Winter projects

I live in an old house. This time of year I create a “to do” list for the winter.  I have more free time in the winter, business is a little slower and there are a few days when I won’t leave the house unless I have to.

Last winter I spent some time getting rid of stuff and reorganizing what we have and I did some work on the woodwork in the dining room. The winter before that I repainted the kitchen and replaced the hardware on the cupboards.

My plans for this winter include cleaning out and painting and upstairs closet. I want to kind of redesign it and make it more efficient. Right now I am rounding up my materials and supplies so they are ready. I’ll also be painting and patching a wall that was damaged during the great ice dam melt of early 2019. Lucky for us the damage was minimal. I’ll need some paint to match what is already on the walls and I’ll use the leftovers for the closet project.

For me, the secret to actually getting the projects done is having everything I need ready so that when I am snowed in or when I have some extra time I can get to work right away. Each trip to the hardware store can mean a serious delay especially.

If you have winter projects to do around the house start planning now.

snow
Winter Wonderland St. Paul, MN 2019

 

TV and misleading ads

There is no truth to the rumor that a Realtor will require that you get home ready to sell. You can sell your house without making any repairs. Some companies specialize in buying homes that need work. Most if not all real estate agents can sell your home just like it is. I write this same article at least twice a year because they myth persists.

living room

Often sellers agree to some repairs because they can get more money for their home. First time home buyers will want to pay $1000 less for a home if it needs $200 dollars in repairs.

For some selling a home “as is” means not replacing the old carpeting or worrying about the cost of replacing those ancient kitchen appliances. As long as the home is priced accordingly nothing has to be replaced or upgraded. If the house is in poor shape there are people who will buy it and fix it up, just don’t expect top dollar for it.

Homeowners who would like to make improvements or repairs for a better resale value should consider less expensive repairs and upgrades like cleaning, painting and putting in a backsplash in the kitchen and maybe some new light fixtures and window treatments. Go ahead and paint, repair or replace that front door and add a doorbell. Put a nice big pot of flowers by the front door, weather permitting.

Sometimes it costs so much money to get a house in good shape that it is more cost-effective to sell it the way it is. Just understand that there are no requirements for the condition of a house. The city of St. Paul and many other local municipalities have some requirements but they can be assumed by the buyer rather.

. . and don’t get too excited about those programs that promise to buy your house, at least not if you live in St. Paul. Most if not all of the companies require that the house be built in the 1970’s or later.

Housing counseling for seniors

As of October 1, 2011, all Minnesotans interested in entering a registered housing with services setting, such as assisted living, must be offered a long-term care consultation before signing a lease.

The consultation is free through the Senior linkage line. I have had their logo and a link on the right sidebar of this site for several years. The Senior Linkage line and the Minnesota Board on Aging are some of the best senior resources that most have never heard of.

They also have a program where they help seniors who are in nursing homes move back into the community. The initiative expanded in 2018 because most seniors do not want to live in nursing homes. It would be hard to find someone who wants to be in a nursing home.

Moving into assisted living isn’t for everyone and it is very expensive. There are other options for those who need help at home, like in-home care. I have read a few articles that suggest middle-income seniors will not be able to afford any kind of assisted living in 2029 an beyond.

Last year I had a problem regarding my mother’s medical assistance that I was unable to resolve without help. I called the senior linkage line and they got on the phone with me as I talked to a third party.

They along with me advocated for my mother and the problem was quickly resolved. They knew what to say, how to say it and who to say it to.

 

Living with old people

Senior housing isn’t for everyone. In fact, most of the seniors I meet want to stay where they are. Several years my parents rejected any kind of senior housing

Swallowtail butterfly

because they did not want to live with old people. They were used to living in neighborhoods and condo complexes where there is a mix of young and old.

Senior housing comes in a couple of varieties. There is 55+ housing and there is 62+ housing. There could easily be a thirty or even forty year age range in 55+ housing but for some people living in a community like that isn’t a good fit.

Something to consider when contemplating a move to a senior community.

Not enough space?

I see the inside of maybe 300 homes a year. Many if not most homes do not have enough storage space, possibly because the occupants have too much stuff. That is why rental storage spaces have become so popular.

Storage lockers can be very handy for home sellers who can remove excess furniture and possessions from their house and store them.

When I needed to move my parents I rented storage space because it gave us some flexibility and time to figure out what to do with excess stuff. I just couldn’t make decisions fast enough as I prepared their home for sale.

Rented storage space is also nice for people who move often.

Personally, I think having less is best but that isn’t always easy to achieve.

storage lockers
self-storage

 

Metro area in the top 20 for elder orphans

The term “elder orphan” keeps cropping up in information about senior housing. According to SeniorLiving.org, the Twin Cities are number 14 in the top 20

Swallowtail butterfly

larger cities that are “elder orphan” friendly.

I am sure you have seen the senior housing ads that feature two old people, one man and one woman smiling at each other as they enjoy some activity in senior housing.

The future doesn’t look that way for 25% of baby boomers who are single and childless.

Cities that are elder orphan friendly have affordable safe housing and an excellent transportation system and residents have access to health care. I would think that living close to siblings and friends might be helpful too.

Senior housing is still a vague term. It can mean 55+ condos or apartments or assisted living apartments or even skilled nursing facilities. For many baby boomers, senior housing means living in the same home they lived in when they were younger.

For many moving isn’t an attractive option which means it is unlikely that orphan elders will flock to the metro area to take advantage of the orphan elder friendliness.