Most older adults will tell you they want to age in place. I think most of us envision enjoying our retirement in the home we spent so many years making just right, and in the neighborhood and community where we built friendships and relationships. It’s the obvious choice to age in place, right?
Not so fast. Sometimes as we age circumstances change, and that requires us to reconsider how and where we choose to spend the later years of our lives. That, my friends, is our topic for this episode of the Sage Aging Podcast. Should you or your loved one age in place or downsize to a smaller home or senior living community? In this episode, I was joined by Jared Weggeland of Focus Realty Group (connect with Jared in the links section on this page). We approached the topic from the physical home perspective, but let’s broaden the scope for a moment.
*Click the player above to listen to this episode or find the transcript at the bottom of the page.
Aging in Place?
We’ve all heard this phrase, but what does it mean? Basically, it means living out your years in your own home as safely, independently, and comfortably as possible. But how is this accomplished? Well, that may look different for everyone, but here are a few key things to consider if you or your loved one plan to stay home as you age:
Do you need assistance with money management or healthcare and medication management?
Are you concerned about getting the proper nutrition?
Is someone available and close by in case of emergency?
Are you financially able to remain home with the services you require?
Will social isolation be a problem?
The presence of any of the listed concerns does not mean you can’t remain home safely. It does mean you will need to put the right help in place to ensure your safety and well-being. Most communities have assistance programs like medical transportation and meal delivery. But getting the additional help you need will likely come at a cost. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what is available in your community. (in Polk, contact the Senior Connection Center).
People decide to downsize for lots of reasons. Some downsize because a larger home may be too expensive, difficult to maintain, full of clutter, or too far away from loved ones. Alternatively, some choose to downsize because they desire a different lifestyle than they are currently living, opting for an environment that is more socially engaging. Whatever the reason, here are a few key things to consider when you’ve decided it’s time to make a move:
Where will you downsize to? A smaller home, senior living community, move in with family? (Listen to episode 61 for a detailed overview of senior living options)
Assistance with ADLs – do you need assistance with activities of daily living?
Budget – do your wants meet your budget?
Geographic Location – do you want to locate closer to loved ones?
Accessibility – when choosing a new home, look for design elements or make renovations that will allow for long term physical needs
Assisted living – assisted living communities are a great option for those who need a little extra help and/or want a social environment. If assisted living interests you, consider utilizing the services of a senior placement specialist. They can help navigate the gathering of information and comparison of options. Services are generally free.
No Wrong Answer
There is a lot to consider when evaluating whether to age in place or downsize to a smaller home, or senior living community. The good news is that there is no wrong answer. Pre-planning financially will certainly afford you more choices, but with the wide range of living and care options available, almost any situation is possible. Communication is key. Engage your loved ones in the process for the most successful life transitions.
[00:00:00] Liz Craven: Hello, and welcome to episode 64 of the Sage Aging Podcast. Most older adults would tell you that they want to age in place. I think most of us vision enjoying our retirement years in the home, where we spent so many years making it just right and, in the neighborhood, and the community where we built friendships and relationships, it’s the obvious choice to age in, right?
Not so fast. Sometimes as we age circumstances change, and that requires us to reconsider how and where we choose to spend the later years of our lives. And that, my friends, is our topic today; To age in place or to downsize? That’s the question. If you or a loved one are trying to decide whether to age in place or downsize to a smaller home or a senior living community
this is the episode for you. And while we’re here, I want to mention, if you can go back to episode 61, just a couple of episodes back, Michael Gall was with me, and we discussed all the different senior living options that are available in any community. So, if you didn’t listen to that, you’ll definitely want to go listen to that
after you listen to this conversation, joining me today for this episode is Jared Weggeland. Since 1995, Jared has been involved in the home industry and since then has become an expert in the real estate, new home construction and remodeling industries. I asked Jared to join me today because he and his team have shown a great commitment to the needs of older adults in the community.
And they’ve been so creative in helping families find an answer to the question. Should I age in place? Or should I downsize to a smaller home or senior living community? So, I’m really looking forward to this conversation. I think that Jared has a wealth of knowledge to share with us today.
And I am so excited to share him with you. Welcome to the podcast, Jared.
[00:02:01] Jared Weggeland: Thank you, Liz. I’m very happy to be here.
[00:02:03] Liz Craven: Jared is on the list of one of my favorite people. I love Jared. If you live in the central Florida Lakeland, Winter Haven area, you’ll see the guy running around, always in purple.
That is his signature color. I absolutely love it, but he. Is around this community, spreading joy, spreading knowledge, and making a difference in lives. So, he’s definitely somebody that you want to get to know. And if you will visit the show notes or the blog post for this episode, you’ll find his contact information and be able to connect with him outside of this.
This topic. Holy cow, this probably hits home for almost everybody in a community, whether they realize it or not, because there’s one thing, we all have in common. I say this almost every episode the thing we have in common that we can’t control is that we’re all getting older.
[00:02:58] Jared Weggeland: Yes.
[00:02:59] Liz Craven: Yeah, it just happens. No, we can’t stop it. And you know, we need to just embrace that and take all that comes along with that. But we do have to pay attention and make sure that we’re making decisions and planning for the future, whatever that may bring. And so today, we’re going to explore a little bit of the aging in place dynamic and a little bit of the downsizing dynamic, because from your perspective as a realtor, I know that there are a lot of options out there and it really shouldn’t be such a source of stress, but just more an avenue of discovery of figuring out which is the right scenario for each individual.
[00:03:42] Jared Weggeland: You’re absolutely right. And every single family is unique. Every single person is unique, and their comfort levels are different. And so that really affects how they end up choosing to solve their problem, their question, because it still is where they live and where they enjoy their life and the lifestyle they prefer.
Um, so there’s a lot that goes into it, but once they find it, they’re very happy with the.
Well, we’re going to get into that topic, but first I would love it if you’d just tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sure. So I am, uh, half American, half British. My mother comes from England and my wife comes from England.
So, I spent 12 years in England as a young boy and was married in London and brought my bride home. And that’s when we went to college. Well, Paula was done. She’s an educator, special needs educator. And, uh, I did my degree in construction management at Brigham young university, many, many, many, many moons ago.
And, I’ve always had a passion for housing. Even my mother would tell me as a small boy, I’d be drawing houses and floor plans, and it’s just in my blood. This is what I love to do. And then, as I went along in my career, financing became a big part of the whole housing scenario. And so, I worked for Barclay’s Bank for a time.
And Wells Fargo and got to know that very well and have been into, you know, direct consumer housing market since about 2000. And, uh, me and my teams have literally helped thousands and thousands of people, with their housing solutions. So, I just love it. It’s just fun. It’s hard work, but when you enjoy it, it’s just what you do.
[00:05:25] Liz Craven: You do bring the joy to real estate, for sure. I remember when you first made that transition into real estate and how exciting it was to watch you, because you were so excited about what you were doing, and you spread that to everybody you interact with. So, congratulations to you. And I love that you bring the banking and the real estate part together because they go hand in hand. You don’t have one without the other. So…
[00:05:53] Jared Weggeland: Yeah, we, we often talk about a custom solution because everyone’s scenario is completely unique. So, when we talk about custom solution, we talk about the financing end. We talk about the housing end.
We talk about whether it’s building or remodeling or real estate or what have you. Even though we’re all people, what we end up with the end solution is very different every time.
[00:06:13] Liz Craven: Absolutely. Well, let’s jump in. I want to start by having a little chat about aging in place. That is something I believe the statistic is 90% of surveyed adults, 65 and older say
they want to age in place. And for those of you listening, who aren’t sure what that means, that just means they choose to live the later years of their life as independently and successfully as possible in their current living situation. So, it might be an apartment that they live in. It might be a single-family home.
It might be a condo. It could even be that they describe their assisted living community as the place that they want to age in place. It’s really about choice and about maintaining as much independence as possible in your later years. And that’s what most people vision as aging in place. So, along those lines, let’s talk about that from the perspective of a single family home, because that’s probably where most people are expressing that desire to age in place.
So, I’ll give you an example. So, my parents are both in their eighties. And they’re both aging in place. Um, but they have had to modify their homes. So, for example, my mother, she has a small cottage and she had one bathroom, but it was a tub with a very high side. It was really hard for her. So, we had, we just added a full bathroom with a shower only where she could have a seat and you can have a wand make it very easy.
Now that was phase one, phase two is her laundry is downstairs. There’s no way. And she’s fallen down the stairs before. So, I told her we’re either going to put one in Europe. They have all in ones, washer, dryers. Right. But she didn’t want to do that, but she did promise that she walks out front and goes down the side rather than using the steps anymore.
So, it’s a bit of a hike, but it’s something. My father, he lives in a three-story town home. And even though he’s only. He likes the stairs cause that’s his workout. So, him and my stepmom use that. And just within the past few years, she’s had a stroke. And so, on one of the levels, they do have a chair and they try not to use it up the stairs, but sometimes they just have to, and that’s what they have.
So, they’re making the modifications that need to, because they really enjoy their neighborhood, their neighbors, their lifestyle. They don’t want to go anywhere, but also, they realize, ah, I need a little help. It’s not how it was. It’s not how it needs to be, so I can stay here and be safe.
Liz Craven: You make a really good point and that’s that aging in place
has just as much to do with the neighborhood and community and all of those things as it does the memories that live within your four walls. Sure. And I think that’s probably the piece that people misunderstand the most. Well, it’s just a house, you know, move to a smaller house. It’s not that simple because every morning for 40 years, you’ve walked out the front door to get the paper and you’ve waved
good morning to your neighbor across the. Or you watch the kids come home, you know, when they get,
[00:09:18] Jared Weggeland: um, it made a massive difference during COVID. Uh, my mother wasn’t able to leave her house, but she knew enough people they’d bring food, they bring medicine. So, she was totally fine. She had a little garden, she could walk out and so she could be outside, but she was isolated for almost two years.
And without that sense of community, she probably wouldn’t have fared as well.
[00:09:36] Liz Craven: Yes. So, what can people do to create a situation where aging in place is possible. What are some of the most common home modifications that you’re seeing?
[00:09:47] Jared Weggeland: The home modifications that we’re seeing are leveling out floors. If you have a house with many levels, even though it’s only one or two step, if you have a lot of those.
It’s just not convenient. And then they also start bringing up the excuse of, hey, well, I’ve got now a little baby grandchildren. They’re going to be running and falling down the stairs either. So, converting lanais. So, there’s no step and it’s all part of the same living area. Things like that’s a very simple one, but that is something that you don’t think about
usually. A step here or there. And even though they’re quote unquote, one story homes that they have got steps, they still have steps. They want to avoid them. Uh, other things are simple, like your tubs and your showers, almost every master bedroom bathroom that we remodeled takes out the tub. Almost every time. And some of them want a roll in shower.
Not that they need it today, but for later preparation, they’re going to spend thousands of dollars upgrading their house. So, thinking way ahead in the future. Um, so we take out a lot of tubs. There was a whole time when the separate shower and tub was the thing and all the homes had them built in and they were all connected, and they looked great.
But generally, Americans shower more. That’s just, it. We do put in a few tubs, but it’s not as common as the showers. So, things like the showers in the bathrooms are very, very common. But also, things that you would expect. If they know they have some type of degenerative disease where they will have a walker or a wheelchair.
And it’s just a matter of time than going in and widening doors. Less hallways. We had one home in south Lakeland and they had us take out the whole middle of the house. So, it used to be a foyer, a dining room, a kitchen, a living area. All of those walls were taken out. A new pantry was built, but then the kitchen dining, everything was all one space.
So, there was no partitions. It was easy to get around. So, it decreased the amount of steps made it very, very accessible. And, um, honestly with that change and the master on the first level, somebody with a walker or chair could easily live there for many, many years.
And then things like that you would think of as, um, I know it’s silly, but just putting in a wand set in the show. They’ve got to sit down. They want to have a wand instead of just the shower
[00:12:09] Liz Craven: that is not silly at all. That is the best tool when you’re caring for someone who’s aging and for someone to stay independent.
[00:12:17] Jared Weggeland: Yeah. And it’s stuff you don’t necessarily think about, but it makes it so much easier. Um, so that, and then the grab bars. I sold a house recently and they had an area designated for the mother-in-law. And they just had a grab bar in that hallway from the kitchen area to the suite.
And that was all that was needed. Just one little steady because once they’re in the room, they’ve got other stuff, but just, uh, just the grab bars, just small things, but it makes it easier for living there.
That’s really smart Stuff. I know when my father-in-law stayed with us and for anyone who’s been listening to the podcast, they’ve heard all about Hank and how much we loved him and enjoyed having him live with us for a time.
He suffered from Alzheimer’s, but he also had really bad knees. And so, balance was a problem and mobility was a problem. And especially as the days went on, He without the grab bars and the wider doors and we did take out the tub in our bathroom and we made sure that that shower was accessible to him in a wheelchair.
And all of those things as a caregiver that made our lives very, very, very different. From struggle city every single day. And I’m not saying it wasn’t hard after that point, there are lots of things that make being a caregiver hard, but the physical part of it alone for this six-foot two man who was just big and hard to help him, it really made a difference in our world.
And you’re completely right. And some people don’t think about just simple things like the flooring. If you transitioned to one floor throughout the house, There’s no changes. There’s no lips. There’s no place you can trip or get a wheel caught or things like that. So sometimes just a matter of tearing out the tile and the wood and the carpet.
All so one thing is throughout the entire house just so there’s no thresholds it, you know, you don’t think it make a difference, but it does cause a that’s just one other tripping hazard that exists.
[00:14:15] Liz Craven: And that’s not something that is too terribly expensive. There are some things that could take a lot of money, but there are a lot of simple things that you can do.
Have you found that there are certain modifications that have better return on investment than others?
[00:14:30] Jared Weggeland: Well, you know, the old adage, it’s the kitchens and baths sell it just, it truly is. Um, it’s, there’s no difference. Um, now what is nice is the way that we’re designing them is a quote unquote able-bodied family could walk in and it’s not weird.
It’s not. So, designed for someone with severe handicaps that, an able- bodied family, it feels like they have to modify the so it’s actually quite nice for that. So it can be enjoyed without the fear of aw man, me reselling with all these special modifications.
No. Most people wouldn’t even know that they exist. Right. Unless they knew specifically about those things, they just think it’s cool. Oh, cool. A role in. Great. Yeah, it’s great. I’ve got no door, great. Less glass to clean. Okay. They didn’t know that it was a wheelchair necessarily.
[00:15:19] Liz Craven: That is a real big bonus. I love the no shower doors.
[00:15:22] Jared Weggeland: Yeah. So yeah, that’s the typical stuff, I will say that simple things, like when you update the entrance to the house and maybe have the pavers slope up to the door, rather than having. A four-inch step and then a four-inch step. Most people don’t notice it, but it’s very nice and it makes it very, very easy for somebody who doesn’t like steps.
Same thing going up the back. And, we actually have one house we just sold it’s under contract rather. And it has actual ramps front, back and garage. Cause the person in there was quadriplegic. And they just left. I’m like, this is great. Somebody really needs these if they need them. So, we’re leaving them.
So sometimes there are full-blown modifications and they’re just left anyway, so it doesn’t hurt. The kids can use them, and people can use them. And, um, so, but yeah, the kitchens and baths to answer your question, that’s always the same thing.
[00:16:15] Liz Craven: Nice. Okay. Let’s turn our conversation now. I mean, home modifications, those are all good ideas.
If you can do that to agent. Wonderful. I also want to turn your attention to a safety checklist that you can firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s right there on the front page, or you can just search for it. But it gives you a lot of tips and small things that you can do to modify your space right now in very simple ways, such as removing throw rugs and so on.
So go take a look at that and share that with others who might need it. That’s a great tool that you can have for. Elder care guide.com. Now I want to turn our attention to downsizing because downsizing can happen in a lot of different ways. And first let’s talk about, what are the different potential places that you could downsize to, whether that’s staying in a single-family home or going to a condo or a senior living community.
Let’s hear a little bit about that.
[00:17:16] Jared Weggeland: A great question. So, I had a client, and they were in their eighties, four bedroom house with a pool. They did not need all that maintenance. Um, it wasn’t a large yard, but did have a fence yard that needed upkeeping with the large trees. And it was just a lot of work.
So, we’re able to sell that house and they had options. So, number one, they could potentially go live with a child. Number two, there are plenty of 55 plus condos in this area. And there’s some huge benefits to those. You never have to worry about the exterior. Sometimes they have community managers that help with events and socializing.
Often, they have facilities for exercising or swimming or some have pickle ball. I mean, just fun things. I had a one friend, and she went to this specific community because they had a bowling league. Fantastic. That was something they enjoy doing. And it was part of the community like fantastic.
Enjoy it. It’s great. So that’s one way. Uh, some people, most don’t, but you can go to an apartment, but the downsize is you don’t know what those rents will be long-term. So, most of them have a fixed income and they prefer to take their equity and buy something that’s more affordable and typically less maintenance.
Now some of them will go to a quote unquote 55 plus community, but some will go to, what we call more like a carefree lifestyle, meaning it’s not age restricted, but it does have lawn service available. Um, It does have facilities such as a fishing or gym or yoga classes or something. So, there’s a sense of community there.
So, we have quite a few options. And then on the building side, this one particular customer decided to build a tiny house in their daughter’s backyard. They wanted to be with her, but not with her. They wanted it to be close, but not on top of each other in their mind. And so, their tiny home was, it wasn’t a micro home.
It wasn’t 120 square feet, but I think it ended up being 24 feet by 34 feet. And so it had just enough room for a full-sized kitchen and basically they had an open kitchen, dining living room studio. We put all the mechanicals in one area, so they had a bathroom that had the tall wall walk-in tub with the door, and it was, the woman was just adorable.
So, we had the tub put in and she’s like, Jared, come check this out. So I go in there and she’s like, she presses a button and all these led lights start flashing like a disco. It’s like, look it was so amazing. And of course, she knew I love purple. So, she looked the purple go on a little bit.
But we had the tub in there. We had. Stackable washer and dryer in the same room, we had a pedestal sink, so they didn’t have to worry about getting under it if they had a chair or a Walker. And we actually made it like a Jack and Jill bathroom, so they could get to it from the living area or from the bedroom area.
So, it was a one-bathroom tiny home, but you could get to it from me. So, if they didn’t have guests, didn’t have to go to the back to the bedroom, for example. Right. And then that particular case, we did a larger bedroom. Not all seniors sleep in the same bed. So, we need a little bit more room for two beds and we had a large closet for storage for them.
So, for them it was perfect, very low maintenance. It’s just not a lot to take care of, to clean up, to keep organized. And then actually what happened afterwards, they had contracted with us to build the home and then later on, they always had the vision to add on aluminum screen room. So, they just got aluminum company to do that later but it’s great.
It’s like a whole other area for them now. They can go out and sit in the wintertime and it’s just delightful. Brilliant. Yeah. Very, very nice. Yeah. No exaggeration. The house is about 20 feet from the daughter’s back door. At this particular one has a great layout because it’s not an alleyway, but they actually have access to the house from the road behind the house.
They don’t even have to park with the kids. They can park on their own and come in and have their guests come in, which was amazing. That was a great scenario. It worked out amazing and what’s even better is when they sold their other home. They could build the tiny home and have lots of equity left over just for their living expenses and things like that.
So financially it made a lot of sense as well.
[00:21:27] Liz Craven: It does. And I love that it allows for independence, but also that in an emergency, your loved one is right there where you can get help.
[00:21:38] Jared Weggeland: Right? Yeah. So, it was 100% self-contained they could cook, they could eat, they could do the loan, they could do everything themselves, own entrance, everything, but within a few yards, Uh, younger able-bodied family member is right in the hand.
[00:21:52] Liz Craven: And do you find that housing codes are accepting of building the tiny homes in the yard?
[00:21:57] Jared Weggeland: Yes. So locally, we’ve had to stick below 800 square feet. That’s the rule it’s called the ADU accessory dwelling unit. And it’s quite easy. I mean, the rules are pretty good for them. And so, in some cases we’re able to get, if you’ve got a smaller yard, sometimes we get as close as five feet to the property lines, almost like a detached garage.
And so even though it’s maybe not a large yard, you only need 20 by 30 feet and you’ll be surprised that fits in most backyards. So. Yes, the, the city and the county had been excellent. Sometimes we’re allowed to hook up to the existing utilities, water, and sewer. Sometimes we have to add a septic tank.
Sometimes we have to upgrade a septic tank. Sometimes we have to add a, well, it just depends on the situation, but yes, we find it actually sometimes easier than a single family. Cause there’s already a house there. It’s just another accessory dwelling.
[00:22:53] Liz Craven: So how long does it take?
[00:22:56] Jared Weggeland: Oh, it’s not very fast. I mean, it takes eight to 12 months. I mean, realistically, that’s what it is. So even though it’s tiny, it’s still waiting for all the supplies and the vendors and all that.
[00:23:05] Liz Craven: Right. And the permits and all of the checks. Yep.
[00:23:09] Jared Weggeland: All the inspections. It has to be built to normal code, like a house. It’s gotta be up to. Current hurricane standards and energy standards and all of that business. It’s not a shed. It’s an actual little house.
[00:23:20] Liz Craven: And there again, we go back to the importance of preparation, the importance of knowing it before you need it. And anyone who’s listened to the podcast has heard that before, too.
I always say know it before you need it. And if you practice life that way in knowing what you’re going to need later on, at least anticipating what might come about. And you’re prepared with information and armed with the finances because you prepared, then you have more options than if you are to just wait for crisis to occur, then you kind of have to just go with whatever’s available to you.
[00:23:56] Jared Weggeland: Um, and uh, one, one scenario worked out great. It was a family from Davenport, and it was the parents slash grandparents. One of the sons. And a son, wife, and child. What they did is they sold their three individual homes. They bought a large piece of land, 15 acres, and they built a U-shaped house compound for the three families to live in one. Was amazing. So, the parents had a room at the, actually they had two rooms at the front with their own bathroom, and then the one son had, uh, two rooms, a living room and a full. The other son, daughter, and child had two bedrooms, one for the couple, one for the child. And they shared the kitchen with the grandparents.
They all shared a utility room. And then in the middle of the U was the swimming pool in the recreation area that they all had access to from the main house. It was unbelievable.
[00:24:54] Liz Craven: That sounds a lot like co-housing are you familiar with co-housing?
[00:24:58] Jared Weggeland: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, this, uh, uh, the definition of multi-generation home.
Yeah. Yeah. And the parents were older, but they’re not old. They were retired, but not aged. Um, and so that meant they could work the land. They could do that. It was, it was an amazing, I really, really enjoyed that particular project because we designed it from scratch. So very specific to their family.
I mean, it was, I remember the one son, it was just him and his original design was three bedrooms, two bath. It was like, you don’t need all that. It’s just you. And so, we ended up doing a change order during the process where he realized, you know what, I’d rather a larger living room. So, let’s take out this bedroom.
And now I’m two-bedroom, two bathroom, but they all had their own entrances. They had plenty of garage spaces. It was fantastic. I was really impressed by this particular family. It was a great solution.
[00:25:51] Liz Craven: They’re very forward thinking. Yeah,
[00:25:52] Jared Weggeland: it was a great solution. It really was. And
[00:25:54] Liz Craven: I really do hope that we see more of the co-housing scenario emerge over the years.
I mean, co-housing is not anything new. It’s been around for many, many years in other communities, but it really is just kind of starting to get more attention here in the states. If you are unfamiliar with co-housing. I will link an episode that we did with Gail Bagley last year about co-housing and that whole concept and what that means.
I’d encourage you to check it out. It was so very interesting, and I know she was actually successful in her attempts to get a co-housing project happening here in Lakeland, where Jared and I are. So
I hope we see more of that. It’s kind of a return to community living where we really pay attention to our neighbors, know who our neighbors are and are involved in each other’s lives. I know over the years, hasn’t it become a little bit disconnected in neighborhoods.
[00:26:53] Jared Weggeland: Yeah. I mean, actually when we moved to America, it was very strange feeling because we would go into our garage and go into our house. and not really see anyone. Whereas in England we would leave the house, walk to the bus, stop, see everybody talk to everybody and it just seemed like you were more part of a group and here it’s so spread out. And I think that, like I said, right at the end of the day, every time doing homework and dinner done, we sort of in our own cocoon and then leave in the morning again.
But I remember there was two things made me think of at one point, I forget what year it was. Maybe it was 2018. There was one year. I was surprised that half of the homes we were designing, and building were multi-generation. Oh, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, I hadn’t thought of it. Like, man, that’s what I mean.
I was like, that’s a lot, but what’s going on? And then I remember I actually had two scenarios where I designed a home for two widows. Unrelated. Oh. And so, they would have a wing of the house, each side with their own garage and they shared the kitchen and great room area. Fabulous. They’ve got their own private space.
They want to be together. They can if they don’t want to, they don’t have to, but what a great solution.
[00:28:03] Liz Craven: Right. Far more affordable.
[00:28:05] Jared Weggeland: Oh, my goodness. Yeah. And they can have a lot nicer, better house together in a better area. And frankly, I think that they felt more secure. Because they weren’t just on their own.
There was somebody there, even though they weren’t, you know, together all the time, there was just somebody else in the house. It just makes them feel safer.
[00:28:22] Liz Craven: That’s exactly what I meant when I said that you and your team gets so creative with people about finding the answer to the question, because going back to that 90% statistic, people want to stay in their own space. And whether that means downsizing to a smaller space or staying in their current home, we have to be creative about finding those solutions. And from the perspective of the caregiver being knowledgeable of what options are out there, that’s really important because your loved one’s
wellbeing, their mental wellbeing. Their satisfaction and quality of life are really dependent on finding an option that works well for them. And I don’t want to leave assisted living communities, independent living communities out of the conversation because those certainly are great options for some.
My father-in-law when he was ready to be out of his single-family home, when that became too much, he made a conscious choice that he wanted to go to assisted living because that would allow him the independence that he desired for longer before he was going to need to live with a child or go to a memory care community or something like that.
And he knew that he had dementia and for him assisted living was the answer for a couple, two and a half years and was a great solution. And then he came to live with us but knowing what all the options are important. So,
[00:29:51] Jared Weggeland: and we had, you just made me think we had one example of a tiny house with a caregiver room.
[00:29:58] Liz Craven: Perfect.
[00:29:59] Jared Weggeland: And so, what happened, it was a two bedroom. So the client had a room. The caregiver had a private room, and they had a very large bathroom and the bathroom was large enough that we built in a seat for the owner. And the caregiver could bathe the person they’re caring for, with the wand, but it was large enough to, it wasn’t cumbersome for two people to take care of it.
It was fantastic. And then the caregiver had their own space. The owner had their own space and that was that. I thought it was a great idea.
[00:30:28] Liz Craven: Yeah. That’s a brilliant, brilliant. That’s so exciting. Well, I want to talk just a moment about, so we’ve decided that. Our single-family home is too much. Our current living situation is too much, bringing care into the house
isn’t really the option that we want or whatever. The reason we’ve decided we want to sell. We’re going to downsize to either a senior living community or a smaller dwelling. So how do we even get started in preparing our house to sell?
[00:30:58] Jared Weggeland: That’s a great question. A lot of it depends on the financing.
So, I gave an example where a couple can keep their property, use a home equity, conversion, mortgage, reverse mortgage, pull out equity and use that to move on to their next project while still owning the project and renting it and having income from that. Well, that’s interesting.
[00:31:23] Liz Craven: That’s a good idea.
[00:31:24] Jared Weggeland: Also, a more traditional home equity line.
There’s no money on the house. It’s there’s no mortgage take out a couple of hundred thousand. Use that for your move to whatever facility that might be and keep it as a rental and have. Off of that. ‘Cause most have a fixed income. So that’s one thing. So working out the financing, do we need to sell it to generate the income, to be able to purchase or do something?
Or is there another way? So, it always starts off with the money typically. Then the next thing is the typical, what buyers are looking for is move-in ready. No projects and something that’s clean. It’s not more complicated than that. So, the first thing I would tell everybody is no matter what, just do a deep spring, clean to get it as clean as you possibly can.
I’ll give you an example. I went to a home. It was a few years ago now and it was obvious they had somebody come in to clean it. But in the corners of the stairs, it was black. So, I thought, oh man, even though it looks like somebody came in clean, it it’s that black in the corner. This was probably filthy two weeks ago.
That’s awful. Anyway. So, clean it, clean it. Once it’s clean, then you can evaluate, okay. Now what do I have to do? Are there repairs that need to be done? Because what sellers sometimes forget about is yes, it’s a sellers’ market, which is wonderful, but the buyers are using everything. They have to win these bidding wars.
They’re putting all the money they have into it, their down payment, their closing costs, sometimes appraisal gaps. They really don’t want to come in and have lots of projects if it’s at all possible. So, anything that needs to be fixed is obviously broken. If you can do it and have the money to do it, then it’s worth it.
Also, you’ll get, you’ll get more bids, and you’ll get a higher price. So, the investment of cleaning and doing a few repairs, very easy, um, simple things that aren’t new to anybody. The first impression really is a first impression. So, if your door is all jacked up, Strip it paint it, new door knob, new knocker.
New all those things. Because if not, they’ll start looking at every little thing. As soon as they walk in, if you didn’t take any care for the front door, like, wow, this is my first impression, what else is going to find it? And they started nitpicking things. Also, things like putting in fresh mulch. Cause it’s all about the experience, the smell of the fresh mulch, you know, put up some fresh paint out there that smelled the fresh paint.
It just feels new and fresh and good. And those are the basic things. You don’t have to remodel kitchens to sell the house they will sell. And typically, you don’t get a one for one. If you spend 50,000 on a kitchen, you’re not going to necessarily raise the value by 50,000. Now you will raise the value some and you will make it more competitive
if you have two or three on the street that are basically the same. If your kitchen’s updated, you’re gonna have a better shot, but in today’s market is not that important. If it’s working it’s functioning, it’s not broken. Then I have sold homes with kitchen that aren’t updated bathrooms, aren’t there, but they’re clean and functional and people can work.
Um, so it’s more about clean moving, ready? No projects. That’s the simple list.
[00:34:25] Liz Craven: That makes a lot of sense. And now you have on your team designated senior real estate specialist, don’t you? Tell me the difference a regular real estate professional and one who has this additional certification?
[00:34:39] Jared Weggeland: The senior real estate specialist, really do a deep dive into the scenario
they’re most likely to come across when helping seniors with real estate transactions. The transactions are the transactions, the selling, the paperwork, all that stuff, but the needs of the seniors are significantly different from the first-time home buyers from the move up buyers, because of all the things we’ve been talking about.
And I, by the sounds of it from the previous podcasts, there’s a lot that goes into these transitions. And so, the senior real estate specialists understand that a lot more comprehensively than a standard quote, unquote realtor. So, they’re just better able to handle the different scenarios. They have access to resources that other realtors just may not know and understand whether it’s the, whether it’s the estate sale people, the organization, people, the healthcare people being able to send them to resources where they can investigate their options to assisted living or independent living. Normal realtors.
That’s not their world. They just look at buying and selling. But the senior real estate specialist knows that there’s a whole other factor that’s included and involved when a seniors is saying finally, okay, I need to change something. Let’s look at my options. The senior real estate specialist is much better equipped to be able to give them the options and be knowledgeable about it.
[00:35:55] Liz Craven: And I’ll give a shout out to Donna Kay Dinkins right here, because she is phenomenal. I’ve known Donna Kay for. I don’t know how many years, a long time she’s been in the elder care industry for a long time and has recently made that transition and what a standout she is. And I’m glad to see her helping families in that way, because there’s so much more that goes into.
The decision of aging in place versus downsizing than to just sell a house. So, congratulations. Yeah,
[00:36:26] Jared Weggeland: no, it’s great. And she just has such a depth of understanding and knowledge of the whole industry. That it’s just a whole nother dimension that just the realtors who are great, they just don’t know about that.
And it’s, it’s like going to a doctor. You’re going to go to a podiatrist. If your feet hurt, you’re not going to go to optometrist. Okay. The senior real estate specialist really is the specialist for that group of people. And it just makes the whole thing. Um, it’s never easy, but it just makes it easier.
[00:36:55] Liz Craven: Um, just cause it’s, you’re not fishing. She has the resources and the connections and the related
relationships with isn’t that the truth it’s never easy. And a lot of things in life that we face, they’re not easy. The attitude with which you approach and your preparation and in advance have so much to do with how you’ll experience
that phase or situation in life. So, I think that’s a really good point. So, as we’re rounding out here, do you have any favorite tools or resources that you would point listeners to if they wanted to dig deeper on any of these topics?
[00:37:35] Jared Weggeland: Yes. So typically, in your county, There is going to be somebody in the building department who knows what you can and can’t do with your property in Polk county.
There’s an excellent resource called planner on call, and you can go online and Google planner on call Polk County, Florida. And there’s a simple one-page website with a form and it says, what do you want to do? You put in the address, the parcel ID, who the owner is, if it’s yours or your parents, and what would you, what’s your question and say, okay, this is where we live.
We would like to build a mother-in-law suite on this property. Are we number one? Are we allowed to do that? And number two, what are the setback requirements? How far off the proper lines must I be, then I can work out if I can even fit anything on my lot. Right. So, the planner on calls. Excellent. It also is good.
Let’s say the one family who wanted to build one big company. Same thing with contact planner, on call, hey, we would like to do this. Is that okay? What are the rules? What do we have to look out for as we’re planning this? Because we want to do budgets up front and not be surprised by any expenses because we’re doing something a little different from a normal single-family home.
Right? So, planner on call is fantastic and great. Other things that you want to do. We have a lot of local surveys. Um, just to survey your property, if you don’t have your original survey or you just want to get an updated one to survey, just to see what you got what’s there. Um, Just a couple of little things.
And then if you don’t have a banking relationship, you can always contact us to get some local lenders, but talk to them about your financing options, because some people will go ahead and get a home equity line and do their updates for improvements or build their tiny home. Some people would do a cash out refinance, some people that make sense.
To with because the housing market is increasing so much. It makes sense to use some of their retirement portfolio for this cause that can be 20, 30% instead of five or 6%, wherever it is in asset. So, talking to your financial planner, your banking relationship and say, well, the most cost-effective way to finance our project and what most people don’t think about too.
in an inflationary period. It’s good to get a loan. The loan is a fixed amount and as you’re paying it back, you’re paying back that loan with inflated dollars. So, each dollar is worth less, but your loan is a fixed number, right. And so, it’s actually costing you less. Because each dollar is worth less, but you’re, it’s a fixed it.
So, people don’t think about that. So really going through that, there’s a few things that obviously our websites. It’s all focused related focus, remodels, focushomes.Co no M at the end, focusgroupfl.com. All of those things have things to learn about the process and all of that business. And frankly, there’s a lot of good things on YouTube too.
There’s a lot of tutorials and things like that. So just to be able to learn, because it is a lot, if it’s not what you do every day, and I constantly have to remind clients. We understand that you have your normal life, you’re living a, this isn’t your sole occupation. And by the way, to get a house ready to go.
And especially if you’re transitioning from a larger home to a smaller home, there’s way more stuff than you think. I mean, there’s way more. Don’t give themselves enough time to clean up, clean out, get it going, do estate sales. What have you, so another one is shout out Organized Haven. An amazing company.
They’ll come and organize. They’ll come and do a estate sales they’ll come and help you just help. It’s a lot of work. And so, they’re just professional companies that come in and help you. It’s just too much to do by yourself and it’s totally worth it to get somebody in rusted. Too long on sometimes just never happens.
[00:41:14] Liz Craven: That’s such a good point: too much to do by yourself. We all like to think we can do all the things. I’m one of those people I can do all the things I can really do it. And yes, I probably could if I had all of the time to focus on each one of the things, right. Nothing else exists in life, but all the things, so do yourself a favor.
Let the professionals help and guide you. That doesn’t mean that you should be uneducated about all the things. Educate yourself, at least to the point that you can ask intelligent questions and know what direction you want to go in and then let the professionals guide you. Certainly, focused Holmes is able to do that.
I will link all of those things that Jared mentioned, um, in this last little bit in the show notes and in the blog post that goes along with this podcast episode. So, you will have access to Jared and his team. Anything else you want to tell us about your team or business?
[00:42:12] Jared Weggeland: Um, yeah. Thank you for asking.
We really do strive to be the one-stop shop. One reason that motivated us to start our companies was so many times in housing if a builder if it. I don’t want to be in that community, or you want to change a floor plan a certain way, or you want to do something different. They’re just not set up for that, their production.
And that’s fine. And they’re beautiful and great. But if you need this particular thing, it is what it is. So, I remember as a salesperson years ago, it used to be so frustrating. I’d get to know people know them six to 12 months, help them improve their credit, get their financing going. And then when it came down to it, it wasn’t a good fit.
And then, because I was a representative of a particular builder, for example, in Georgia, I couldn’t do anything for them. Like this is insane. So, we set it up. We want it to really do one-stop. So, if it’s a real estate solution, we can help. If it’s a building solution, we can help, it’s a remodel solution.
When you come in the door, we’re going to have a solution for you one way or the other, and then you don’t have to go to 15 people. It’s already too confusing and stressful. Anyway. So come on and let us just evaluate make a decision and move forward on some type of solution. It just makes it easier.
It’s almost as if you could go to a doctor and they can do that. Oh, go to the spine guy and go to the brain guy, go to the allergy guy. No, we do all the housing things, right. It’s still not simple, but it simplifies it to the amount of people that you’ve got to get involved with because the more people get involved with just the more stressful it becomes, and we’re really trying to empathize say, hey, we understand this is just one part of your life.
You have all the other things to deal with, that have to do with this transition. And that’s just a lot, so we try to make it as simple and it’s not stress free, but it’s as stress free as possible. Um, and, as you can tell, we just enjoy doing it. Cause the end result is amazing. Cause people’s lives,
it sounds dramatic, but their lives change for the better, just like this one, couple. They just couldn’t handle this house. And now they’re just so happy. They’ve got this one little, tiny place. It takes them five minutes to sweep up. It’s so easy. They’ve got the little bath with the doors on to try and do gymnastics every time they want to bathe.
Right. You know, it’s just, it just makes life so much more enjoyable, and it doesn’t always work out that great. But that’s the goal. And if we work on it together, then more times than not, we can find something that works out phenomenal for them.
[00:44:37] Liz Craven: Well, thank you for all that you do in the community. You’re impressive.
If you don’t live in this area, I’ll just tell you there’s nowhere that you’re going to go in the community, that you’re not going to see Jared or his team present. They’re there. They’re doing all the things, um, sponsor of flight to honor recently, which was really great. And they are involved in a lot of the things that are so meaningful in a community.
So thank you for that.
[00:45:04] Jared Weggeland: My pleasure.
[00:45:04] Liz Craven: And the last question of every episode, and my favorite question is, do you have a little piece of Sage advice that you’d like to leave our listeners with?
[00:45:15] Jared Weggeland: I think that I am someone who lives by the philosophy, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And so, if you can plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time.
So, all these decisions aren’t crammed into, we must make a move. It just makes your life so much better. It just does. We create so much stress for ourselves when we don’t think ahead. And sometimes people call me and say, I don’t want to build for five years. I’m like, that’s fantastic. We have all this time to plan all this time to prepare it.
Doesn’t have to be stressful. And by the time we’re ready all the ducks in a row and we can just build this. I love it. And most people don’t expect that reaction. Cause most people get dropped like a lead balloon if they don’t want to do a deal today. So, if you can plan ahead, it makes my life easier and makes your life easier, reduces the whole stress level of everything.
And frankly, it allows you to think through, because sometimes you have to make decisions and when it’s in a compressor and it’s in a stressed environment, sometimes they’re not the best decisions because you’re just, you’re focused on the now. If you step back and think, you know, five, 10 years ahead, what do I need to do?
What do we need to prepare now? It’s amazing how much better of a solution, because now you’re not making the final decision. Like this is my idea. Let’s. Ruminate on that for a little bit and like, oh, let’s tweak it a little bit. Oh, let’s do. Oh, right. And so often by the time people come to me, I’m very thankful when they’ve thought it through.
It just makes their life better. Makes my job helping them better. And it’s a much, much better solution for them in the end, because they’ve thought it through.
[00:46:56] Liz Craven: Right. See, Jared agrees with me be a card holding member of the know it before you need it club.
[00:47:04] Jared Weggeland: Yeah, it’s it’s it really does. And it’s, I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want to increase my stress and I just noticed.
Plan ahead a little bit. It just saves so much time and energy and it makes the whole thing a lot more enjoyable.
[00:47:18] Liz Craven: Very, very true. Well, there you have it folks. I think that we gave you enough to chew on for this episode. So, what did you decide? What do you think? Are you aging in place, or will you decide to downsize to perhaps a smaller dwelling or a senior living community?
I’d love to hear your feedback. Jump on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Even Pinterest, let us know what you think I’d love to hear from you. And if you’re not already, I’d love it if you would sign up to receive our biweekly newsletter, you’re going to get great information in that newsletter, including the latest podcast.
You’ll never miss one. Easy to do. Just go to elder care guide.com. And on the upper left-hand side of the page, you’re going to see a place where you can click right there, put your email address in, and we will be sure to send you our newsletter every other week. And again, connect with us on social media, let us know what you’re thinking.
And if you have some input about ideas or topics that you’d like for us to cover, let us know. We want to hear about that. And we will make sure that we make room for it in our podcast. But that’ll do it for today. Thanks so much for joining us. I hope that you enjoyed the conversation with Jared. I know I did.
Liz Craven, along with her husband Wes, owns Pro-Ad Media, publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, serving the local community for over 28 years. Liz lives in Lakeland and is very active in the local community, specifically in the area of aging. Liz serves on a number of local boards and committees including the Lakeland Vision and Age Friendly Lakeland.