Hilary, the Seniors Real Estate Specialist is on a mission to help get the word out to senior homeowners who are planning to sell or buy a home. She and her team have come across many older adults who have felt forced to sell their homes without the proper guidance to ensure a number of issues are addressed before and during the process. We do much more than work to sell the house. For example: constructing a short to long-term action plan for the transition, being sure they have their next home lined up in time, not leaving money on the table, protecting the equity received, ensuring medicare/medicaid is not affected, suggesting services to protect and manage their estate, insurance, the packing and the move – all of these to make moving easier as we remember…
“Real Estate is more than property – it’s about the people” ` Hilary Walker
The ‘SRES Mission 1,000’ is a project to raise awareness to 1,000+ adults, over the age of 50, about the services of a Seniors Real Estate Specialist who can provide a customized plan for their late in life real estate needs. Read more here…
Please CLICK HERE for access to Rockdale County Homestead Exemptions
Scroll to end of article for surrounding Counties Tax information (Dekalb, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Walton)
Original Article Posted March 2019.
Source: Rockdale Newton Citizen
Source: Rockdale County Property Tax
Property tax exemption deadline is April 1
In Rockdale, there are two opportunities seniors can take advantage of – one for vehicle registration and the other for property taxes.
When it comes to motor vehicle registration, residents 65 years and older may be eligible for a senior waiver. With this waiver, an emissions test would not be required to renew a registration. To qualify for the senior waiver, the vehicle must be registered to the applicant, be at least 10 model years old and be driven less than 5,000 miles a year. To apply, simply bring in your current mileage and our office will assist you in filling out the application. Or you can visit Georgia’s Clean Air Force website at www.cleanairforce.com to apply. It is important to keep track of your mileage throughout the year because you will be required to report your mileage every time you renew your registration. Write down the actual mileage; do not guess. If the mileage from one year to the next is more than 5,000 miles, an emissions test will be required.
In terms of property taxes, all property owners who occupy their homes and are 65 years and older are eligible for a senior exemption. Owners with this type of exemption will not be taxed on the first $35,000 of the home’s value, as opposed to owners with a standard exemption who are not taxed on the first $15,000. If an owner has a standard exemption in place and later turns 65 years old, he or she must apply for the higher exemption. Once a senior exemption is approved, the owner does not need to apply again.
There are different exemptions that seniors may be eligible for, such as an exemption that takes effect at age 62 years old or a disabled veteran exemption, so contact our office and we can help you navigate the application process.
Contrary to popular belief, seniors in Rockdale do pay school taxes. However, depending on the value of the property, an exemption may be in place that wipes out that tax obligation for a senior. For others, the exemption may drastically reduce the amount of taxes due on the property.
If you have questions about waivers or exemptions, please contact the Rockdale County Tax Commissioner’s Office 770-278-7676.
Surrounding Counties Homestead Property Tax Sites
If you are an older retiree and have been overwhelmed lately with managing your financial accounts, it might be time to consider hiring a Daily Money Manager (DMM). A DMM is a cost-effective way to help keep your financial life in order by hiring a professional to help you keep track of paying your bills on time, balancing your check book, handling insurance matters and providing tax documents to your accountant. Depending on where you live, costs can range between $75 to $150 an hour and some even charge a monthly retainer instead of an hourly fee.
Atlanta Seniors Real Estate caught up with Barbara Scurry, founder of Senior Partners. Barbara has been a DMM for 6 years and 10 years in geriatric health care/ marketing.
“I’ll share with you the story of Dorothy, a client of mine for almost four years. Dorothy was 79 years old when I started working with her. She never married, had no children, siblings, or other relatives with which she associated and she lived in an assisted-living facility (ALF).She was highly educated and detail-oriented but had stopped paying her bills and was showing early signs of cognitive decline. When I started working with Dorothy, I had great concern that she would run out of money within 12 to 18 months.”
Saving and finding money
Scurry said, “I began basic daily money management services, including opening and sorting her mail, making calls to outside vendors on her behalf, and organizing her files. But I got involved with her life issues as well and quickly realized she was not getting the care she needed (and was paying for) at the ALF where she was living. I helped her find a new ALF that saved her $2,500 per month in living expenses.”
Dorothy was also missing stock certificates that were about to be turned over to the state of Georgia, “one evening, as I was going through some old papers I finally found them! When we deposited those certificates, they ended up being worth more than $125,000! That money helped take care of her needs for the next three and a half years!”
Help with moving
Scurry even advised Dorothy on moving, a service perfectly aligned with the real estate transition services provided by Atlanta Seniors Real Estate Team.
“I referred her to a professional move management company and coordinated their services to get her packed, moved, and unpacked at her new location.”
If you need the services of a Daily Money Manager, a great place to learn more about this unique service and find a professional is with the American Association of Daily Money Managers.
If you or your senior parent(s) are ready to buy or sell real estate in Georgia, be sure to contact Atlanta Seniors Real Estate team of certified and personable Seniors Real Estate Specialists to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
*This article was featured, in part, in the July 2019 edition of About Boomers Magazine.
A SRES is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist – A Realtor® designated by the National Association of Realtors. As with anything important, you want to make sure you are working with a professional who is experienced in helping you meet your specific needs, such as a doctor for your health care, a vet for your pets, an attorney for your legal needs and a SRES Realtor for your real estate needs during your late life move.
Buying and selling a home is one of the most important decisions you will make.
When you are in your retirement years there are a number of factors that may be affected when you purchase or sell a home. A SRES – Seniors Real Estate Specialist is trained and experienced to understand a variety of issues that may arise when you are contemplating a late in life move. A SRES understands the pros and cons of how Medicare or Medicaid can be affected by profits from a home sale, the guidelines presented by the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), reverse mortgages and how to use it to buy a home, and finding suitable homes for older adults who are downsizing or considering an assisted living community.
Finding the right place to live that suits your need is always a priority for the SRES, in addition to walking you through each step of the process in order to reduce the confusion and stress that could arise during such an emotional time.
The most important qualities that a SRES can provide are sensitivity and patience.
Family dynamics can be a factor that impacts the sale of a house for anyone over the age of 50 and more so for older retirees – usually because there are adult children or grown grandchildren that play a big part in the life of the senior. If your family have a say in your life plans then a SRES may be the best Realtor to assist you. The SRES will consider the relationships and work towards helping you and your family through the details that are important to each of you.
A SRES is sensitive to the sometimes difficult and emotional journey that is involved when selling a family home that holds strong sentimental value to its owner(s). A SRES is mindful of the fear factors that may surround the homeowner as they make the transition.
If you are thinking of ‘aging-in-place‘, which many older adults are considering when purchasing a smaller home is not always affordable – a SRES may still be a good contact for you. A SRES is well versed on aging-in-place strategies and can assist with information about evaluating and modifying your home to make it more comfortable to remain there.
Choose a Realtor who has the mindset of ‘Service before Money’.
Most SRES have a passion for working with older adults. They understand that the circumstances surrounding the senior client may need a number of issues managed prior to the sale of the house and those are things that the SRES can help to resolve, sometimes by referring to other senior service providers, which can range from Senior Move Managers, Elder Law Attorneys, Assisted Living Communities to Financial Advisers or loan providers.
Hilary Walker, SRES, Realtor, Broker and SRES Instructor has a 10 step process when working with her clients and selling the house is number 7 on that list, which speaks to the detailed consultation and extended service that she and her team provide for her clients. Her motto is “Real Estate is more than property, it’s about the people”
Hilary is a Broker with The American Realty Professionals of GA and Director of American Realty Seniors Division. She is an instructor of the SRES Designation 2-day course for Realtors, and also offers seminars for Senior Provider teams (such as Home care providers, social workers, etc), older adult groups (such as church groups, active adult clubs, assisted living prospect group meetings and more). For more information call (678) 609-8019 or use our contact page here.
Is it time to move to a larger or smaller space? Whether choosing to move now or later, you should start asking the right questions today.
Here’s how to tell if you should move to a larger space:
- You need to make room for aging parents or relatives who cannot afford to age in place or an elder care facility
- You must make room for returning children
- Your home is overflowing with furniture and miscellaneous items that have no place to go
- You are running out of storage space
How to tell if you should move to a smaller space:
- You or your partner has health complications that are not suited for the current layout of your residence
- The thought of caring for your yard, multiple bedrooms, or general upkeep seems stressful
- Moving could save you money in retirement
- Your home has lots of space that is never used
A few other factors to consider before deciding to rightsize:
- You’ve decided to move closer to children or grandchildren to make new memories with family
- As your wants and wishes change, your neighborhood may no longer provide what you need
- Your home no longer appeals to you and you are not in the position to nor desire to remodel
- Selling your home could yield exponential financial benefits
Rightsizing can be new, exciting, and in some cases frightening. Considering the tips on this list can give you a great head start. Your next best option is to contact a Seniors Real Estate Specialist who will help you work out a plan of action and time frame best suited to your needs.
Aging Americans are struggling to pay for assisted living, home care and other forms of long term care. The mission of Paying For Senior Care is to solve this puzzle by providing tools, information and creative ideas which help families and caregivers discover the means to care for their elderly loved ones. I came across the site while in search of a service for one of my clients and wondered how many of you know about it. Whether you are an older adult yourself, if you are a care provider for a senior citizen or if you are a service provider like myself, this might be a very helpful source for you to save and return to as often as need.
Disclaimer: I do not endorse the website, nor do I know the validity of their sources. I may have some experience with one or more of the services mentioned, however, I am in no way benefiting from anything you choose to use on the site.
This information is provided as awareness to my clients and contacts as I often need services in my work as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist assisting older adults with their real estate needs.
Did you know you can purchase a home, even new construction, with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage? It’s a reverse mortgage that doesn’t require you to make a monthly payment.
I’ve had many conversations about this very issue with numerous senior clients who are concerned with having a mortgage in their 80’s and 90’s. Especially now, when the cost of living just seems to keep on rising for them.
In this time, most people are realizing the power of cash – accessible cash that is. As we age, it is important to have access to the money we have earned over the years in order to help us manage our chosen lifestyle and our health in the retirement years. A forward mortgage, such as a conventional home loan, a VA or FHA loan requires you to spend every month by paying back principle and interest, which puts pressure on your bank balance. Whereas a reverse mortgage allows you to keep your money in your pocket to use how you wish, with an option to pay or not to pay a monthly amount toward principle or interest.
Beware, not all reverse mortgages are equal. Be sure to speak to a professional who is willing to sit with you at your kitchen table (or their office) to explain the details. Online services are unlikely to do that, and may lead you into signing documents without explaining everything you need to know.
Consider this information as a tool you can use for your financial wealth.
Presented in partnership with Genie McGee a Reverse Mortgage Planner with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.
If you need to know how much equity you have in your home, contact me for a complimentary real estate market analysis.
A whole bunch of fun is what we have when I get together with fellow agents to teach the 3-hour Continuing Education class called “Here Comes the Boom” and the 2-day Designation class, “Seniors Real Estate Specialist”. Both feed my passion for educating. The classes are always great learning for the participants as well as me – since teaching is always a two way street, in my opinion!
As a Real Estate Instructor, I can share information and examples from my own vast experience. However, the experiences shared by participants are most valuable to help us all learn what our clients need from us, how we can best service our clients, or pick up tips and strategies to support our real estate businesses.
I’m available to instruct real estate agents and to facilitate seminars for older adult groups open to hearing about the challenges and solutions of downsizing, resizing and relocating. Call (678) 609-8019 to discuss how we might work together.
“Best most informative class yet!” J Tow
“Hilary was awesome & also her guests – would recommend the class to anyone” T Prieto
“ Awesome class – Awesome instructor!” C Banks
“ One of the BEST classes I’ve ever taken!! I would love to work with seniors!” L Peterson
“ I felt like a sponge that couldn’t soak up all the great information that I learned. Amazing class and amazing instructor!”
“Hilary Walker and other speakers are passionate and very knowledgeable. The class was very well worth it because of this”
“Instructor very passionate & committed!”
“SRES very interesting to me now. Hilary was great – Very knowledgeable” B Clifton
“Well put together. Great Instructor”
“Excellent Presenters, Excellent Materials, Extremely Useful”
“There was a lot more information than I was expecting. Great class”
“Outstanding class. I cannot begin to tell you what I got out of this class. You definitely have challenged me”. J Lester
“Extremely wonderful presenter. Guest speakers were incredible too!”
“Great Instruction, Great Info, Enjoyed the class”
“Well informed and animated instructor – included real life examples to illustrate objectives. Well worth the investment of time & $$!”
* * * * * * * * * * *
The Assisted Living Research Institute offers a vast selection of information suited for older adults and those with disabilities. Something we know in our communities is that older adults can find it difficult to find the resources that will help them. This company offers a good amount of detail along with links to some useful resources that might be just what you are looking for.
Seniors and people with disabilities often need supportive living options. When the time comes to start considering your options for assisted living, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of housing options. Not only are there different categories of assisted living to choose from, there are also a plethora of homes from which to choose. The right choice depends on a number of factors, including support needs, expense, and personal preference.
Financial Support Options
Long-term care can be expensive, and cost is one the main challenges to overcome. Although some families are able to pay out of pocket for residential and care expenses, many are not able to afford it on their own. For those individuals, there are financial support options including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and HUD programs.
Medicaid offers health coverage for some low-income families, including the elderly and people with disabilities. You may qualify for Medicaid based on your income and family size.
Although state Medicaid programs vary, residents with Medicaid will have at least some assisted living costs covered in most states. Some states use different terms to refer to assisted living coverage, such as residential care, adult foster care, personal care homes, or supported living. Home health services are one of the mandatory benefits available for those with Medicaid.
Coverage varies depending on the state, and may include medication administration, chores, homemaker services, and recreational activities. Medicaid does not pay for room and board in any state. However, it may cover meal preparation and serving, just not the cost of food itself.
Medicare is a national health insurance program generally available to seniors 65 and older, or younger people with disabilities or permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant.
Home health services are typically covered by Medicare for those who are eligible. To become eligible, a doctor must certify that you are homebound, or that you need intermittent skilled nursing care, specific physical therapy, speech-language pathology, or continued occupational therapy services.
Medicare does not cover long term care such as assisted living, 24-hour care, meal deliveries, homemaker services like laundry, or personal care like bathing or dressing.
Social Security offers financial benefits for people who are disabled, or those who are 62 or older. Along with retirement income for seniors, Social Security provides two other means of financial support. The first is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is available for people with limited income and assets. The second program provides state-based benefits that can offer financial support for assisted living. This program is either called Optional State Supplements (OSS) or State Supplementary Payments.
People who are financially eligible can get assistance paying for room and board at an assisted living facility using OSS. This is in addition to Social Security Income payments and is paid directly to the community. The amount of OSS given to the resident is based on his or her income and can range from a few dollars to nearly $1,000 per month depending on income and state policies.
Some states cap the amount assisted living communities that accept Medicaid can charge for room and board. This limit is usually equivalent to the federal Social Security Income benefit, or the Social Security Income benefit plus the OSS payment.