Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

THE REAL DIRTT: New Breed of Company Helps Seniors Get Their Move On … By Colleen Bennett

November 16, 2017
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Would you rather deal with this mess or hire a senior move manager to sort and sell it and smooth the way for a hassle-free relocation?

LA VERNE, California, November 16, 2017 — Their names roll off the tongue like a lullaby: Gentle Transitions, Caring Transitions, and Moving Matters.

 

986 Pharmacy

These and about 1,000 other companies like them across the country help mostly seniors downsize and relocate. Unlike professional organizers who mostly help people control and manage their clutter and hoarding tendencies, senior move managers help the elderly reduce, pack up, move and set up a new life in their new home.

 

Before leaving, the best companies set up the electronics, hang the paintings and leave a mint on the pillow.

 

These senior moving companies have become so popular that they have their own association, The National Association of Senior Move Managers.

 

Companies that have entered this “senior” space are growing at rates of 10 percent, 25 percent or 50 percent year over year. One member has opened 17 franchises this year.

 

What’s driving the trend?

 

Demographics, pure and simple. There are 79 million baby boomers, with the oldest now just reaching age 71. As a result, more and more baby boomers are requesting the service for themselves or for their parents. They either lack the time or the physical stamina that downsizing and moving often require.

 

Others simply want to steer clear of all the emotional baggage associated with sorting and picking through a lifetime of possessions and memories.

 

This savvy senior segment has decided that it’s the kind of work best suited for third-party professionals and trusted intermediaries who are emotionally empathetic but still detached enough to be effective in helping seniors downsize from, perhaps, a 2,400-square-foot home to a 500-square-foot assisted living retirement community.

 

At first blush, the service may seem expensive. Prices can range from $25 to $100 an hour, but most senior move managers operate successfully somewhere in the middle. Typical jobs can run from $2,500 to $10,000. Again, the service isn’t cheap, but for many seniors who may experience capital gains of $250,000, $500,000 or even a $1 million on the sale of their home, the investment might seem like a bargain.

 

Many retirement communities have discovered that offering downsizing and relocation services for free to incoming residents is a powerful marketing tool. So, if you’re considering a move to a retirement community, ask if they’ll pick up the tab of your move.

 

While many senior move managers may offer the same services, they don’t all offer the same level of service. So, do your due diligence. Consult the National Association of Senior Move Managers for companies in your area, check with the Better Business Bureau to see whether any complaints have been lodged against the provider, and interview the providers, including calling a few of their  recent customers. Also, ask your local retirement community whom they would recommend.

 

Selecting the right senior move manager can help baby boomers and their parents can unpack many of their downsizing and relocation anxieties — and that kind of peace of mind can be truly golden.  

 

 

Colleen Bennett is a longtime Realtor (Sotheby’s International Realty, CalBRE#01013172), who has helped many seniors and new retirees downsize, relocate and thrive in their new home. You can reach her anytime at 909.374.4744. 

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