Category Archive

How Many Days Does it Take to Sell in Spring 2022?

14443 Macon Grove Lane in Gainesville listed for $325,000 on April 30, 2022

How Many Days Does it Take to Sell in Spring 2022?

With the two percent increase in mortgage interest rates since the beginning of the year, you may have heard whispers of our Bristow and real estate market changing. Certainly, interest rates increasing have pinched buyers even more when rising home prices were already making it tough to afford a home. However, to declare that the market has measurably shifted from a seller’s market would be wrong.

In late April, dealing with the same interest rates, I placed a single family home in Bristow on the market. It was hottly contested and had multiple offers in a matter of four days. This past weekend, after having been on the market for just over one week, 14443 Macon Grove Lane had three offers at the same time. Multiple offers did happen, but not quickly. It was a rolling situation that left one of the four offers pulling out and moving on. What’s different between these two homes?

9477 Cromarty Court in Bristow listed for $584,000 on April 22, 2022

The single family home at 9477 Cromarty Court was owner occupied and updated to the nines. It also had a sought after water view. The downside of this property was the compact size of the rooms on the main level. However, the sellers had left no detail unnoticed. When it was time to the hit the market, the professional marketing drove up buyer enthusiasm and the coziness of the main level was not an issue.

Water view at 9477 Cromarty Court in Bristow

While the condo at 14443 Macon Grove did hit the market a week later, it was not owner occupied. Tenants in a home never have a vested interest in a successful outcome. They are losing their rental home. In this case, the landlord realized this was an issue. She was by far, the most savvy landlord I have dealt with in my seventeen years of selling homes. She cleaned up the property herself. She decluttered the property before showings herself. She even put the tenants up in a hotel for the weekend while showings were happening. The only problem was, the weekend we really wanted to list the house was unavailable to us as the tenants had plans. That meant a hasty rush to market.

Macon Grove, cleaned and decluttered by the landlord.

A professional photo shoot with great pictures that truly represented what buyers would see in the straightened and cleaned home, happened the day before it was to go active. I am here to tell, buyers and buyer agents do not make appointments until they see listing photos. Unfortunately, the photos didn’t hit the MLS until Saturday morning of our two day showing free-for-all. Showings picked up after the photos had been in a few hours, but the real activity wanted to happen Sunday through Friday. The tenants were unable to accommodate showing requests except for three hours in the evening, and one evening was taken off the table completely. (sigh) Even with showing restrictions and showing condition dwindling after the return of the tenants, the condo in Gainesville got multiple offers. It just took eight days to get there.

Fresh & clean owner’s suite at 14443 Macon Grove Lane

We are still in seller market conditions in Bristow and Gainesville. Of course, what matters most is what has mattered all along–how your home is prepared and marketed. An unprepared home is not going to create buyer enthusiasm. And even if it does, if buyers can’t get in to see it, that is a problem. If buyers are seeing poor listing photos, you are sunk.

Proper listing preparation and professional marketing get sellers to the top of the market no matter what their condition. And when there are issues you can’t work around, having a skilled negotiator representing you as a seller is critical. These two properties are great examples of how the market is influenced by condition and marketing. Stay tuned for their final sold prices. Until then, if you want to investigate the 2022 sale of your Bristow or Gainesville home, get in touch with me for a no obligation market analysis.

Just Sold in Bristow’s Active Adult Community of Dunbarton

13248 Ormond Drive in Bristow Sold on April 28, 2022

Just Sold in Bristow’s Active Adult Community of Dunbarton

It was my pleasure to introduce 13248 Ormond Drive to the market on April 1st. The seller and I had looked carefully over the market comps and decided that the appropriate list price for the home was $599,000. We also discussed preparing the home for market. Not a fun chore for any seller, even if it just amounts to writing checks to painters and cleaners. There is a great deal of emotional weight in getting your home ready for the market.

After our listing appointment, the seller understood what was needed to get the house ready for market. It didn’t take long for the home to be painted, cleaned and for the seller to be completely out. Sometimes having a home vacant during marketing is preferrable. When that happens, I jump to action with light staging to warm the home up.

Setting up a staging bed and lighting brings a bedroom to life.

With the home staged, it was time for professional photography and then marketing to include more than filling in fields in the MLS. In addition to a gorgeous virtual tour, the property was featured in an online brochure and my blog. After only two days on the market and one very strong offer, the home was under contract. It didn’t take multiple offers to get above the high water mark the seller and I had anticipated.

The seller was able to get an offer with no contingencies at all. No home inspection. No financing contingency. No appraisal contingency. It was smooth sailing to the finish line. Today, it sold for $641,000. That’s $42,000 above list price with one offer.

When the time comes to list your home, get in touch for a confidential market analysis. No matter the market conditions, you will receive the proper listing preparation advice and professional marketing that will take you to the top of the market.

Under Contract in Dunbarton

13248 Ormond Drive in Bristow, VA Listed on April 1, 2022 for $599,000

Under Contract in Dunbarton

Looking back on my recent posts here on ChrisAnnCleland.com , I was searching for the post that mentioned this expansive, single family detached home at 13248 Ormond Drive as either Coming Soon or Just Listed. Seems that things have been hectic enough that is was shared only through a link of the virtual tour via my Facebook page.

Ask a seller who hears the tales of way above list price sales in low single digit days about how difficult a listing agent’s job is in a seller’s market and they are likely to default to thinking it isn’t difficult at all. The mistake many sellers make is thinking that a listing agent’s job is measure solely on days on the market or whether a home sold above list price. There is so much more to this job when it comes to properly representing the interests of a seller. And a seller’s market doesn’t make it easier. On the contrary, sometimes it makes the job more difficult.

While in Coming Soon status, this active adult home in Dunbarton had plenty of interest just gearing up for the home to hit the market. In fact, the day before it went Active and was available for showings, a buyer’s agent called and asked if they could submit a sight unseen offer. There are a multitude of reasons why a sight unseen offer may not be the best answer, not the least of which is likely a buyer’s agent arguing that their buyer-clients lose in multiple offer situations. To me, that sounds like hitting the open market is a case for making more money.

Family Room/Breakfast Nook as Viewed from Loft

What I didn’t see coming was the two other homes that became available in Dunbarton that quelled activity on 13248 Ormond. One was larger, with a finished basement, listed $50,000 less. That’s a problem. However, in speaking with the listing agent there, it seemed all the buyer enthusiasm was behind hers with a finished basement vs. having a loft and backyard. That agent was rolling in offers, which also told her she had under priced the home. What does that mean to buyers who haven’t talked to that competing listing agent, professional to professional? It means buyers would think my gorgeous listing would seem over priced. Understanding market perception is critical when listing in any type of market condition. Sellers can over price in a seller’s market. Mine didn’t, but if buyers thought she did, well, the offers would be lower.

Meanwhile, the elbow grease that went in to prepping this home for market was no different than any other market. Even when I thought I would be the only listing in the neighborhood, I was doing light staging and ordering professional photos. Why? It increases the seller’s bottom line, even in a seller’s market. That all important buyer enthusiasm matters.

Light staging in a kitchen is always a way to increase buyer enthusiasm

Making sure that pre-wired speakers and TV mounts were not eye sores, I was busy fluffing. I even neatened up what was already in place from wiping down a shower, replacing light bulbs, coiling an exterior hose or placing patio chairs. The home showed absolutely perfect. Even the agent that hosted an open house was impressed.

Bearing in mind the scrum going on at the under priced basement home on an extended offer deadline, when my seller got an offer that was higher than what my highest hope for her home had been, she was quick to act and accept the one fantastic offer she had. If not, she would be facing the lost buyers that felt they were competing for more home at a lower price elsewhere. Those buyers don’t swing very hard. This Dunbarton beauty was under contract in two days.

Stay tuned for the final sold price. It will be impressive. In the meantime, if you have been considering the sale of your home, in Dunbarton or elsewhere, get in touch for your own confidential consultation. I am well versed in the market forces and perception that will be at work when you list. A seller’s market is not a guarantee of a sky high offer, or even multiple offers. The highest rewards go to those who prepare and create buyer enthusiasm. That is the name of the game no matter the market.

Just Sold in Campbell’s Trace, Manassas

7664 Duneiden Lane, Manassas in Campbell’s Trace

The time between signing a listing and actually hitting the market varies from seller to seller. In the case of this Campbell’s Trace piggyback style townhouse in Campbell’s Trace, the sellers signed the listing agreement September 26, 2021. It hit the market exactly five months later on February 26, 2022.

The reason for the delay was fairly simple. With a job relocation taking employment out of state for one half of the couple, the trailing spouse still needed time to lock down permission to work remotely for the job they still had in the Northern Virginia area. That took time. In the meantime, knowing that the job relocation would mean an advance move with most of the furniture following the spouse with the relocating job, leaving the trailing spouse with sparse furnishings in the home come marketing time, we decided to have the home professional photographed before that out of state move. Maybe you noticed the orange tipped leaves on the trees to the right. These photos were taken in early November.

While the market had improved come February, there was one sale outstanding in Campbell’s Trace that had overshot on list price and hadn’t yet closed. A townhosue of the same style had hit the market at an exuberant $408,000, gone under contract quickly, but hit the market again at a lower price of $390,000. To a full-time, professional agent that sure did smell like a low appraisal problem. It was for this reason I advised my sellers to stick with the list price we chose in the fall of $379,000 and let the market work.

After four days on the market, we had four offers, all above list price. The sellers didn’t even pick the highest offer. The reason was that the highest offer had a low appraisal guarantee that didn’t span the entire difference between list price and their offer. (Buyers do these when they can’t afford to waive appraisal entirely.) The same with another, higher offer. When you took their low appraisal guarantee amounts and added them to the last highest price the neighborhood had seen, it was the same price the sellers had in two other offers.

The sellers decided to take an offer with no contingencies at all and a $20,000 earnest money deposit. Nothing shows a seller that a buyer is serious like an offer with no contingencies and an earnest money deposit that is four times higher than what is typical in their price range. If the buyer failed to close for any reason that was not the fault of the seller, that $20,000 would be liquidated to the seller. The other offer with no contingencies only offered a $5,000 earnest money deposit.

Today, this Campbell’s Trace piggyback style townhouse closed for $400,000. That is a new high price for this style of townhouse in the neighborhood. It didn’t happen by accident. The market is great and favors sellers, but after seeing a suspected low appraisal issue in the neighborhood already, it was all about pricing right and not chasing fool’s gold. Before that, it was about preparing the home to enhance buyer enthusiasm which created that multiple offer situation. And finally, locking in a back up offer so if the first deal didn’t go through, there was no hitting the market again, leaving buyers and agents to wonder what was wrong with the house.

If you have been considering taking advantage of the seller’s market, get in touch with me for a no obligation consultation. Helping you properly prepare for market and create buyer enthusiasm with professional marketing is what I do. Weeding through multiple offers and helping you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each one is where the rubber meets the road. It is not all about price if a buyer can’t pay what they offered without an appraised value matching it. Having me on your side navigating the process will have you at very top of what the market will bear.

The Highest Price The Greens at Wescott Ridge Has Ever Seen

The Highest Price The Greens at Wescott Ridge Has Ever Seen

The Greens at Wescott Ridge are a collection of condos that are structurally stacked townhouses. Two days before Christmas I received contact information for sellers at 11620-B Cavalier Landing who were ready to talk to a listing agent then and there. Two hours to get ready with market comps, I was there to meet the sellers. They were being relocated out of the country for work and needed a reliable agent to handle the listing and sale of their home. After some brief conversation and a look at market comps, my abilities to help them became apparent. Shortly after Christmas, they reached out to officially hire me.

Listing outside of spring was concerning them. While they shook their heads affirmatively when I told them about the powers of the end of year and beginning of the New Year markets, I could still sense anxiety. When their condo was cleaned and staged and had professional photos that I shared, their nerves eased. The home looked great.

Priced at $489,800, we hit the market as planned on February 25th (2022.) Within hours of hitting the market, they had an offer. That buyer’s agent had phoned ahead of her showing to see if a pre-offer inspection was okay. My sellers agreed. So when the offer from that buyer rolled in, they were overjoyed. Not only did it reach the coveted $500,000 mark, but went beyond.

Because they were traveling to their new overseas home during that weekend, we agreed to talk on Tuesday the 3rd of March. By then they had four offers and all were above list price. One other offer came in a tad higher than the first, but they stuck with the buyer that had already had it inspected and knew what they were buying. That sale closed today for $515,000. And despite waiving appraisal and being willing to pay above a suspected low appraised value, the home appraised at sold price. That’s because I gave the appraiser comps, the multiple offers and a list of updates. The buyer had zero regrets about purchasing this lovely condo for $515,000 on March 22nd, which is a new record high in The Greens at Wescott Ridge.

Are you ready to sell your Greens at Westcott Ridge condo? I would love to talk to you about maxing out your take in this seller’s market. The market alone isn’t where success like this comes from. Proper preparation, professional marketing and skilled negotiation are the keys to success in any market. In a seller’s market, it means that much more money in your pocket. Get in touch for a confidential consultation today. There are certainly more buyers looking for homes in your neighborhood.

Selling in a Seller’s Market is Not a Guarantee of Best Terms

Selling in a Seller’s Market is Not a Guarantee of Best Terms

As limited housing supply continues to meet unfettered buyer demand, more and more sellers have been overly confident in their place in the market. Believe it or not, not all homes sell in a seller’s market. They will if they are priced right and/or in good condition. Market forces are always at work, which means buyers still compare what is offered to what they have recently seen and what they expect to see in the near future.

It is not uncommon for a buyer to walk away from a perfectly pleasing, over priced home in a seller’s market because they fear it will get bid up above that list price. Preparing market reports regularly for the neighborhoods of Braemar, Dominion Valley and Regency I see sellers getting below list price and selling in weeks, not days. Some even have to give seller subsidy. Why? It’s a seller’s market, right?

When buyer demand is high and inventory is low we are indeed in a seller’s market. That does not mean that sellers can ignore listing preparation, hire low skill listing agents who know nothing of professional marketing and expect to get the top of the market. Consider a top athlete who is a free agent. They will get picked up, but how much money they make depends on the strength of their agent. Agency is all about advocacy. Sellers who hire listing agents are not unlike athletes or actors who have an advocate on their side advising them and helping them negotiate. Talent agents know how to best present their client’s gifts to increase demand to max out the money made.

Bringing it back to real estate and the intense buyer demand our seller’s market is facing, it is fair to say to any seller who asks if they need to complete listing preparation to sell, “No.” If the price is right for the projects left to buyers who are faced with having to pay their own closing costs, down payment and now take on projects in a home, there is no doubt the home will sell. The question is, how much is being left on the table by leaving the preparation undone? More than the cost of the preparation.

Same goes for sight unseen offers. Can a seller get a great offer before anyone has set foot in their home? Sure. If they let showings roll a few days, chances are the offers would get better and better. Why? The pressure to accept sight unseen offers is usually from buyers who know they will not be competitive in a multiple offer situation. And if they will not be competitive in a multiple offer situation, why on earth would a seller who only gets one chance at maximizing their profit not wait to see more than one offer? From my own comps, I recently watched as a seller left approximately $30,000 on the table by not being photographed or going active with their listing agent. Very few sellers I know are willing to walk away from that kind of profit.

Having a strong advocate who knows the current market conditions because they are active in them every day is so important. Let’s go back to our talent agent analogy. Do you think hiring a relative who just became a talent agent is what big name athletes and movie stars do? No. Their paychecks are dependent on outstanding representation. They sign with agents with proven track records of success and outstanding reputations. Why don’t sellers when it comes to listing? Part of the problem is that they conflate the cost of a listing agent with the bottom line they will net. They never consider that a more experienced agent will more than pay for themselves in the preparation advice, professional marketing and skilled negotiation. The other part of the problem is they think anyone with a license will do. This job has very minimal standards. Agents who are exceeding industry standards are the ones breaking records with list prices.

When it is time to list your home, even if it is in a seller’s market, pay attention to the marketing done on behalf of the other listings in this seller’s market. Are they offering staging advice and other preparation? Are they hiring a professional to take listing photos? Are they pushing sight unseen offers? There is never an easy button when it comes to getting the absolute max the market will bear. However, if a seller is okay with leaving tens of thousands on the table, any agent will do. If they want every dollar they can get, are willing to do the work and put up with a few days of showings, they will be over the moon with the results when they hire an experienced broker like me to help them through the process.

A seller’s market can be exceptionally profitable, but should not be treated as a lottery. Choosing the path with the best odds of getting top of the market will make a seller successful. That path starts with hiring the right advocate.

Under Contract in Fairfax After Four Days

11620-B Cavalier Landing Court in Fairfax Listed for $489,800 on 2/25/2022

Under Contract in Fairfax After Four Days

It was clear that the weekend of February 26th (2022) was going to be a busy one. Listing 11620-B Cavalier Landing Court in Fairfax on February 25th and 7664 Duneiden Lane in Manassas on February 26th meant the phone would be ringing and text notifications beeping all day. Forget about enjoying a slow morning or having dinner with family. In the seller’s market dominating the suburbs of Northern Virginia, having two listings is a lot of work for a Top Producing Listing Agent.

When it came to this Greens at Wescott Ridge condo, it was only a matter of hours on the market before the first offer came rolling in. The buyers had requested permission to have a pre-offer inspection. Their desire to come in with a clean offer was strong, but being first time buyers they still wanted the assurance of an inspection. Asking the seller if they would oblige the request, the sellers were happy to sign off on the inspection. A walk and talk home inspection to ease a buyer’s mind prior to making an offer is better than even a Right to Void Only Home Inspection. A walk and talk inspection is a quick run through the house with a licensed home inspector who can give you ideas of the age of systems and give information after a visual look at the major components of the home. It allows the buyer to offer without an inspection contingency at all.

After four days on the market, and an open house that had probably three dozen sets of buyer through, I was shocked that the sellers had only four offers to choose from. Perhaps the geo-political uncertainty that was looming had buyers being a bit more cautious. That or the offers waived off that were simply not going to be competitive would have put us at double that amount or more. No sense building up the field with buyers that are not competitive.

Tuesday morning came and the sellers and I looked through the four offers. There were two that stood out immediately. The first and one of the last. There were very similar. That left a tough decision. The sellers chose the first offer. It was straight forward and had no escalation clause. That buyer went all-in with what they could do and had already invested in the inspection conducted Friday morning. The third offer started their bid at list price and went up in an escalation clause. They also had no contingencies, but with no condo documents in hand, they had an open ended right to void until we could close that loop.

You will have to stay tuned for the final sold price on this Greens at Wescott Ridge condo. If you are an owner in the development thinking of selling, there is more demand and prices are going up. Hit it while they are high! Get in touch for a no obligation consultation and let’s see if a sale feels right for you in 2022.

Under Contract in Manassas in Four Days

7664 Duneiden Lane in Manassas Listed for $379,000 on February 26, 2022

Under Contract in Manassas in Four Days

Before this townhouse at 7664 Duneiden Lane ever hit the market as an Active listing, I had a buyer’s agent or two swirling around wanting to make a sight unseen offer when it was listed as Coming Soon. If I didn’t know any better, I would think it was because the listing photos were so darn good. After all, the sellers let me get a professional photographer in there four months before they listed. They knew that it would be mostly vacant of furniture when it hit the market. Together we decided it would show best with the furnishings that were perfectly on trend and really made the home inviting.

As I said above, that is what I would think if I didn’t know any better. This isn’t my first rodeo. Usually, my listings don’t become Active until the photo shoot is done. Photos are generally the last piece of the listing puzzle. Once they are up, there is usually no sense in waiting to list a home as Active. Even from a single exterior photo, pleas from buyer agents are being made on many listings for a seller to accept a sight unseen offer. Why? These buyers are desperate to get under contract and feel that is the last trick they have left. The side I see in the pleas is that these buyer agents also know that their buyer’s offer will not be competitive once the home is Active and open to the entire market.

Not surprisingly, this townhouse in Campbell’s Trace had non-stop buyer traffic the moment it went active. And the offers got better and better. Every one of the five offers the sellers received were over list price. In the end, the sellers had a choice of multiple offers with no home inspection contingencies, no appraisal contingencies or low appraisal guarantees. That is why it pays to hit the market and be open to all buyers.

Stay tuned for the final sold price. And if you are interested in selling while the market is this hot, get in touch with me for a no obligation market analysis.

Is Listing Preparation Necessary in a Seller’s Market?

Is Listing Preparation Necessary in a Seller’s Market?

Sitting across from a seller this morning who had started the process of packing, pausing only to sign our listing agreement, there was a lot of discussion over what is necessary to do prior to hitting the market. Very few homes that I walk into are neutral enough, de-cluttered enough and exuding enough mass appeal to be what I, as a real estate professional, would consider market ready, but it does happen.

As a Top Producing Agent in the Bristow/Gainesville area, the sellers I meet want the maximum amount of money they get out of their homes for the minimal amount of effort. Moving is hard enough. Prepping a home for a red hot market seems ridiculous to them. After all, the market is so hot that some sellers are accepting sight unseen offers. They want to know why I am advising them to paint, de-clutter, put in new carpet, etc when a buyer is likely to write a sight unseen offer. The answer is usually in the realm of, “Because you want the same or better that the seller down the street got, and their home was move-in ready.”

Market value is determined by being open to the market. Yes, buyers actually seeing the inside of your home in person. (I know. What a pain, right?) Time and again, sale after sale as sellers and I go over comps, I point out how much more this home made after a few days on the market, being presented move-in ready and professionally presented vs. that home that listed as Coming Soon and took a sight unseen offer from a buyer that didn’t even see photos of the home. A seller that popped up in our comps today sold their home sight unseen. I know the inside of the home because I have been in it. To say the seller left money on the table by taking a sight unseen offer is an understatement. Try thirty-thousand dollars or so is my guess.

Earlier in the week, two of my Coming Soon listings were getting calls from buyer agents begging for a chance to submit an offer sight unseen and have my sellers decide right then and there. Why is that? They know their buyers won’t be competitive when the listing hit the open market. Why on earth would I advise my sellers to take a sight unseen offer that I know can be bested on the open market when they only get one chance to sell the most valuable asset they have? The situations are few and far between where that would make sense. Trying to sell before losing a home to foreclosure would be one of them. Losing out on a home they are under contract to buy because their home sale contingency is about to expire. Minimizing the exposure of a bedridden relative to an overwhelming amount of buyers would be another. Anything else that would may tempt someone to walk away from thirty-thousand dollars would be worthy of investigating opportunities they may not have considered. Boarding pets. Spending the weekend in a hotel. You only get to liquidate your home once.

The same argument goes for listing preparation. Buyer enthusiasm with those exuberant multiple offers doesn’t come from a home that hasn’t been de-cluttered, neutralized and spiffed up for buyers. Sure, an unprepared home may get multiple offers, but the offers will be substantially higher when a seller has put effort into making the home move-in ready. The market comps show it time and again. Is skipping the work worth the money that would be lost?

A little effort goes a long way in this market. Painting the home a neutral color is a great way to put a fresh clean face on the interior of a home. Sometimes the outside might need some fresh paint on the doors, shutters and trim. And maybe a power washing. First impressions are powerful. Tidying up and depersonalizing allow buyers to see themselves living there, which increases their enthusiasm for a home, which increases the price seen in offers.

So when a seller asks me if preparation is necessary, the answer is always, “No, but are you willing to walk away from five to ten percent more in final sold price?” The home sale we saw today that left thirty thousand on the table may have thought differently if her agent had said, “I think you can sell for thirty thousand more if we hit the market for a weekend. What do you think?” Put a price tag on the dreaded event and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.

Time for the Annual Move

Time for the Annual Move

My mother has a saying. “Moving is like dying and going to hell.” Certainly, no one looks forward to packing their belongings, hauling them to another location, unpacking them and trying to recreate the organization they had where they came from. As a real estate agent, everyone of my clients is leading up to a move, outside of investors selling or buying rental property. While the majority of them are looking forward to a new chapter in their next home, some are moving not out of want, but out of necessity. This has been my life with my mother for the past five years. Take the stress of moving and combine it with emotionally draining circumstances and you can feel like someone is bludgeoning you from the inside out.

The Move of 2018: It all started with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia, which came one or two years earlier. Mom was slowly losing ground with her memory. She would get anxious in the car at night, not knowing where she was. She seemed to have trouble keeping new memories and blamed it on getting old. Finally, my brother revealed, mom had called him because she didn’t know her way home from the store. We weren’t convinced mom was okay to be alone anymore and it took us two years, and taking her car from her, to convince her to move to Ashby Ponds in Ashburn. She started in Independent Living. At that point in time, she could still do most things for herself. That was Halloween, 2018.

The Move of 2019: After starting a new life in Ashby Ponds, the depth of mom’s day to day trouble functioning was revealed. A move to such a big community was a lot for my mom. Had we moved her there five years earlier, she may have been able to stay in Independent Living longer and enjoy all the community had to offer. Instead, after a several month attempt at having once daily help with her evening routine, the move to the smaller world of Assisted Living happened in September.

The Move of 2020: Mom thrived in Assisted Living. She really did well there…until the pandemic shut down all socialization and group dining in March. Mom went downhill cognitively as if she was heading downhill from the top of a rollercoaster. And she wasn’t the only one. Residents were like pound puppies, left to live in their small apartments and dine alone. Attempts at video chats didn’t fill the void. And not seeing anyone’s facial expressions due to the masks made reading non-verbal cues hard. Her exit seeking behavior and anxiety made the decision easy. It was off to Memory Care that October.

The Move of 2021: Memory Care was a tough pill to swallow, but necessary at the time. Again, mom found her stride and thrived there. Then, late on the evening of June 29th, mom was roaming the halls anxiously looking for my deceased father and fell. She broke her hip. What started as a short-term physical therapy/convalescence stay in the Post Acute floor of Ashby Ponds, turned into an August move to her hospital room there. She had developed wounds on her heels and required more nursing care than Memory Care would allow. Then, just as I felt like the annual moves were over…

The Move of 2022: Mom has healed enough physically to go back to Memory Care. Believe it or not, this may be the happiest move we have had of all five. Mom is going back where she can thrive in a world meant for her and not be trapped on a floor because of one physical ailment. Plus, she gets back most of her stuff that has been sitting in a storage unit.

Each of these moves has been most taxing on an emotional level. I have found it comforting to make lists of tasks I can do each day and surround myself with a team of compassionate specialists. Last year’s move was really hasty and needed to be done as quickly and cheaply as possible. Every other move has been with the assistance of movers that specialize in relocating seniors. To this day, I really wish I had hired the senior move service last year.

Mom doesn’t realize she has moved most times. It’s a tough thing on my brother and me. We have had to downsize her each time and that process is always painful. We end up going through photos and nick nacks evaluating whether or not she needs or wants them. Most times the answer is no, so we divest of her belongings, as you would when a parent dies. I hope that this fifth annual move is our last. The struggle of moving elderly family members who are in decline is one of the hardest moves you will ever undergo.

As a licensed Associate Broker in Viriginia, my job is to help sellers get great terms when selling their home in the time frame that suits them best. As a daughter who has dealt with an annual move of my declining mother, I am honored to make moves like these as easy as possible for my elder clients and their family. I am happy to share whatever experience I have gained from having been down this well worn path. Please don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of assistance.

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