that are in the Cedar Park/Leander area. Yoga – too many choices to mention! Biking – we’ve got so many bikers that we have special bike lanes all around town. Fishing? Lake Travis, Lake Austin, Lake Marble Falls…. Try to stump me – I’ll come up with retirement activities and reasons to retire to Austin in a snap.

You’ll never lack for a selection of activities designed specifically for seniors with the three senior activity centers and seventeen recreation centers. The senior activity centers don’t have membership fees. They offer lots of events and activities, including health related events, tours, trips, and recreational activities. My mom is active in a group out of the University of Texas at Austin and she’s always off on some great adventure.

Live music abounds in Austin which is noted as the Live Music Capital of the World. There are over 120 venues for live music presentations of every kind, including an opera company and a symphony orchestra. Art? The Blanton and a thriving art scene with up and coming galleries. Yes, Austin is a college town, with a student population of over 50,000 and that brings excitement and energy to town. In addition to UT, Austin Community College is a fabulous system with numerous classes that would be of interest to anyone. ACC draws from one of the most educated populations in the country and the instructors are amazingly fabulous.

Retire to Austin! I keep thinking I’d like to try somewhere new when I retire but I just can’t come up with a better town. Plus since my daughter will be moving back here, my grandchildren will be here….

If you want to search for great Austin Properties check out the Austin 55 Realty Team’s website. www.austin55realty.com Just click on Search for Homes. OR if you’d like us to send you some great Austin Retirement properties shoot me an email at heather@heathershomes360.com

What to look for in a retirement community in the Austin area

Those baby boomers are turning 65 every day! What’s next? For many people moving to a retirement community is a great option for retirement living. Retirement communities of all kinds are popping up in the Austin area as well as throughout the country. A great benefit of these communities is the opportunity for recreation, dining, daily outings and of course socializing. As you consider retirement living, thinout what is important to you.

Type of Community: What sort of community is right for you? Do you want a independent living resort style community that offers three meals a day, activities and outings? Or is an Active Adult 55+ community more in line with your situation. Do you want your own home? Do you want a maintenance free condominium, do you want an apartment?

Location: Where is the community in relation to your family, friends and health care providers. Today the developers of retirement communties will only build where there is access to health care, so primarily you should consider the location in terms of friends, family, and area amenities.

Lifestyle: Be sure to visit, or perhaps take advantage of the “spend the night” option many communities are now offering. Get a feel for the personality of the community – are residents friendly, happy and glad to be there? Do you like the food? In some places you must dress for dinner, in others a more casual atmosphere is found in the dining room. Does the facility allow pets? What sort of recreational activities and social engagements are on the calendar?

Services: What housekeeping and maintenance services are included? Is there valet parking? Is there concierge services?

Value: This is a competitive industry so you can shop for a good value. Find out if there are hidden fees or costs. Does the dining room serve 3 full meals per day? Is there an up front “buy in” fee? Please do not sign a residency contract until you’ve carefully reviewed the terms.

Stability: How long has the group who owns the community been in business? Is it a family run business or is it owned by a large corrporation? There are advantages either way, you just want to make sure you know the background of the management. Ask what the groups key core values are and then determine if they live up to those values. Searching for a retirement community can be fun and it can also be tiring. There are very good placement services that can assist you in finding the perfect community for you. If you are looking at an Active Adult residential neighborhood a Seniors Real Estate Specialist can help you locate an area that is a good fit.

We formed the Austin 55 Reatly team to focus on Baby Boomers and their aging parents. Moving is a major life transition and downsizing can be really tough. If you are looking to retire in Austin, are considering downsizing in the Austin Area, or moving to Independent Living from your current home, Austin 55 Realty would be happy to assist with this transition. Our resource team of experts can help with every step.

Visit the Austin 55 Realty Team’s website at www.austin55realty.com for additional information about senior moving.

Search the entire Austin area Multiple Listing Service at www.austin55realty.com

When Did My House Get To Be So Big?

We had a great 2012 Business Planning meeting today with a couple of our referral partners. We met in her beautiful 3000 square foot home and on our way out at the conclusion of the meeting she said “I may call you to sell this house soon.” This was a surprise as she’s only lived in the home a couple of years but she and her husband are empty nesters and she said “It’s just too much house! I want to stay in my neighborhood but find one story that is much smaller.”

Have you looked around your home recently and wondered “When did this house get to be so big?” Perhaps you are of the generation that became of age in the 1950s and 1960s and you purchased your home when you were planning for a house full of kids, pets and friends. Or, like our colleague, you bought a home that is more than you need. Now it has become too large and too much work for just one or two people! The four bedroom, 2.5 bath ranch style home now presents challenges that just didn’t seem that big of a deal a few years ago. Now the thought of repairs, home maintenance, climbing stairs and daily cleaning is just not as appealing as it was when it was purchased 15 – 30 years ago. For some Boomers, the  2500+ square foot  two story home is still providing joy and happiness with grandchildren and family gatherings. However for others the home just doesn’t make sense as the kids are grown and the home has become physically demanding. Perhaps it is time for downsizing – or more correctly stated, “rightsizing.”

With 10,000 people are turning 65 every day, and many of those folks starting to think of rightsizing, it stands to reason that at some point there will be many older homes entering the market in the not so distant future.  Perhaps it is worth considering moving sooner, rather than later. It may be time to begin the process of selling and moving to a home that matches your current needs and desires, rather than those that you had when you were looking for space for the kids and the pets.

To begin the process, call your Seniors Real Estate Specialist to obtain a realistic market analysis on your home so that you begin the process with a figure in mind as you consider putting your home  on the market. At the same time, discuss with your agent what you are looking for in your next step – here’s my list of what you should consider:

  • One story plan – You should plan for this move to be your last so select a floor plan conducive to aging in place.
  • Hard surface flooring in most areas of the home – as you age, you may find that mobility on hard surfaces is easier, especially if you ever need a cane, a walker or a wheelchair. I know that sounds so “old” but you should be realistic.
  • Newer construction OR a home that has has significant remodeling an updating – one of your primary reasons for moving is to diminish maintenance and repair efforts and costs.
  • Condominium communities – there are great option for free standing condominiums. These look just like smaller houses, but the HOA fee can cover all exterior maintenance and even all yardwork!! Watch out for HOA fees that are too high and make sure you know what the fees cover.
  • Open floor plan for entertaining – you want to make sure your new home has plenty of space for your friends, family and relatives. Just because you are rightsizing doesn’t mean you must give up entertaining space. Some of the new plans are fabulous in creating an open living/dining/kitchen area that is great for large or small gatherings.
  • Proximity to health care – make sure a hospital is in the vicinity.
  • Proximity to entertainment, shopping, restaurants, etc.- this is your opportunity to live near all the action!

When you sell your home, remember that you are just transferring equity from your current home to another. Chances are you’ve built enough equity in your home that you can pay cash for a new home or finance only a small portion. Your financial advisor can help determine the best strategy for this and with interest rates so low it may make sense to take out a conventional 80/20 loan. With these historically low interest rates, that may be the best thing to do.

Also, it probably does not make sense to wait for your home to gain more value because the properties that you are considering will rise in value by the same percentage. Interest rates, however, will definitely not remain as low as they are now!

If you are ready to move forward with downsizing/rightsizing, let’s design a game plan starting with the preparation of your home for the market, timing as to when to put it on the market. We should also decide whether you’d like to buy first and then sell, or sell first and then buy. By working together we can get you on your way to a new lifestyle, one better suited to the stage you are in life right now. Let’s get started!

Call Heather and Cerretha with the Austin 55 Realty Team. 512-789-1871 www.austin55realty.com  heather@heathershomes360.com

For more information about the home selling process visit www.austin55realty.com

To get your search started right now, register on www.austin55realty.com and gain access to all homes in the Austin Multiple Listing Service!

Choosing the Best 55+ Community When Buying or Building a New Home

55+ group playing tennis

55+ communities can provide a wide range of fun activities. Be sure to select a community that matches your lifestyle.

There is a reason Austin is the most popular city in America for 55+ relocation – it’s the best city in the America!  Actually Austin is one of the most popular choices for retirement living, due in part to the climate and to the active lifestyle that is so popular here. The decision to move is a momentous occasion at any phase in life, and the decision to buy or build in a 55+ community can be especially overwhelming. There are many factors that should also be considered in making a decision about buying or building a home where you may be planning to spend the rest of your life.  Knowing what to look for as a potential homeowner in a 55+ community can help buyers make better decisions about this major, and perhaps last, move.

Consider the following when trying to choose the best retirement communities for your new home:

1)      The community’s qualities – The most important advice I have is to be sure to visit the community for an extended period of time and talk to the people who are currently living there.

  • What programs are in place to welcome newcomers? As a general rule, we’ve found that most communities have very strong programs to help newcomers become a part of the community. Residents tend to be from all over the country and really enjoy the new friendships they make. Everyone is from somewhere else!
  • Visit the community center and check out the calendar of events – do the events promote an active lifestyle? Are there exercise classes, walking groups, golfing groups, biking groups, etc?
  • Does the community offer a variety of activities? Activities we’ve run across include Bridge, Dominoes (and 42), wine tastings, progressive dinners, field trips, travel trips, ball game outings, theme parties, etc.
  • What amenities are available to residents?  Is there a community pool? Are there walking paths? Is there an exercise room or weight room? Is there a nice community meeting area with a large TV for watching football games or for movie night?
  • Is the landscaping well maintained?
  • Are people out and about?
  • Consider the location and the area attractions. Is it easy to get around to shopping, doctors, dining, and entertainment? What about traffic?
  • What is the average age? Sounds like a funny question but consider the possible difference in ages in a new 55+ community vs and older, established 55+ community. In a brand new community the average age might be closer to 55 and that may not be the case in a 55+ community that has been around for many years. When it was built the homeowners who moved in may have been 55 and now the average age may be closer to 80. Just remember to find out!
  • Be sure to check into the community’s demographics – what types of people live there?  This is  important is because the personality of a 55+ community or retirement community can vary greatly. For example, in on Austin area retirement community I know of there is a more “intellectual” demographic.  Many of the residents are retired professors, for example, and the activity schedule has several book-talks, lectures and other educational type programs on the calendar. In another community there may be a large percentage of retired military personnel. Some communities have more couples and others have more singles. This is why a visit that includes talking to current homeowners or residents is so important. It is also the reason to be sure to work with an SRES Realtor who represents you – the sales rep on site is going to tell you everything he or she thinks you want to hear. Your own Realtor is going to dig to find out the real story!

2) The builder/developer’s reputation – Check out the builder and their track record in the community. Is the builder completely responsible for the homes or do they contract work out to other builders? Is new construction warranted by the builder and what does that warranty cover? If you are buying a pre-owned home, what part of the builder’s warranty conveys? Another thing to consider is the builder’s stability – will the builder be around in two years?

Here’s an example of why this is important: You probably connect Sun City with Del Webb. In Sun City Georgetown, however, Del Webb sold to Pulte Homes and the homeowners can tell you very specific differences in the floor plans, construction quality, price ranges, etc. Of course, your SRES Realtor will be able to provide information, too.

3)  Taxes —The property tax rate in Texas is higher than in some states and if you are moving to Central Texas from out of state you’ll want to note that Texas does fund public schools with property taxes and that we do not have a state income tax.  The tax rate from 55+ community to 55+community can vary greatly, so be sure to find out from your SRES Realtor exactly what the taxes will be. The taxes that the current owner is paying will be different from what you will pay, depending on the current owner’s exemptions. For example, if the current owner in a 55+ community is over age 65, there is probably both a Homestead Exemption and a Senior Exemption in place.  If you are over 55 but not yet 65, you will be eligible for the Homestead Exemption but not the Senior Exemption. Talk to your SRES Realtor about how to figure your property tax bill for the home. The last thing you want is a surprise on your payment or on your yearly tax bill.

55+ community for golf

Fees for membership in a golf club may be a separate fee from the 55+ community HOA fee.

4) HOA Fees — Homeowners Association Fees can also vary widely. Be sure to find out exactly what the HOA  fees cover. In a free standing condo community the HOA fees might be higher yet the fee may cover external maintenance (or not) and it may cover yard maintenance (or not). In a community classified as Single Family Homes the HOA fee may cover the pool, park, trails, and more. Is there a tiered HOA fee depending on whether or not there is a golf course? I know of one community that had a really high HOA and learned that that includes full membership in a lakeside country club right down the street. You want to know what your HOA dues will cover ahead of time, again, to avoid surprises.

Give us a call at the Austin 55 Realty Team to get started with your 55+ Community home search in Central Texas. Also visit our website www.austin55realty.com to learn more about the home search process.

Heather Kight, Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)www.austin55realty.com        512.789.1871 heather@heathershomes360.com

Tips for Downsizing

 

sticky note desk

OK, this guy may be a bit crazy, but sticky notes can get you started on organizing!

Starting the process of downsizing is the greatest reason we procrastinate when it comes to making a move. Where does one start? Looking at a house full of belongings and treasures is so overwhelming to anyone planning a move.

We recently got a great suggestion from one of the Senior Move Managers we know who has used this system to jump start the sorting and organizing process. We were discussing an appointment we have with a seller who has lived in her home since 1971. She is actually very organized compared to many people who have lived in a home that long but she is still very overwhelmed with the essential question that everyone has about moving – “Where do I start?”

Of course the first suggestion was to hire a Senior Move Manager who can work with you to sort, organize, prioritize and pack. For most people this is an invaluable service and working with a Senior Move Manager in conjunction with your Seniors Real Estate Specialist can reduce the stress of moving ten-fold.  A little bit of pre-work will make your work with them even more streamlined if you’ll start with this system of organizing a sorting.

Go to the store and buy 6 packs of different color “post it” or sticky notes. You know the type. Designate a color of sticky-notes for the following groups:

Green: Items you will definitely take with you
Orange: Items you may take with you 
Blue: Items you will want to sell 
Yellow: Items you want to give to members of your family or friends (write the name of the person you think will want that item 
Red: Items you will throw away 
Pink: Items you will donate

Sicky notes are great for organizing

Color coding is a great way to get started in the organizing an sorting process.

Start with a small room just to get started. Taking on the family room may be too overwhelming! Once you’ve labeled one room, move on to the next. Give yourself plenty of time for each project and just go around with the sticky notes in hand and place the color note on an item and move on.

Now you’ve started your downsizing in an organized manner. For the first stab at this, do it quickly without giving individual items too much thought. You can always go back and change categories.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the sorting process.

Green and Orange: Remember the size of the home you are moving into so that you don’t color code too many things with green and orange. Start with the floor plan of your new home and select the large furniture first, then the accessories.

Blue: If you have valuable antiques mark them as such and later go back and call in an appraiser or dealer. If the item is a good candidate to sell on consignment just write that on the note as you go.

Yellow: Keep in mind that your children, nieces or nephews may have different taste than you do. Don’t get your feelings hurt if they don’t especially want the china cabinet you love so much. It’s not that they don’t love you, they just may not like your furniture or artwork. Go ahead and mark the item with the name of the person you think would like the item and then ask them the next time you see or talk to them.

 Red: Be brutal.

Pink: Remember that china cabinet that your niece did not want? I’ll bet someone does!

Another good tip: Anyone who visits your home is required to take some item with them when they leave. This can actually be fun! Enjoy the giving!!

Give us a call to get started: Austin 55 Realty Team

Heather Kight 512.789.1871 www.austin55realty.com