Many people find the thought of clearing out and packing up a major impediment to moving.  While the idea of living someplace smaller and easier to manage is attractive, the work of dealing with no-longer-needed belongings and clutter stop them right in their tracks. For some the emotional attachment and memories are the deciding factor; for others, it's just the physical work and time involved that counts. It brings to mind that old saying "We may think we own our stuff; actually, it owns us."




A friend recently asked for help in dealing with his mother's two storage lockers.  They'd been loaded years before and she wasn't sure she knew what they contained anymore.  They both realized those lockers needed to be gone through and emptied but she wasn't physically able and he didn't have the time to take it on. 


I did some research and came across Susan Borax and Heather Knittel of Good Riddance.  They run a professional organizing company specifically aimed at helping overwhelmed people work through their piles of stuff and come out the other side organized and satisfied their belongings had found the right home.They also run a sister company specifically for seniors and their particular needs called Practically Daughters. Susan was warm and friendly to talk to; they will come to your home to do a complimentary visit to find out what you need, make suggestions and provide a quote for their service. If this sounds like a solution for you, take a look online at  

I'm talking with Susan about coming out to South Surrey to do a seminar on downsizing this spring.  Call me at 604-916-4664 or email if you're interested in attending.


The cold, icy weather conditions we've just come through (with more forecast soon) might have some seniors (or their families) starting to wonder if perhaps looking at a Retirement Residence might be worthwhile.  You can enjoy Independant Living or Assisted Living in the right Residence and leave the snow shovelling, grocery shopping/ loading and home maintenance to someone else!


The best thing to do is book tours at different residences to see what they offer before it's an emergency situation. Give yourself time to consider the different options and plan ahead.




When you tour each residence, make notes about what you see so you can compare later.  Here are a few questions outside of the usual ones (such as pricing and suite size) that I recommend my clients ask:


     1)  Is there an ATM where I can get cash in the building or close by?

     2)  Are there private mailboxes? Can I receive FedEx etc. deliveries?

     3)  What arrangements do you make for smokers?

     4)  Is wine or beer available at meals or in the lounge?  Is the residence licensed?

     5)  Is seating assigned for every meal?

     6)  Are pets allowed to live here and/or visit?

     7)  What's the procedure for aging in place? What medical conditions are accepted?

     8)  What changes,if any,may I make to my suite - paint, wallpaper, flooring, etc?

     9)  Do suites have WiFi, cable and phone jacks?

   10)  Is there a recent Resident Satisfaction Survey available?

If you think selling your home and moving to a retirement residence is the next step, feel free to get in touch.  I'm happy to help.




Clients who are considering selling in the not-too-distant future have asked if there is anything beyond cleaning, clearing out and possibly staging that they need to do before listing their home.


Now that the market here in the Lower Mainland has changed from a hot sellers' market to a more balanced market, almost all offers to purchase will be subject to a building inspection.  It's interesting how many buyers, once they've seen the building inspection and note deficiencies, will try to renogiate price or in some instances even walk away if there is anything that worries them.


The key is to do the proper maintenance prior to selling on any items that could give them pause for concern.  Often those items are smaller and easy to look after.


Five common items exposed in home inspections are:


     1)   No GFCI protection:  Electrical outlets near basins and sinks need a GFCI receptacle or breaker. An electrician can easily do that for you at low cost.

     2)   Downspouts too close to the foundation:  Extend them about 4 feet from the house.  Placing a concrete splash pad often does the trick.

     3)   Poor Roof Drainage:  Leaves and debris blocking the gutters can cause water to back up under the shingles.  Have your gutters cleaned out regularly at least once and preferably twice if your home is close to tall trees.

     4)   Water leaks:  Have your roof, flashings and window caulking looked at to make sure there's no way water ingress can cause problems.  Check older toilets and replace wax rings if necessary.

     5)   Do It Yourself Improvements:  Use qualified licensed tradespeople -  especially for plumbing and electrical work.  Take out permits if they're necessary.  Label the breakers on your electrical panel.


Any property that has had proper maintenance done before selling fares much better during showings and price negotiations.  You can consider having a pre-sale inspection done by your own Building Inspector to be even better prepared.

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