Author: Suzanne Dana

Learning the Jargon of Home Buying

© 2019 American Lifestyle Magazine

Easy and Accessible Tips for Seniors Looking to Downsize

Easy and accessible tips for seniors looking to downsize

Michael Longsdon recently had first-hand experience in senior downsizing with his wife’s parents. He has graciously shared his insights in this post.


According to the AARP’s 2012 United States of Aging survey, an estimated 90 percent of seniors plan to age in place. While many wish to stay in the homes they raised their families in, for many seniors, aging in place requires downsizing their house to something more manageable. A smaller house reduces the amount of steps a senior has to traverse, which can be especially helpful as they develop mobility issues. Less area means less upkeep. Plus, seniors can cut down on how much they have to spend on utilities, taxes, and insurance and keep that money to do the things they love.

If you or someone you know is a senior considering downsizing, take the following advice into account to help make the process smoother and more enjoyable.

Start Now
Even if you feel like downsizing is something you’ll be doing way off in the distant future, beginning the process now can be a huge help. Getting rid of years of accumulated stuff always takes longer than you imagine. Plus, there’s no harm is decluttering the place you are living in now. A decluttered home is easier to clean and can even reduce stress and anxiety. So pick a room, grab some boxes, and schedule a donation pick-up appointment with your local Salvation Army today — don’t wait!

Get Inspired
Marie Kondo’s 2011 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has been a best-seller for seven years for a reason. In the book, Kondo makes a compelling argument for living with less and the Zen it can bring into your daily life. The book is easy to read and comes with detailed instructions on how you can use the KonMari method in your own home. Pick up the book today to get inspired about cleaning out and downsizing. After you are done with it, pass it on to a friend or loved one.

House Hunt Online
The internet is an amazing resource when it comes to real estate. No longer do you have to spend your weekends hiking through neighborhoods in order to get an inside look at available properties. You can browse homes for sale in the comfort of your own home today and get a better idea of what you want in your retirement home. If you see features in a property you like, write them down to share with your real estate agent when the time to buy finally comes.

Consider Accessibility
If you plan on aging in place, accessibility modifications can make your home safer and life easier. The areas where remodels are most likely needed are the kitchen and bathroom. However, these renovations can sometimes cost a pretty penny. For instance, the cost of remodeling a bathroom in Williamsburg, VA, ranges from $7,729 to $14,192. When looking for a retirement home, factor in the costs of modifications into your budget. You may be able to get the seller to knock off some of the price with that knowledge in mind.

Hire Movers
When the day finally comes to relocate to the home where you’ll spend your golden years, the last thing you need is a debilitating injury to start your new life. You aren’t in college anymore — hire professional movers to pack up your items and safely move large pieces such as furniture to your new home. If you want to save money on the service, schedule your move to happen in the middle of the week and avoid the peak season for moving.

Downsizing to a smaller and more accessible home helps seniors age in place. If you are considering downsizing, start getting rid of things now. You can get inspired to clear out clutter with helpful books like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Browse homes online to get excited while finding features you want in your new home. Remember: You may need to budget for accessibility renovations in the house if they are not already there. Finally, when the day comes to move, prevent injury and hire professionals to do the heavy lifting for you.


Thanks, Mike! This is so true. For more useful information, check out for other useful insights on senior issues.

SPRING has Sprung in Williamsburg!

SPRING Forward

Tonight before you got to bed,

Set your clocks one-hour ahead.

Yes, my friend this is the date

To change your clocks or you’ll be late!

As tweeting birds sing their song…

We know warmth and flowers won’t be long.


I know my little poem is silly…but it get’s the point across.  With everything in life rushing ahead, you don’t want to forget to do this.  Also, it is recommended that you use this opportunity to change the batteries in your smoke detectors too.

Here in the Southeast, we’ve enjoyed an abnormally warm week — a true harbinger of Spring.  Trees are budding, flowers have popped up all over and folks are scrambling to get started on yard work. People who have been cooped up all winter are out and about loving the warm weather…(before the pollen explodes!)

Well, I should take a minute to enjoy it too.  So, I guess it’s time for me to stop chatting and get up and out to the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market in Merchant Square.

I returned to Williamsburg on the Amtrak yesterday and loved arriving at our charming little station…a true image of Americana! There were lots of William and Mary students on the train returning from Spring Break for their last few weeks of school. I’ll have to remember to dodge all of them on my way to see what the market has in store. I hope that you can enjoy your weekend too! Don’t make it all work…enjoy a long walk, a garden show, a movie or just a bit of down time.

Spring means rebirth and change. If you, a friend or neighbor is thinking of buying or selling a home, I’d love to help. Please call me or pass my name along!

Value, worth and selling

When someone gets ready to sell their home, there is always the concern over how to price it…what’s it’s value?…how much is it worth?…what will a buyer think it’s fair market value is? These questions each have very different answers.

The value of a home to sentimental owners remembering raising their children there or to an owner who has put lots of money into “fixing it up” and wants all of that and more back rarely equates to the value the consumer will be willing to pay. Recently, even the appraisal value, which is the purported “market value”, may not be what buyers are willing to pay. So, using the appraisal value as a benchmark and pricing the home at or a bit below that isn’t a sure thing either.

As Realtors®, we try to use as many tools as we have available to us to determine the market value of a home. Despite our best efforts, the current housing market is very difficult to read. What a buyer “values” can be different based on the features of the home, based on the schools that their children will go to, based neighborhoods and their amenities, even based on whether or not there are trees (and whether or not the Buyer is afraid of a tree landing on their roof in a storm).

There’s an old joke that everyone thinks their house is worth a lot more when it is being appraised and a lot less when the tax assessor is valuing it. A similar dichotomy exists when someone is the Seller and when that same person is the Buyer. As the Seller, they want the most they can get for their home and price it high. While as the Buyer, they want the best bargain they can get on their new home and offer a low price to get “a deal.”

It all boils down to this—your home is only worth as much as someone else is willing to pay for it. Even if your neighbor’s house, which is not as nearly as nice as yours, recently sold for a certain price, that doesn’t guarantee that if you list your home—even a few months later—there will be a buyer willing to pay a higher price for your home.

So, the moral of this story is be flexible. If you list your home and it’s in nice condition, if it doesn’t get buyer showings…then it is most likely too high for the market. Sometimes, when inventory is plenty, even a reasonable price might not get an offer…despite having lots of showings.

All is not dire…but we need to remember that everything in Real Estate is local…and sometimes down to neighborhoods. Right now, in our area we are seeing lots of homes for sale in the mid-range price and they are taking longer to sell. Let’s all hope that Spring brings more than just flowers…let’s hope it brings BUYERS!

Home Buyers are Still Out Looking for Homes

Home Buyers are braving the frigid temperatures and the high wind…combining to make a brutal wind chill factor…and been stopping by to see my Open House at 152 Edsyl Street in Newport News.

Interest rates are still very low and there are a lot of homes to choose from.  This is a great time to buy! If you are interested in this home, you can see the virtual tour by clicking this link –152 Edsyl Street

Front 2
Open House 2-13-16 1-4PM 152 Edsyl St. Newport News

If you are looking for something different, and want to do a home search yourself click here –Search For Homes

Remember, you can always give me a call at 757-814-4200 so I can help you find the perfect place or contact me via my website – Let me help find your Dream Home !

Happy House Hunting and STAY WARM!