Gracious Moves - Senior Transition Specialists
Brooke's Blog

Misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's

As Published in the Savannah Morning News - 30 September 2013
Is Your Parent in Memory Care Because of a Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis that causes a family to sell their parent’s home and move them to a memory care facility is serious business.  Beware – things are not always what they seem.
Have you been kept awake by someone snoring loudly, holding their breath, and then gasping for air?   I experienced this with a family member, and I counted the seconds between breaths…40 or 50 seconds long!

Assisted Living vs. Staying at Home

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 22 September 2013
Assisted Living vs. Staying at Home.
Are you considering the option of moving to an assisted living community or trying to stay at home?  Most people I consult with tell me they are trying to stay in their homes for as long as possible.  Here are some things to consider.
Assisted living adds a safety component to seniors living alone.  It can be the difference of life and death.  Falling is one of the most frequent accidents I see in the elderly, and falls can change your life in an instant.

Waiting to Sell? Here's Some Great Market News!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 1 September 2013
Waiting to Sell? Some more great market news!
The market is hot, hot, hot!  Last week I gave you 11 reasons why you should get off the fence and sell now.  Now here’s another that is sure to inject a slew of new buyers into the market.
Friday, August 16, the Federal Housing Association (FHA) pulled a rabbit out of their hat, shortening the waiting period for homebuyers who are now “seasoning”.  I have written several articles about these buyers, who must wait to buy again after experiencing a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale.

Waiting to Sell? How Rising Interest Rates Will Impact You

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 18 August 2013
Waiting to Sell?  How Rising Interest Rates Will Impact You...
Summer is upon us and the buying season is well underway.  We keep seeing reports of an improving market, and consequently, some sellers are convinced that if they wait to sell, their values will increase. 
Maybe, but how long will it take, and what is the opportunity loss?  As they say, “cash in hand…”   If you sell for a little less than you

Are You Sure That's a Bedroom?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 4 August 2013
The Truth About Gross Living Area
When listing a home, I am amused when my clients insist they have more bedrooms than I can count.  These “bedrooms” don’t include a closet, or you must pass through the room to get to another room.  They argue that when they bought the home, it was advertised that way, and they believed it. 
“Not so”, I say, feeling confident that I am backed by appraisers everywhere.   When financing is involved, appraisers are all about getting it right.

Possession Paralysis - Do you feel trapped by stuff?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 28 July 2012
Possession paralysis, surprisingly, is real.
David Ekerdt, a gerontologist with the University of Kansas, was in search of answers.  He and his team wanted to know whether the sheer volume of possessions that seniors acquire over decades become an obstacle to late-life downsizing.
Specializing in senior move management and real estate services, I know how physically and cognitively daunting the process can be for my clients.

Ditch the Lawn Mower! Is Condo Living for You?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 21 July 2013

Ditch the Lawn Mower!  Is condo living for you? 

At this time of year, many of my neighbors are toiling under 98 degree heat, and above the hum of the lawn mower, I hear them swearing they want to move to a condo.   No more lawn mower…lots more golf!  

Sound familiar?  If the lure of a carefree, turnkey lifestyle appeals to you, then certainly a condo is a solution.  So, how does condo ownership differ from the home you just sold?

Working with Hoarders - Oh My! Part III

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 14 July 2013

Working with hoarders – oh my! Part III 

For the last two weeks, we have looked at various hoarding characteristics, levels of hoarding, and discussed the dilemma we find ourselves in when a hoarder must be moved to a downsized home or to assisted living. 

Most often, family members, estate attorneys or financial planners contact me to help them with cleaning out a home, moving the occupant and ultimately selling it.  Sometimes the elderly parent or occupant is still living there, but in dangerous and unsanitary surroundings.

Working with Hoarders - Oh my! Part II

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 7 July 2013

Working with hoarders – oh my! Part II 

Last week we cracked open a door on the subject of hoarding and I mentioned there are many types.  The toxic hoarders, requiring Hazmat suited professionals to do everything but tear the house down, are thankfully few and far between.  Today, we will explore problems associated with hoarding and the levels of hoarding that we face in the real estate and move management business.  

In the last 5 years, with foreclosures and short sales being a significant part of our real estate world, we Realtors® have experienced trashed or neglected homes, some with animals left behind, and many that require professional clean out.

Working with Hoarders - Oh My! Part I

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 30 June 2013

Working with hoarders – oh my! 

Hoarding has become a popular subject, written about in magazines and is even the focus of television reality shows.  This is the first of a two part series, as we explore hoarding from a real estate and move management perspective.   

It is often a source of embarrassment for the person who suffers from this disorder, and is always frustrating for the family members who spend their lives trying to “fix” the situation.

Embracing the Old - Go Retro!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 23 June 2013

Embracing the old – go Retro! 

What if my home is hopelessly out of date?  Realtors frequently face the dilemma of helping a client sell their home that has not been updated since the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. 

When there is no budget for changing out counter tops and appliances, and major renovations are out of the question, then embrace it!  Going Retro has its own charm, and you can work with it instead of working against it.  And, believe it or not, the look is making a comeback!

Does your house pass the "Hotel Test"

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 16 June 2016

Does your house pass the “Hotel Test”? 

Staging your property, inside and out, can make the difference between selling your house or not.  But do you know the philosophy behind staging and why it works?  

Adopting the “Hotel Philosophy” is another way of looking at this concept.  In a hotel, you carry in a small bag of personal belongings.  Everything else you need is there and no unnecessary items are cluttering up the space.

Don't Skimp on the Repairs

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 2 June 2013

Last week we talked about visually expanding your space to create the illusion of larger rooms.  Space is luxurious!  It is a treasure, and buyers want more of it.   

So, now we will explore maintenance and repairs.  Boring?  Not really, because it can mean the difference between selling your house, or not.  

Buying a resale home is sort of like buying a used car…if a car is clean, smells fresh inside, and has all the maintenance records to prove it has been well kept, a person can reasonable conclude the car has been loved and appreciated.

"Visually" Expand Your Interior Spaces

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 26 May 2013

“Visually” expand your interior spaces. 

In real estate speak, “cozy” means small, and “spacious” means large.  So, how do you make “cozy” seem “spacious”, which appeals to more buyers?  Here are some tricks of the trade…  

Let there be light! Brighter interiors are more compelling, more spacious, more attractive.  Lighting dark corners expands a room and visually makes it look larger.  Add lamps or accent lighting to fix dark spaces or create visual drama.

Moving Mom..."Seasoned" buyers get creative.

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 19 May 2013
“Seasoned” buyers get creative
Last week’s column was devoted to rebound buyers:  those who have been renting, have saved a down payment, and are anxious to move forward with a purchase, while recovering from foreclosure or bankruptcy.  We learned that “seasoning” is the waiting period required (by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the Veterans Administration or the Federal Housing Authority) before these buyers are qualified to purchase a home again.

Moving Mom...Foreclosures and Bankruptcies, Part II

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 12 May 2013
Foreclosures and Bankruptcies - “Seasoned” buyers are buying…Part II
Last week we talked about rebound buyers, who are on a determined track of recovery following bankruptcy or foreclosure.  These buyers have worked hard to rebuild their lives, their credit, save money and re-qualify for home ownership.  They are also being “seasoned” to meet the time line requirements set by the following lenders:  Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac; Department of Veterans Affairs; Federal Housing Administration.

Moving Mom...Foreclosures and Bankruptcies, Part I

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 5 May 2013
Foreclosures and Bankruptcies - “seasoned” buyers are buying…Part I
It’s been a rough six years.  We are spotting the survivors…peeking their heads out of the sand, working their way out of debt, improving their credit scores, saving for a down payment and working hard in their recovery efforts to buy a home again.  Many have lost jobs, spouses, have experienced illnesses, the collapse of companies, and yet we all share a common thread in the American Dream, that of home ownership.

Sellers Get "Cold Feet" too

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 28 April 2013
Sellers get “cold feet” too
It’s a sign of the times…the market appears to be coming back, and sellers are questioning their decision to sell now.  I may be having a flash back!  This happened often in the early 2000’s when I was selling nearly 300 homes a year and I was trying to make sure I listed the property high enough to not leave money on the table.  Appraisers were calling asking why I was setting my sales prices so high, and I had to explain that if I did not, by the time it closed, we would have sold it too cheaply.

Plan Before You Sell Your Home

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 21 April 2013
Plan for your next home before you sell.
The road map to a secure financial future, and knowing what you can afford to buy or rent after you sell your home, is all about planning.  Meeting with a financial planner is an important step in the process of knowing how long your retirement money will last and what you can afford to spend on your next home.
Too often I meet with senior customers who want to list and sell their home, but don’t have a clear picture as to what comes next.

Flood Insurance - Part II - Do you really need it?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 14 April 2013
Flood Insurance Part II– do you really need it?
In response to last Sunday’s article, I received some interesting calls and emails regarding the need for flood insurance, and whether your property may no longer be in a flood zone which requires flood insurance.  Some home owners are being billed yearly for flood insurance they are notrequiredto have.  I felt it necessary to make some clarifications. 
Firstly, I believe all of us that live in the low country should consider flood insurance as part of our insurance package, especially those who live on an island.

Flood Insurance - do you really need it?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 4 April 2013
Flood Insurance – do you really need it?
This article was not what I had intended to write, but recent events have prompted me to change it up.  I was going to introduce seniors to active lifestyle communities within the 4 corners of our county, and invite them to some fun community events.  However, I have been asked not to write about particular places, lest I leave some out.  So instead, I will list senior focused events on my website for those who have interest.

Choosing the Right Active Community

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 17 March 2013
Choosing the Right Active Community
We are living longer, staying healthier and enjoying life to the fullest.  Many seniors are “still in the game” with active lifestyles, and choosing the right community for your retirement home means finding the right fit.
For young retirees, it may mean turning a dream into a reality...moving into a second home that was planned for retirement.  Or perhaps, you are thinking about buying the perfect vacation home that will one day serve that purpose.

Moving Mom...Finding the Perfect "Last" Home

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 10 March 2013
Finding the Perfect “Last” Home
Whether you are looking for a vacation home that will become your retirement dream come true, or you want to downsize to simplify your life, or you have a large family that wants to visit all at the same time, there are things to consider when choosing your “last” home. 
Last week we began to discuss certain structural qualities to look for when buying a last home.  A home where you can age-in-place should include wide doorways, clear space for wheelchair mobility, barrier free entrances, with provisions that can be made for features to be adapted as needed.

Moving Mom...Finding the Right 2nd Home for Retirement

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 3 March 2013
Finding the Right 2nd Home for Retirement
The Azaleas are already blooming in the south, and the snow is still flying in the north.  Dreams of warmer weather and vacations homes are invading the sleep of the snow bound…and many northerners have escaped to our area to find their next, and possibly, “last” home.  With the market improving, downsizing makes sense, so are you thinking about a change?
The good news is, sellers are now more realistic in their pricing, and homes are selling again.

Moving Mom...Friendship, an Elixir for the Soul.

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 17 Sunday 2013
Friendship, an elixir for the soul.
During February, a month about love, I have focused on the advantages of moving on with your life and living life to the fullest.  We talked about falling in love, and how putting yourself out there can allow it to happen.  We addressed the unconditional love of a pet, and how that companionship is so valuable to seniors.  In this article, I’m going to talk about friendship, and how easy it is to turn the page to a new exciting life.

Moving Mom...When Cupid's Arrow Strikes

As published in The Savannah Morning News - 10 February 2013
When Cupid's Arrow Strikes...
This Valentine’s Day I wanted to share with you a special love story. There would be no story to tell if two friends had not made the choice to move to a retirement community.  Who would have known that sparks could fly, when friendship seemed to be the only thing in the cards.  But for Jon and Barbara Paull, it happened.  This is their story…
Jon, 90 (and looking good!), was a widower when he moved from The Landings to the Marshes of Skidaway Island seven years ago.

Moving Mom...Finding Unconditional Love

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 3 February 2013
Finding Unconditional Love
February is for lovers, right?  With all the hype of Valentine’s Day, cards, candy and flowers, it’s no wonder the single folks don’t climb back in bed for the whole month and wish it away.  Well, there’s hope for singles to find love again when you least expect it!  Just when you thought romance is over and you have become invisible, think again!
During February, this column will be devoted to living life to the fullest, and that includes romance!

Moving Mom...How does the Savannah Market Affect You?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 27 January 2013
How does the Savannah Market Affect You?
Should you wait for the market to improve in order to sell your home at a higher price?  The truth is in the numbers.  National statistics are nice to know, but there are inherent differences in communities throughout the country that affect local markets
We have a military presence, a port, and a coastal community that makes Chatham County unique.  We have our own demographics, based on census statistics and area income levels.

Moving Mom...When is the Right Time to Move?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 20 January 2013
When is the Right Time to Move? 
Frequently, I consult with folks that are thinking about moving, but can’t quite take the plunge.  “I’m not ready” is a common comment heard by the retirement communities, and yet the same seniors are calling me to discuss the transition.  Surprisingly, the seniors that finally bite the bullet and make the move are grateful they finally did it.
My heart breaks when I watch seniors become lonely and reclusive, watching their friends move away to be with family or simply into a smaller maintenance-free home or retirement community.

Moving Mom...Should You Update Before Selling?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 13 January 2013
To update...or not? 
That is theThis is the common question among seniors and their children when making a move.  Many seniors have owned their home for years, and often without updates.  What are your options when you have an “original” that must be sold?  I am not referring to historical treasures…a 70’s ranch is more of what I have in mind.
My advice is unless you have the energy to go through it, don’t.

Moving Mom...Good Gosh, Gertie, This is Hard!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 6 January 2013
Brooke and Mom, movingIn December, I movedmyMom.  Wow, I have a new empathy for Baby Boomers who are facing this passage in life.  Even though I help families sell their homes and move into new ones, moving my own mother was a whole different ball game!  So, I will share our story, but first, I would like to introduce you to my mother, Mary.  I have enclosed a photo of us taken this Christmas.
I love my Mom, and we are very close, so I don’t want you to take this the wrong way.

Moving Mom...When the Fat Lady Does NOT Sing!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 23 December 2012
When the Fat Lady Does NOT Sing!
Fat Lady Sings, moving, real estateSo many steps to get to this point, but you are finally going to closing, or not…
What happens if the buyers change their minds or the closing is delayed?  You have moved out of your home, and sold, donated or given away furniture to downsize.  Or, your moving van is packed and you need the proceeds from the house to make your next purchase. Everything was going well, with a few negotiating bumps along the way, but who would ever guess the buyers would back out, or not get a loan at the last minute?

Moving Mom...the Next Step - Break Out the Champagne!

As Published in the Savannah Morning News - 16 December 2012
movingClosing day is here!  It’s been a long journey from receiving an offer to going to the closing, and I’ll bet you never thought you would get to this point.  So, what happens next?
All parties will meet at the closing attorney’s office, at a time that works for the Buyer(s), Seller(s), the attorney(s), and the Realtor®(s) to attend.  Both the Buyers and Sellers must bring to closing a photo ID, which will be photocopied and included in the closing documents.

Moving Mom...the Next Step - What's the Bottom Line?

As Published in the Savannah Morning News - 9 December 2012
MovingOnce you have negotiated your way through the initial Purchase and Sale Agreement, the requested repairs and any additional negotiations, the most common question I hear is, “How much money will I get at closing?”
From the point of receiving the offer and throughout the transaction, you can determine your net proceeds. Your Realtor® should be adept at estimating your net, and we can prepare a Georgia Association of Realtors form called

Moving Mom...the Next Step ~ Is Your Buyer Qualified?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 2 December 2012
Is Your Buyer Qualified?
It’s always exciting when you receive an offer to purchase your property.  It leaves you hopeful that this buyer might be the one.  But, drats! Not all buyers are qualified.  So, how do you know which buyers are real?   
real estate, moving
The past few years have brought about job losses, foreclosures, short sales, and bankruptcies…all damaging to credit scores, which takes years to rebuild.

Moving Mom...the Next Step ~ Let's Dance!

As pubished in the Savannah Morning News - 4 November 2012
Negotiating an Offer on the Sale of Your Home
We have an offer, but don’t break out the champagne yet!  We are beginning a dance that will last until closing.  Negotiating starts now, and includes a series of moves, or posturing by both parties where knowledge, skill and experience are crucial.  This is when you are thankful you have chosen a seasoned Realtor® to represent you.
real estateThe first thing you have to know is who is representing whom.

Moving Mom...the Next Step - It's Show Time! (Part II)

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 20 October 2012
Showing Your Home and the Pros and Cons of Open Houses
moving, real estateLast week in Part 1, we covered preparing the outside, the front porch, and specific things to do on the inside to prepare your home for showings.  To see last week’s Part 1 article (and all past articles), visit and click on “Blog”.  Now here’s Part 2:
Remove anything personal from sight throughout the house.  That goes for jewelry, money, and personal papers.

Moving Mom...It's Show Time!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 21 October 2012
It’s Show Time!
Part I - Showing Your Home and the Pros and Cons of Open Houses ~We have been through a lot to get ready for this day!  If you have followed my previous articles, and your house is now clean, bright, smelling fresh as a daisy, decluttered, depersonalized and staged, this is the time to show off your hard work!
Real estate, stagingWe are going to talk today about how to show you home.  It may seem elementary, but I have seen many homes that do not show well, and it’s apparent that some people need a little guidance in this area.

Moving Mom...Listing the Home for Sale

As published in the Savannah Morning News - 7 October 2012
Listing the Home for Sale
Real estate, movingWe have come a long way in preparing the house for sale!  In this Moving Mom series, we have discussed getting the house ready, and now it’s time to put it on the market.  Today we will discuss choosing your Realtor® and how to prepare for your meeting.
How do you know which Realtor® is right for you, and do you really need one?  Well, I am one, so don’t take this the wrong way…there is a quagmire of steps to go through and knowledge you must have to sell a home in today’s market.

Moving Mom...Part II

As published in the Savannah Morning News - September 30, 2012
Let's Step Inside
Last week we talked about curb appeal and enticing a potential buyer to want to come inside to see more.  It’s show time, and a buyer is going to open every door, looking for adequate storage space, functional kitchens with updated appliances, spacious closets and open, light rooms.  They will peek in places that you have not even considered…under the sinks, the attic, and in all the nooks and crannies.

Moving Mom...Preparing the House for Sale

As published in the Savannah Morning News - September 23, 2012
Preparing the House for Sale
Real estateLast week we discussed the big move, and I have many clients who downsize prior to the sale of their home.  Some stay at home until the house is sold, but either way, the preparation is the same if you want to sell your home at top dollar.  There are things that you need to considerprior to listing it for sale.  What will make your house “stand-out” in a market still glutted by homes for sale?

Moving Mom...Let's Move!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - September 16, 2012
Let's Move!
Dog in box, movingIn this 7 edition of our Moving Mom series, we address the next challenge: finding a mover you can trust. Here, word of mouth goes a long way.  Check movers out with the Better Business Bureau, and do an on-line search to make sure they are legitimate.  Ask for their website address, and be concerned if they do not have one.  Do they have a physical address or are they a fly-by-night company…here today and gone tomorrow?

Moving Mom...Getting Rid of Stuff!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - September 9, 2012
Getting Rid of Stuff!
Yard Sale, movingEvery time my clients decide to discard something, or donate it to charity, I cheer!  I know it sounds strange, but there is so much stuff that accumulates over time, it’s a reason to celebrate!  In Senior Move Management, our job is to help the Senior choose what will move, and what will not.  When Staging their next residence, we have determined what furnishings will fit in the new home, but what about the rest?

Moving Mom...Let's Get Packing!

As published in the Savannah Morning News - September 2, 2012
Let's Get Packing!
MovingLast week, we discussed a crucial step toward the road map to success, Floor Planning.  Now that you have chosen your next residence, and have planned what you will take with you, it’s time to start packing!
Let’s digress for a moment.  There are two scenarios I see when consulting with a Senior in transition:
The first is that the Senior is moving before the house is sold, and we will be restaging the house and preparing it for sale after they move to their new home.

Moving Mom...The Most Crucial Step

The most crucial step – Floor Planning
Floor Planning
Staging, real estate, project managementIn last week’s edition of theMoving Momseries,Choosing the Right Retirement Community, we discussed the importance of knowing where you are going so we can begin the most crucial step, Floor Planning.  This is the all important road map to success!  Whether you and your family have decided to scale back to a smaller home, or you have chosen a retirement community that fits your needs, size matters.
Do not underestimate the importance of this next step!

Moving Mom...Choosing the Right Retirement Community

As published in the Savannah Morning News - August 29, 2012
Choosing the Right Retirement Community
Seniors lifting weights, movingSenior transitions include many choices.  For young retirees, it may mean turning a dream into a reality...moving into a second home that was planned for retirement, or perhaps finding the perfect vacation home that will one day serve that purpose.
Whether you choose an Active Retirement Community, Continuing Care Retirement Community, or Independent, Dependant or Skilled Nursing Facility, here are some things to think about and helpful checklists when researching your options.

Moving Mom...Is Staying Home an Option?

This is the first of the Moving Mom series: as published in The Savannah Morning News - Aug 17, 2012
Moving Mom...Is Staying at Home an Option?
mom and daughter, movingMom and I reached the same conclusion on the same day:  she needed to be in a smaller residence, without the upkeep she has with her current home.  Many of my clients and Baby Boomer friends are having quite a different experience.  Their parents are not accepting the fact that they can no longer take care of their homes, yards and sometimes themselves.

Moving Mom and Dad, and Don't Know Where to Start?

As published in the Savannah Morning News - August 5, 2012
Senior Couple, move managementMany of us Baby Boomers are living longer and still working, without much hope for retirement anytime soon.  The economy has taken its toll, and our plans have shifted.   We still have some time to make up our losses, but not so for our parents.
My Mom and Dad are in their 80’s, as well as many of the seniors I work with on a daily basis.  Declining home values have affected their life-long financial plans, as the money from the sale of their home was to take care of them in their latter years.

Need More Living Space? It's Time to Create an Outdoor Room

As published in the Savannah Morning News - July 22, 2012
Need More Living Space?  It’s Time to Create an Outdoor Room.
Staging, real estate, project managementCreate the space and they will come!  Everyone wants to take the “tour” of the outside of my home.  Simply put, it’s fun to experience the series of outdoor rooms connected by path ways.  Each turn leads to an arched hedge, antique gate, or a pergola, where  you enter another room.  I always joke that whatever my mood, there’s a place to sit and contemplate, meditate or just relax after a long day.

Through the Buyer's Eyes

As published in the Savannah Morning News - July 15, 2012
You want to sell your home?  Try seeing it
Through the Buyer’s Eyes…
In order to compete with the many homes on the market today, there are only two things that are in your control that matter:   PRICE and CONDITION. 
PRICE:  You have to be priced attractively, meaning your home must be in the lowest pricing of comparable homes in your market.  Your Realtor can do a Comparable Market Analysis to establish where your property fits into the market place.
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