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Selling your loved one’s home is a huge undertaking as a caregiver. It’s usually their biggest asset and more often than not, you need the money from it to pay for their ongoing care.

Not to mention, the quality of life in seniors with dementia is dramatically increased with less square feet.

Tricia Spurrier joins me in this episode to discuss best practices and common missteps for selling your loved one’s home to ensure they’re living their best life possible. Tricia has over 20 years experience selling real estate exclusively for seniors.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • Why owning too much property backfires on your loved ones with dementia (4:37)
  • How a smaller home has an enormous benefit on your loved one’s quality of life (4:54)
  • The trick that makes selling your loved one’s home easier than it should be (8:53)
  • If a real estate agent does this, run away… (14:46)

If you’d like to see how Tricia can help you sell your loved one’s home or want more information, you can give her a quick call at 817-789-3562.

For daily 5-minute mind exercises, head over and like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hcafortworth/

You can also find additional support and resources by calling Home Care Assistance at 817-349-7599 or visit our websites https://www.homecareassistancefortworth.com/ and https://itsmyturntocare.com/.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “It’s My Turn To Care.” We know the challenges you face caring for someone with dementia. That's why each week we bring you tips, strategies, and most of all, support as you navigate your role as caregiver. Let's get started. [00:15.6]

Dave: Hello and welcome to It’s My Turn To Care: Secrets for the Dementia Caregiver. My name is Dave Parks. I'm a certified senior advisor and I'm the owner of Home Care Assistance, and we're located in the Northern part of Tarrant County in the great state of Texas.

In this program, it's always our goal to bring you tips, strategies, secrets and the support you need as you care for someone suffering from dementia. I really do consider it an honor to host this podcast and bring you some of the most knowledgeable and insightful people in the industry. So, I want to introduce one of my good friends, Tricia Spurrier. [01:00.0]

Tricia is a local and trusted realtor with Keller Williams, serving the DFW Metroplex. She's a senior real estate specialist, and has over 20 years of serving seniors and their families. Tricia is very passionate about helping seniors with downsizing and rightsizing process as they consider improving their quality of life and moving to senior care communities.

She also holds some advanced certifications, the Real Estate Negotiation Expert, the Seller Representative Specialist and a Pricing Strategy Advisor. So, it sounds like you know what you're doing, Tricia. She's in business with her daughters, Amanda and Caroline. Tricia is the team leader and listing specialists of the Spurrier Group. She's been married to Robert for 26 years and together they love spoiling their sweet grandson, Luke. [02:06.0]

So, always available for personal service, and she's here to talk to us about folks that she has worked with with dementia and how she has helped them, and with all their real estate needs. So, Tricia, welcome to the program.

Tricia: Thank you so much, Dave. I have really been looking forward to getting in here with you today and seeing how I might be able to help you and your listeners, what burning questions somebody might have about helping seniors in the real estate market.

Dave: Great. We appreciate you taking some time out and letting us know, sharing your expertise in the senior real estate market.

Let's kind of start with a scenario. So, Mom has dementia and we're thinking about selling Mom's home or Dad's home. What would you recommend being their first? [02:59.7]

Tricia: You know what? That's really one of the most often asked questions, the most common question I actually receive from people who are thinking about selling, so I'm glad you asked me that.

What I always talk to families about is that the very first thing you need to do is it's not really about real estate and selling the house. It's about determining your loved one's care needs. So, if Mom has dementia, what type of care does she need, so that you can then figure out what her care plan is going to be that will best support her? And if that means maybe living at home with some caregiving support or if it means moving to maybe a care community, or maybe in moving in with a family member, kind of making your plan on what will best suit Mom, what does that environment look like for her. [03:50.4]

And then, if it does look like the best way to support her right now is maybe to move to a care community offering maybe 24/7 supervision and care, then we could take a look at getting Mom moved there. That really needs to be the priority, Mom's comfort, family members’ peace of mind. Move first, get situated, and then we can tackle the house. So, I would say that's really what the best course of action is.

Dave: I could see another option might be, if let's say they’ve lived and raised a family, three or four kids, in a 4,000-square-foot home, and really they need a 2,000-square-foot home, so you can help them kind of maneuver through that as well.

Tricia: Yes, that's right. And you know what? A lot of our seniors are in that situation. They have more square feet than they need, which is not helpful to them. By design, less square feet is better for someone who struggles with dementia and maybe has mobility issues, so living in a smaller living environment is usually of greater benefit. So, we do have ways to help people see that and take advantage of how that can help them improve their quality of life. [05:07.0]

Dave: Once they kind of get in touch with you, you've created…kind of talk through a little bit of a game plan on what's best for their care. What does that sales plan look like?

Tricia: So, once Mom or Dad have moved and everybody has the peace of mind that the care that's being offered is better than where they came from, then a really great strategy for a sales plan is to figure out what improvements, if any, are needed at the home for the resale.

Sometimes you might need some repairs, kind of deferred maintenance as sometimes what we see with seniors. They maybe didn't have the physical ability to keep up with certain parts of the home, but we take a look at that to help them determine what would be something to consider for the resale.

Sometimes it's nothing. Sometimes once we've taken a look, we're like, You don't need to do anything because of the market that we're selling in or because there are buyers that want this neighborhood, this property, this floor plan. [06:07.8]

So, we just help to determine do we need to make repairs? The last thing we want is for somebody to think they need to replace countertops or they need to change the flooring, or they need a new roof, when, in fact, depending on other variables, that may not be the case. So, I would say, talk to us first before you start paying for invoices, because you may not need to. We want to help you save money.

Dave: Sure.

Tricia: So, we kind of go in looking at what needs to be done at the house, if anything.

Dave: Because you're going to know what the buyer is looking for.

Tricia: Yes.

Dave: And so, when we lived in Alabama, we had some real estate agents come through the home to let us know what buyers were looking for and we thought that, Well, maybe that's kind of silly, but that is what the buyers were looking for. So, it's good to kind of have that professional view instead of just your own opinion.

Tricia: Wow. I couldn't have said it any better myself. So, that is true and you want to get that professional opinion from somebody you really do trust. [07:06.3]

Dave: Sue, absolutely.

Tricia: Because for that reason, you want to know that if someone is telling you do this or do that, you want to know, Well, if she said that or if he said that, then that's probably something we need to consider.

Dave: Sure, absolutely. So, let's say, Mom, going back to Mom, or Mom or Dad, let's say, they live in Texas but they have been diagnosed with some form of dementia and they really need some assistance in kind of managing their affairs. How does that process work?

Tricia: To sell your home in Texas, if you have dementia or some form of dementia, I should say, that inhibits you from handling your own business affairs your day-to-day business. What we hope that you have done for yourself is to already have appointed a power of attorney. [07:59.0]

A lot of times, that power of attorney we see as one of the adult children or maybe a very close family friend, because with a power of attorney having already been established in the past, that power of attorney is now able to help you. Actually, they're not helping you; they're doing it. They're actually taking charge and are able to get the home sold for you. And so, I'm not an attorney, but I think you've heard attorneys tell us for years, get your affairs in order before you need to, and this is one of those examples.

Dave: Because, in most cases, I've read many times that the home is probably their biggest asset or one of their biggest assets, for sure.

Tricia: Yes, we do see that, and oftentimes our family members need the proceeds from that sale to pay for the care that Mom or Dad now needs. And so, it's awesome when you have that power of attorney, because you really aren't skipping a beat. It's just as if the homeowner is selling their home; the power of attorney is selling the home for them. [09:05.0]

I don't want to say all of it is easy-peasy, but it's easy-peasy when you have the power of attorney versus you don't. It’s a lot easier for everybody.

Dave: Sure. Are there some things that maybe you do to try, depending on where a client is on their journey, to give them a sense of ownership and involvement? Because that can be important for someone with dementia.

Tricia: Yeah.

Dave: Can you talk a little bit about that?

Tricia: Sure, I'll be happy to, and like you said, where they are in their journey makes a huge difference as to how we would make a suggestion for a course of action. Also, how involved are other people in their lives? Sometimes we have siblings, adult children that are involved, and while everyone wants the best outcome for Mom, we all agree we want her to have the best quality of life, we don't always agree on how to get there. And so, sometimes that plays a significant role, too, as to what our course of action might be for suggestion. [10:09.2]

So, where the homeowner, as you mentioned, where the senior themselves, if they're just noticing, maybe just beginning the simple signs of dementia, some forgetfulness, or maybe they just don't want to deal with it and they want someone else to do all this business work for them, we can keep them involved as much as it's appropriate for them and it's helpful. But where you have to lean on family members and friends for the support of is it helpful or is it harmful? Is it causing stress for that person? So, it just really does depend where they are and what other dynamics are involved.

Dave: Right. I guess there are situations where someone hasn't taken an attorney's advice and they don't have a power of attorney. How is that handled? And, let's say, there's a need for one. [11:01.1]

Tricia: Okay. If I'm hearing you correctly, the question is we need to sell Mom's home, but no one in the family, there's never been a power of attorney appointed. Correct? So, in that case, your next course of action is obtaining guardianship. It’s establishing guardianship.

Dave: Okay.

Tricia: The good news is there is a process to allow you to sell the home, but it is going to be through guardianship.

Dave: Okay. Let's say, there's a surviving spouse. Maybe the situation is they don't want to live in the home anymore because that's where they spent the last 40 years, or it's just too big. So, what paperwork is required in that situation?

Tricia: That happens a lot. I'm glad you asked that because that actually happens a lot. [11:49.6]
Sometimes when the other spouse has passed, if there was a will, let me back up, if there was a will, but the surviving spouse did not have the will probated, all right, or family member, whoever didn't have that probated, then there is a step that needs to be taken care of regarding the will.

The will needs to be probated and that just simply means that the courts agree that this will was in place and this was the intent. It was for the spouse who has passed, who has said, “I want the home to go to my wife or my husband.” So, there's a bit of a legal process there to clear all the debt to make sure that that was the intent.

Dave: So, does it matter how it's titled, how the property is titled?

Tricia: It's interesting, because if we have that scenario, that example, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith are both on title but Mr. Smith has passed, there are easy ways to have him removed from title, and you definitely want to do that before you go on the market. So, working with a really knowledgeable title company makes all the difference in the world. [13:00.0]

There is a simple process to have him removed, but you definitely want to have that done so that the buyer knows all of the legalities that this seller actually can sell the home without a cloudy title, so they can sell it to you clear. You want to do all that upfront.

Dave: I know because my daughter just bought a home and how involved the process is and all the moving parts. And she's in her twenties, so she's vibrant. She gets it. But I can imagine that as we age, right, our processing speeds become slower, even if we don't have a diagnosis of dementia, but to see how complicated the process may seem. So, talk a little bit about your background in dealing with seniors because you've done so much more than real estate. [13:57.0]

Tricia: Yeah, it does make a difference, having somebody with experience that can be proactive and teach upfront, so that you know how to make the best decisions for yourself.

And let me just say your youngster is precious. I know I’ve already told you this, but I can't get off this show with you without reminding you again.

Dave: I may have to cut that.

Tricia: Oh, don't you dare. Don't you cut that, no.

Dave: She’ll never let me forget that.

Tricia: I think she needs to remind you because she is precious.

Dave: Thank you.

Tricia: Yes, I enjoyed very much working with her. But the fact of the matter is you're right. When you're a senior and you're in a little bit of a slower mindset than, say, your daughter, it does take someone very skilled at communication and being proactive and teaching, because I would never recommend you hire a real estate agent that's going to tell you what to do. That's not in your best interest.

What's in your best interest is to talk with someone who can tell you pros and cons of situations, give advice and opinion, give you options, and you decide for yourself what works best for you and your goals. [15:09.0]

Sometimes that gets cut out in a real estate transaction. We don't want that cut out because that's the most important aspect to us. It’s what are your goals? How can we help you get there? In working with seniors in the past, I spent almost 20 years working in the senior care and housing industry here in the Metroplex, which I loved. Almost didn't go into mine, I didn't create my real estate business because I was afraid that I would miss that interaction.

Dave: Sure.

Tricia: But what's been awesome is having all those years of working with seniors and their adult children on what are their fears, what's difficult for them. Knowing how to communicate with all those different dynamics makes for a much more successful transaction for that senior. So, we just took all of those years of senior care services and bungled that into our real estate, and I had the best of both worlds. I get to continue serving seniors and their families. [16:06.1]

Dave: So, I could see where if you're representing either a senior or a non-senior and you're dealing with someone who's, let's say, the seller is a senior, I could see where that could be comforting to both sides, because then you kind of understand what both sides are going through just to an extent.

Tricia: You're so right, and it's important that you do have an understanding of both sides of the transaction, not just one side. It has to be a win-win for both or it's never going to be completed.

Dave: Yeah.

Tricia: Yeah, so being able to explain what's happening makes a big difference.

Dave: So, tell us a little bit how the Spurrier Group works together.

Tricia: Okay, so both of my daughters, Amanda and Caroline, have joined me and our real estate business, and we are the Spurrier Group of Keller Williams. I am the listing specialist. Caroline is our buyer specialist and Amanda is our director of operations, which is awesome because when you work with us, you actually have three licensed agents looking out for your best interest. [17:08.5]

And, also, with defined roles as me being now just the listing specialist, it's all I do, and you want to work with somebody where they've done this a time or two and you're not their Guinea pig. We have a system in place for helping our seniors who need to sell their home. So, that's kind of how we all three work together, and then, of course, we are interchangeable as well, but that's the design.

Dave: You can back each other up.

Tricia: Right.

Dave: I'm sure you're available almost all the time, but if something happens and then your daughter can back you up, or if your daughter's showing a home, then you can step in if necessary. I haven't thought about that until now, because a lot of or most real estate kind of…I guess they could ask someone else in the office to help, but…

Tricia: It's not quite the same.

Dave: Right.

Tricia: You can and I've had to do that in the past, but it's so much nicer to be able to rely. We say our family is serving yours and we really mean it. [18:03.8]

Dave: Yeah.

Tricia: Like one time when we needed to show your daughter a home and Caroline was with other buyers, but we had to get into this home that day, and I picked her up and said, “I'll meet you there,” because that's what we’ve got to do.

Dave: So, now that it's July, I know we're actually recording this a little bit before it'll come out, but give us a sense for kind of what the market is like right now.

Tricia: The market right now is still hot, very hot—and not just because the temperatures are hot, okay?

Dave: Sure.

Tricia: But I mean where we are right now is we still have very limited inventory. We will have limited inventory when this airs, so I have no problem saying that right now. But in price points where a home is, like a first-time home buyer, the price point may be 250 and less. There's limited inventory and what happens with limited inventory is it creates a seller’s market. [19:00.3]

But the good news is we have lots of buyers who are taking advantage of the lowest interest rates we've ever had in the history of real estate. I mean, ever.

Dave: Sure, yeah, maybe in the world.

Tricia: I know, with the world. I know, exactly, which is awesome for these buyers, but we need more homes for them. So, we are actually this year, this time right now, we are up 6 percent in showings over this time last year, and last year was an amazing year.

Dave: Yeah, it’s unbelievable to me.

Tricia: I know. A lot of people say that.

Dave: Right.

Tricia: But 6 percent more and that interest rate is just amazing. So, the last two buyers that we put under contract, their interest rate was one of them was 2.7.

Dave: Wow.

Tricia: The other was 3.1.

Dave: Unbelievable.

Tricia: So, we just need more people in the Metroplex to sell their house.

Dave: Sell their house. Okay. All right.

Tricia: Yeah.

Dave: Tricia, we very much appreciate you coming on and spending some time, and letting our listeners know about some of the unique things to selling real estate with those with dementia and the senior market. If people want to get in touch with you, how would they do that? [20:10.7]

Tricia: Oh, they can just give me a quick call. My cell phone number is (817) 789-3562.

Dave: Great.

Tricia: Yeah.

Dave: All right, so this is Dave parks and the host of your podcast, It's My Turn To Care.

We always encourage you to call our office at (817) 349-7599 if you have any questions on your journey as you care for someone with dementia or other senior-related issues. And our website is HomeCareAssistanceFortWorth.com.
Thanks so much for listening, and we'll talk to you again next week.

Home Care Assistance knows the effort you already put into caring for a loved one and we would be honored to help you on your journey. Please visit our website at HomeCareAssistanceFortWorth.com and to sign up for our free caregiver survival guide today. [21:07.3]

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