Track Scams Reported Near You

We’re constantly being reminded to not fall for scams but it’s difficult. Those scams become more sophisticated every day — especially with AI now in play. It’s increasingly hard to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.

AARP has a new tool that can help you stay ahead of the scams. It’s a Fraud Watch Network Scam-Tracking Map — you can enter your zip code and see scams that have been reported in your area. You can also select to see what scams law enforcement has reported or you can report a scam if you’ve been a victim.

It’s another tool in your toolbox to stay safe and protect yourself and your property. Click here to access the map and get started.

Learn more about AARP features to protect seniors by visiting their website – www.aarp.org.

Should you have a will or create a trust?

Many seniors have completed their estate planning which commonly includes a will to manage asset distribution upon their death? But more people are looking at creating a trust instead because of some benefits.

A recent article from Kiplinger recently outlined six reasons to consider a trust:

  1. Distribution Control: Trusts provide a flexible mechanism for directing how and when your assets will be distributed to beneficiaries, even in situations where they may not be capable of making responsible decisions, such as minors or individuals requiring special care.
  2. Avoid Probate: By placing assets in a trust, you can bypass the probate process, which can be time-consuming, costly, and public. This not only preserves more of your estate for your beneficiaries but also maintains privacy and expedites the transfer of assets.
  3. Maintaining Decision-Making Authority: Trusts empower you to maintain control over your assets, ensuring that your wishes are followed in the event of your incapacity or passing. This autonomy can be crucial for a tax-efficient and effective handling of your affairs.
  4. Estate Tax Minimization and Asset Protection: Trusts offer opportunities to minimize estate taxes and shield assets from recovery for governmental benefits paid during your lifetime. Additionally, they provide a layer of asset protection and enable the continuation of family values into future generations.
  5. Ease for Beneficiaries: Establishing a trust can alleviate the burden on your heirs by potentially avoiding lengthy and expensive probate proceedings. It also facilitates the smooth transfer of assets according to your wishes, offering your beneficiaries clarity and security during an emotionally challenging time.
  6. Peace of Mind: Trusts offer invaluable peace of mind by safeguarding privacy, protecting assets, and streamlining the asset transfer process. By mitigating the uncertainties and complexities associated with estate planning, trusts provide reassurance for you and your loved ones.

As always, consult with your financial advisor to determine the most suitable approach for managing your assets and securing your legacy.

>>Read more on this topic from Kiplinger.

Why seniors need an SRES to buy or sell real estate.

Navigating the real estate market can be overwhelming. It’s even more daunting when you’re a senior with entirely different factors to consider from when you were younger.

A designated Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) is trained to manage the needs of older adults and guide them through every step of the real estate process.

Here’s why working with an SRES® like us here at Atlanta Seniors Real Estate makes a significant difference.

  1. Specialized Expertise: SRES® designees undergo special training to address the unique needs and challenges seniors face in real estate transactions.
  2. Customized Solutions: From creating a personalized marketing plan to ensuring your new home meets your current and, importantly, your future needs. A SRES® will tailor the approach to fit your situation and needs.
  3. Financial Guidance: SRES® designees are well-versed in the financial aspects of real estate transactions for seniors, including reverse mortgages, retirement accounts, and more. We’re able to help you make informed decisions that align with your financial goals.
  4. Extensive Network: An SRES® can connect you with trusted professionals in their network, including movers, attorneys, and home inspectors, to provide support throughout the process.

We’re pleased that here In Georgia, SRES Hilary Walker is widely recognized for her expertise and compassion in assisting seniors and their families with real estate transitions. Contact her to ask questions or take the next step towards a smooth and stress-free move.

How FANS Keeps Georgians Informed About Property Records

Are you a homeowner in Georgia?  Have you heard about scams where fake deeds are used to take over a property?

If so, check out the Filing Activity Notification System (FANS). Developed by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority (GSCCCA), FANS is a valuable tool that helps residents keep track of important real estate and personal property records.

The GSCCCA was created in 1993 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly. Its focus is on acquiring, developing and distributing record management systems, information, services, supplies and materials that benefit both Superior Court Clerks and the citizens of Georgia. 

How can it help you?

  • FANS allows you to monitor any filings related to your property within the state of Georgia.
  • It’s a free, voluntary program that provides electronic notifications about filing activity.
  • By opting in, you’ll receive alerts whenever something is filed in your name or property address.

Why FANS Matters: Combatting Scams

  • Beware of companies that charge fees to monitor your property—they maybe a scam.
  • FANS empowers citizens to monitor their assets independently, without any cost.
  • It’s one way to stay ahead. If something did happen, you will know before it is too late!

User-Friendly and Flexible

  • FANS accommodates various ways people sign their names or are referred to.
  • You can input multiple names to cover all possibilities.
  • It’s designed to ensure ease of use. When we tested it with our own information, it took approximately 10 minutes (which included reading through their policy information).

Get Started with FANS:

  1. Visit FANS website: https://fans.gsccca.org/
  2. Follow the simple prompts to set up your notifications.

Questions or Concerns about FANS?

  • Reach out to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority customer support:

Stay informed, protect your property, and enjoy the peace of mind that FANS brings! 🌟🏡

Questions about Atlanta Seniors Real Estate? Contact us here.

Guide to Selling in 2024

Senior Real Estate

It’s the question we get all the time — “When is the best time of year to sell our house?”

According to a recent report from Realtor.com, sellers eyeing a 2024 sale won’t want to miss out on the upcoming sweet spot in the market — this spring is it. Why?

  • Less Competition
    Expect 40% less inventory compared to pre-pandemic levels, giving sellers a competitive edge.
  • More Interested Buyers
    With 22.8% more buyer views per listing, sellers can anticipate heightened interest in their properties.
  • Quick Sales
    Homes are projected to sell 17% faster during this week, thanks to favorable market conditions.
  • Higher Prices
    Listing prices are $34,000 higher than at the start of 2024, providing sellers with potentially higher returns.
  • Fewer Price Reductions
    With 24.6% fewer homes featuring price reductions, sellers can maintain their asking prices more effectively.

    For sellers looking to capitalize on this opportune moment, preparation is key. Start by considering these essential steps:

    1. Curb Appeal – spruce up the property’s exterior
    2. Professional Guidance – begin discussions with your real estate agent
    3. Price Strategy – your realtor will help you right price your home to sell

    It’s true that many people don’t want to sell because they are worried about higher mortgage rates but this is a great opportunity for seniors who are often looking at downsizing and have flexibility in where they live. They’re not tied to a local school or being close to the office. And many of our clients, are very open to renting.

    >>Read more on this subject from Kiplinger.

    If you or a retired family member is considering selling, contact us to learn how real estate transactions involving seniors are unique and there are different factors to take into consideration. Schedule a consultation with us today.

    Why should you freeze your credit?

    Safeguarding your identity and finances is paramount but it can be confusing.

    Renowned consumer advocate and money expert Clark Howard has been a steadfast advocate for empowering individuals with practical advice to save more and spend less. One of his steadfast recommendations for protecting yourself financially is to freeze your credit.

    Credit Lock vs. Credit Freeze: Understanding the Difference

    Both credit locks and credit freezes serve the purpose of restricting access to your credit information. However, they differ significantly in their execution and implications.

    • Credit Lock: Typically offered by private companies, credit locking services often come with a price tag, usually through a subscription model. Companies like LifeLock, Credit Karma, and TransUnion offer credit locking services with varying degrees of coverage and cost.
    • Credit Freeze: In contrast, a credit freeze is initiated directly with major credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Governed by U.S. law, a credit freeze prohibits access to your credit file, effectively blocking new loan applications until you “thaw” your credit.

    Clark’s Recommendation: Why Choose a Credit Freeze?

    Clark Howard advocates for the simplicity and security of a credit freeze. Unlike credit locks, credit freezes are free and federally regulated, offering a robust layer of protection against fraud and identity theft.

    By taking advantage of free financial products such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame for credit monitoring and freezing your credit with all three major credit bureaus, you can effectively lock your credit for free—a practice Clark strongly endorses.

    Clark Howard’s advice is clear: opt for the free and federally regulated option—a credit freeze—to fortify your defenses against financial fraud and identity theft. By following these simple steps to freeze your credit, you can enhance your financial security without breaking the bank.

    >>Also check out Clark Howard’s tips for reaching a human at the credit bureaus.

    Why people love Silver Summit Condominiums

    Older adults looking to downsize and relocate to be closer to their adult children are finding
    places like Silver Summit Condominiums in Conyers, GA very appealing. Having worked
    within this active adult community since 2017 as the Seniors Real Estate Specialist for retirees, I have a good take on why it’s an excellent housing option.

    1. Purpose-Designed Homes
      Silver Summit homes are thoughtfully designed for aging in place. Everything on one level,
      spacious and open for varying types of mobility, minimum of 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, lots of storage space and a two-car garage for the convenience of getting out of your car and entering your kitchen which most retirees love. The added bonus for most of the units in Silver Summit is the beautiful bright sunroom. Most units have modern features while some could use an upgrade from when most of them were built in 2006/7. There are 8 units that were built in 2018 that feature more update finishings, such as smart-tech for the HVAC controls, alarm system, and appliances. The accessible level counters, roll-in shower and stepless entrances are some of obvious universal design features.
    2. Well maintained Amenities
      Silver Summit offers a range of amenities that cater to an active lifestyle. A welcoming
      clubhouse space for homeowner meetings, socializing and community events. The pool is perfect for relaxation and staying fit or enjoying with the grandkids on their rare visits. There is also an exercise room kitted out with ellipticals, treadmill, weights and mats, ideal for maintaining physical health without having to leave the community. The community is designed around one street in and out, which has become the ideal walking track for some residents.
    3. Low Maintenance Living
      No more weekend chores unless you are tending to your patio plants! The exterior maintenance of homes in Silver Summit is handled by the HOA. No more mowing, painting, or roof repairs. Designed with older adults in mind, these single-story homes prioritize convenience and comfort, all you have to be concerned with is the interior of the home. The HOA fee will cover all exterior features and amenities as well as water, sewer, trash, termite and fire sprinkler maintenance.
    4. Lower Property Taxes
      Property taxes in active adult communities tend to be significantly lower than those in traditional neighborhoods but also due to the homestead exemption that is given to residents who qualify with age and other status that each county offers.
    5. Convenient Location
      The convenience of being able to walk to Shopping & Dining within 5-10 minutes attracts many who live at Silver Summit. A short drive allows for visits to the new Salem Gate shopping complex, or Ga 20 toward Publix and Target or just across the street for Kroger. Everything including clinics, hospital, gas stations and hotels are within easy reach.
    6. Safety and Security
      Active adult communities prioritize safety. Residents can feel secure in a well-maintained
      environment that has a camera monitor for the entrance of the community and sometimes sees our local police showing their presence. The sense of community fosters watchfulness and support among neighbors.
    7. Vibrant Social Life
      Silver Summit residents come together to encouraged socialization through organized trips, classes, and special interest groups. Regular newsletter updates invite all residents to engage and make friends with fellow residents who share similar life stages and interests.
    8. Health and Well-Being
      While there is not specific health care service affiliated to the community, the community’s
      amenities promote physical activity and engagement, and residents share information with each other about services that can benefit their well-being needs.

      Silver Summit Condominiums offer a blend of comfort, community, and
      convenience. Whether you’re a retiree seeking an active lifestyle or an adult child researching options for your parents, Silver Summit is a place to call home.

      Don’t Wait Until Retirement!

      If retirement is on the horizon, consider the benefits of active adult living now. I can’t tell you how many people wished they had made the move earlier. The stories from our clients are endless when it comes to how their lifestyle was enhanced by moving to an active adult
      community.

      For more information, visit the official website or contact Hilary Walker at 678.609.8019 or
      email hilary@atlantaseniorsrealestate.com. You can also use the button below to search for homes. Select Master on Main to narrow the search for active adult and senior living properties. You can contact us to discussion options and receive a unique link for your active adult home search in any area.

    Your Relocation Checklist

    With years under my belt as a real estate agent, one thing that I know for certain is that moving is exhausting. Clients often feel overwhelmed just thinking about it.

    One of the best tools to help manage those feelings is a checklist. It helps you stay focused and organized.

    Smooth Mooove Senior Relocation Services shared a list with me recently that I’ll paste below. If you need assistance with moving, they’re a great resource and they offer a free estimate.

    The Moooving Checklist

    ☐ First assignment: Decide what to keep, sell, or giveaway.

    ☐ Sort through your belongings: Give heirlooms to children and relatives who have room for them. Create donation bins.

    ☐ Decide whether to move yourself or hire professionals. Make reservations with a moving company or truck rental company.

    ☐ If hiring a mover, call three companies for estimates, ensuring they are licensed, bonded, insured, and DOT registered. Inquire about their employment status (W-2 employees, 1099 contractors, or day labor).

    ☐ Gather packing supplies: Boxes, packing material, tape, felt markers, and scissors.

    ☐ Make travel arrangements if moving a long distance: Airline, hotel, and rental car agency.

    ☐ Save all moving receipts for potential tax deductions. Check the current tax code for requirements.

    ☐ Place legal, medical, financial, and insurance records in a safe and accessible place. Scan documents so you always have a backup.

    ☐ Purchase replacement coverage for valuables to be moved.

    ☐ Have antiques, art pieces, and other valuables appraised for insurance purposes.

    ☐ Begin decluttering: Start with the basement, attic, garage, and other non-used areas.

    ☐ Use up foods and cleaning supplies that cannot be moved.

    ☐ Change your address on USPS.com.

    This checklist is just a start. Companies like Smooth Mooove also provide moving supplies and other resources o just ask about things you’ll need to ensure yours is a smooth one.

    Need other resources as you prepare to relocate? Just reach out to us at Atlanta Seniors Real Estate. We’re happy to help.

    What your house says about cognitive health.

    In a recent Irish Times article, John O’Sullivan writes, “According to experts, one potential telltale sign of dementia-induced memory loss is the layout of a person’s home.”

    It caught me by surprise — we’re all concerned about the increases in Alzheimer’s and dementia but I never considered how a house can be an early indicator of cognitive loss. I’ve seen issues while in someone’s home that could have been a red flag but I simply didn’t look at it that way.

    So, what about the home can indicate age-related cognitive issues? The article mentions things like household items that are out of place — a tea kettle in the freezer, for example. It’s fairly obvious, but what else?

    1. Clutter and Disorganization: A cluttered and disorganized home may indicate difficulties in executive functioning – the ability to plan, organize, and complete tasks. Difficulty in maintaining orderliness may also be linked to memory problems and attention issues.
    2. Navigation Challenges: Can the individual easily navigate through the home? Difficulty in spatial orientation and wayfinding may point to changes in brain function, particularly in areas responsible for spatial awareness and memory.
    3. Safety Hazards: Take note of safety hazards or potential risks in the home. Forgetting to turn off appliances, leaving doors and windows unlocked, or neglecting to address tripping hazards can indicate lapses in judgment and decision-making – cognitive abilities that are crucial for maintaining independence and well-being as you age.
    4. Decline in Home Maintenance: Is the person neglecting routine household tasks that they once managed effortlessly? A decline in home maintenance, such as neglecting repairs, failing to pay bills on time, or letting essential services lapse, may signal cognitive impairment.
    5. Changes in Home Environment: Pay attention to any significant changes such as excessive hoarding, unconventional use of household items, or alterations to familiar spaces. These changes may reflect shifts in thinking, perception, or behavior associated with cognitive decline or neurological conditions.

    It’s important to remember that occasional lapses in memory or organization are normal, especially as we age. However, if you notice persistent or significant changes in the layout and organization of the home, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation.

    Early detection and intervention can help address cognitive issues and potentially slow the progression of cognitive decline.

    The importance of retirees braintaining?


    As we age, one of the most vital things we can do is to keep our minds active and engaged. Just as physical exercise is essential for our bodies, mental exercise is crucial for our brains.

    Enter “braintaining” – a concept that emphasizes actively maintaining and enhancing cognitive abilities as we age.

    What exactly is braintaining? It’s an approach to mental fitness involving activities and practices that stimulate the brain, improve memory, enhance problem-solving skills, and promote overall cognitive health.

    So, how can seniors and retirees incorporate braintaining into their daily lives?

    1. Challenge Yourself: Engage in activities that push your cognitive limits. Solve puzzles, play strategy games like chess or Sudoku, or learn a new skill or hobby. The key is to choose activities that require mental effort and provide a sense of accomplishment.
    2. Stay Socially Connected: Social interaction is vital for brain health. Join clubs, attend community events, or simply spend time with friends and family. Engaging in conversations, sharing stories, and participating in group activities can help keep your mind sharp.
    3. Exercise Regularly: Physical activity isn’t just good for your body – it’s also great for your brain. Regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain, promotes the growth of new brain cells, and enhances cognitive function. Aim for a mix of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
    4. Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet: What you eat can have a significant impact on your brain health. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet. Foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B and E are particularly beneficial for brain function.
    5. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques can help reduce stress, improve concentration, and enhance cognitive function. Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focus on your breath, and let go of any distracting thoughts.
    6. Get Plenty of Sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for cognitive function and memory consolidation. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to help you unwind and prepare for sleep.

    Braintaining is not about perfection – it’s about making a commitment to mental well-being. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can help keep your mind sharp, agile, and resilient as you age.

    >>Click here to learn more about “braintaining” in an article from Deseret News.

    How technology is helping seniors age in place.

    Studies show that 90 percent of adults over 65 prefer to age in place rather than relocate to a senior living community. The good news is that new technologies are making it easier to support independent living for seniors.

    One effective approach to enhancing livability is by incorporating universal design. It’s creating spaces that are accessible and functional for people of all ages and abilities. By adding features such as grab bars, widened doorways, and non-slip flooring, homes can be made safer and more accommodating for aging residents.

    Technology plays a crucial role in facilitating aging in place. There are four main categories of technology that can help seniors remain in their homes longer:

    1. Communication and Engagement: Tools like video calling platforms and social media can help older adults stay connected with friends and family, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.
    2. Health and Wellness: From wearable fitness trackers to remote monitoring devices, technology can support seniors in managing their health and maintaining independence. Medication reminders and telehealth services are also valuable resources.
    3. Learning and Contribution: Online learning platforms and digital volunteering opportunities empower older adults to continue learning and making meaningful contributions to their communities.
    4. Safety and Security: Smart home devices, such as motion-sensor lights and smart locks, enhance home security and provide peace of mind for seniors and caregivers. And devices can contact emergency services when needed.

    For caregivers supporting older adults, technology can streamline caregiving tasks and improve efficiency. From mobile apps for medication management to online resources for caregiver support, there are a variety of tools available to assist caregivers.

    Explore technology that can help with a senior aging at home and, importantly, remain open to the signs that you or a loved one may need to relocate for health and safety reasons. There could be a need for additional care and attention or a living space that is more manageable and designed specifically for aging residents.

    When it’s time to relocate, to sell a home and identify a new residence, reach out to a Senior Real Estate Specialist like Atlanta Seniors Real Estate to help guide you through the process.

    >>Visit www.seniorliving.com to learn more about technology and senior care.

    The importance of better sleep.

    Quality sleep is increasingly important for our overall health and well-being as we age and it’s particularly important when going through a life transition such as relocating.

    Research shows adequate sleep can extend your lifespan and improve the quality of our later years. A lack of proper sleep has also been linked to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and even dementia.

    To ensure better sleep, incorporating simple habits into your daily routine is key. Here are eight easy habits to help you achieve a restful night’s sleep from senior relocation company Caring Transitions:

    1. Get Sunlight Exposure: Spend a few minutes in natural light daily to regulate your body’s rhythms.
    2. Eat Lightly: Choose lighter meals in the evening to aid digestion and consider melatonin-rich snacks like cherries or nuts for a pre-bedtime snack.
    3. Establish Evening Rituals: Wind down with calming activities such as meditation or herbal tea, avoiding alcohol which can disrupt sleep.
    4. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Aim for regular sleep and wake times to regulate your internal clock.
    5. Limit Screen Time: Power down electronic devices at least two hours before bedtime to reduce exposure to blue light. Reduce the urge to check your phone before bed.
    6. Exercise Early: Engage in physical activity earlier in the day to promote relaxation in the evening. Take a walk in the morning.
    7. Optimize Your Sleep Environment: Keep your bedroom dark and maintain a comfortable temperature for optimal sleep conditions.
    8. Consider Napping: If you miss out on sleep, opt for a nap rather than altering your bedtime.

    >>Click here to read more from Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta including how they can help reduce stress when your family needs to downsize, pack and move.

    The Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips

    Spring arrives on Tuesday, March 19th so many are beginning their spring cleaning. It’s not just about tidying up; it’s a chance to declutter, organize, and revitalize your home for the season ahead.

    To help you make the most of spring-cleaning, here are the top ten things you should do to get started.

    1. Declutter: Go through each room and get rid of items you no longer need or use. Donate, recycle, or discard anything that is broken, outdated, or no longer serves a purpose. Decluttering creates a sense of space and makes it easier to clean and organize.

    2. Deep Clean Floors and Carpets: Vacuum, mop or steam clean your flooring. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas and use appropriate cleaners for different floor types. For carpets, consider renting a carpet cleaner or hiring professionals for a deep clean to remove dirt, stains, and allergens.

    3. Freshen Up Fabrics: Wash or dry clean curtains, drapes, and upholstery to remove dust, pet dander, and odors that have accumulated over the winter months. Flip or rotate mattresses and wash bedding, including pillows and duvets, for a clean and comfortable sleep environment.

    4. Scrub and Sanitize Surfaces: Disinfect commonly touched surfaces like countertops, tables, doorknobs, and light switches to eliminate germs and prevent the spread of illness. Use a mild cleaner or a mixture of water and vinegar for an eco-friendly and effective cleaning solution.

    5. Organize Closets and Cabinets: Declutter and organize closets and cabinets. Sort through clothing, shoes, and accessories, donating or storing items that are out of season or no longer fit.

    6. Clean Out and Organize Storage Spaces: Clear out clutter from storage areas like the attic, basement, garage, or shed. Dispose of anything broken or unused and organize items into labeled containers for easy access. Consider installing shelving or hooks to make the most of vertical space and keep things off the floor.

    7. Freshen Up Appliances: Clean the inside and outside of your refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and microwave, removing any food residue or grime. Check and replace filters, seals, and hoses as needed to keep appliances running efficiently.

    8. Tidy Up Outdoor Spaces: Sweep away debris from patios, decks, and walkways, and clean outdoor furniture and cushions. Trim bushes, prune trees, and rake leaves to spruce up your yard and create a welcoming outdoor environment.

    9. Check Safety Devices: Take the time to test and replace batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers to ensure they are functioning properly. Inspect electrical outlets, cords, and appliances for any signs of damage or wear and address any safety hazards promptly.

    10. Add Fresh Touches: Finally, add some finishing touches to brighten up your space and bring the feeling of spring indoors. Place fresh flowers in vases, switch out heavy curtains for lightweight fabrics, and incorporate pops of color with throw pillows or decorative accents. Open windows to let in fresh air and natural light, and enjoy the rejuvenated atmosphere of your home.

    Spring cleaning is more than just a chore; it’s an opportunity to reset and refresh your living space for the season ahead. And for many of our Atlanta Senior Real Estate clients, spring cleaning is a step toward making it easier to eventually downsize and relocate.

    If you want to speak with us about future relocation plans for you or a senior loved one, contact us today.

    7 Tips to Improve Your Memory

    As we age, it’s natural to become more aware of changes in our cognitive abilities. Among the most common concerns for seniors is the fear of memory loss. Whether it’s misplacing keys or forgetting a name, these moments can trigger worries about more serious cognitive decline.

    Memory loss can be a distressing for seniors, as it impacts daily life and independence. Many fear losing cherished memories, struggling with simple tasks, or becoming a burden on loved ones. These worries often stem from witnessing friends or family members experience dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, leading to heightened anxiety about their own cognitive health.

    There are things we can do that can help delay or reduce the chance of memory loss. The Mayo Clinic has seven suggestions.

    1. Physical Activity
    2. Stay Mentally Active
    3. Spend Time with Others
    4. Stay Organized
    5. Sleep Well
    6. Eat a Healthy Diet
    7. Manage Health Problems

    For seniors experiencing persistent concerns about memory loss, seeking support from family members, friends, or support groups can be beneficial. Sharing feelings and experiences with others who understand can provide comfort and validation. Additionally, cognitive assessments and memory screenings can offer insights into cognitive functioning and help address any underlying issues.

    >>Read the full article from The Mayo Clinic.

    Georgia Real Estate Scam Warning

    Stealing your property without your knowledge.

    Georgia counties are warning property owners of real estate fraud. People are using forged documents and signatures to transfer the title of a home or other property without the owner’s approval. Worst of all, many property owners may have no idea their property has been stolen.

    Gwinnett County warns of an incident where a resident had issues paying property taxes because the property had, without her knowledge, been transferred to another person. (Read more about the case here)

    The fraudsters are using quitclaim deeds which were designed to be a way to transfer ownership between trusted individuals such as family members.

    So, how do you check your own property? I recommend you first conduct a title search. You can also enroll in the Georgia Superior Court Clerks Filing Activity Information System. That will notify you if there is activity on your property such as a change to the deed, mortgage, or a lien is filed on the property.

    A Georgia state legislator has filed a bill (House Bill 888 – the Georgia Not On My Deed Act) which would authorize Superior Court Clerks to require ID for anyone recording property deeds.

    How to Prep Your Home for Selling

    10 Things to do before you put the “for sale” sign in your yard.

    Senior Real Estate

    One of the first questions I get from clients is how to prepare their home to go on the market? It’s a topic that can overwhelm a homeowner who is making a real life change.

    Here are ten quick tips I give clients to give them the best chance of getting top dollar for their home.

    1. Declutter and Depersonalize: Declutter and depersonalize the house. Remove personal items (yes, all the family photos), excessive furniture, and unnecessary belongings. A clean and clutter-free space helps the buyer see themselves in the home.
    2. Deep Clean: A clean home is a marketable home. It shows the homeowner cares about home maintenance. Clean vents, fans, baseboards, windows and carpets. If you can’t do it yourself, it’s worth bringing someone in for a cleaning before we start showing the home to buyers.
    3. Make Necessary Repairs: Address issues that might deter potential buyers such as leaky faucets, squeaky doors, and holes in the wall.
    4. Refresh Paint and Finishes: A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in revitalizing your home’s appearance. Stick to neutral colors to appeal to a broader range of buyers and touch up areas that may have chipped paint.
    5. Enhance Curb Appeal: First impressions matter. Spruce up your home’s exterior by landscaping, mowing the lawn, and adding potted plants or flowers. Ensure that the front door and exterior are in top-notch condition to create a welcoming entryway.
    6. Stage Your Home: Arrange furniture to showcase the flow of each space and create a warm, inviting atmosphere. I often recommend a stager if that is what is needed to sell your home more quickly and at a higher price.
    7. Set the Right Price: I’ll research comparable home sales in the area to determine a competitive and realistic asking price. Overpricing your home can discourage potential buyers, while underpricing might leave money on the table.
    8. Create an Online Presence: I will also ensure my client’s home is advertised online and that there are photos to draw in prospective buyers.
    9. Gather Necessary Documents: Streamline the closing process by gathering important documents in advance. This includes property records, warranty information, and any relevant paperwork on recent improvements or repairs.
    10. Be Flexible and Open to Feedback: It’s also important that sellers be flexible with showings and listen to buyer feedback. Being adaptable can speed up the sale process.

    I remind sellers it’s important to detach from the home they’re selling and focus on what’s next for them. It’s tough especially for families who have lived in a home for decades, but it helps the process go more smoothly.

    Have questions about selling your home and looking for your next one? Reach out to us at Atlanta Seniors Real Estate – we’re here to help.

    When you need to take the car keys from a senior driver.

    It’s one of our most popular blogs and social posts – how older adults and their loved ones navigate the decision of when to take the keys away from an elderly driver.

    Most will agree that it’s a conversation seniors should have with their caregivers or adult children sooner rather than later. It needs to happen before there’s an incident requiring that they relinquish the car keys.

    The Georgia Consumer Protection Guide includes a section dedicated to Diminished Driving Capacity which includes links and resources helpful for family members such as:

    >How does one surrender a driver’s license and get a new form of ID? Visit your Department of Driver Services Customer Service Center.

    >Are there options if you feel a family member needs to surrender their license but they refuse? Yes, you can ask the Department of Driver Services review the situation. More on that process here.

    The Guide also includes steers readers to an AARP free online seminar called “We Need to Talk” (aarp.org/auto/driver-safety/we-need-to-talk) which helps families evaluate a loved one’s ability to safely drive a car. It also offers suggestions for how to have the conversation about when the elderly family member should stop driving.

    >>Click here for the complete Georgia Consumer Protection Guide for Older Adults which packed with great information and resources on a number of issues facing seniors and their families.

    The benefits of living in a senior apartment community.

    When seniors and their families come to me, it’s often because they’re ready to sell a home and downsize. They want easier living and prefer to spend less and money time maintaining their home. For some, that means looking at senior apartments.

    The benefits? There are many. Here’s our Top 7.

    1. Frees up time. You don’t have to deal with homeowner responsibilities like repairs and maintaining the yard. You will have more time to spend on hobbies or with family and friends.
    2. Amenities. Many senior apartment communities these days come with a pool, hot tub, clubhouse, a gym, game room, and some even have on-site theaters or bowling alleys.
    3. Designed for seniors. Senior apartment designers usually have included features for seniors like grab bars in the bathroom, non-slip flooring, easy to reach cabinets, and other accessibility features.
    4. Social life. Senior apartment residents say that they appreciate living near others at the same phase of life. They enjoy social activities and gatherings together in the community.
    5. Transportation. You may find that the community provides transportation services to shopping centers, medical appointments and often day trips and excursions for residents.
    6. Security. Increasingly senior apartments have security in place to provide residents with peace of mind. The community may be gated or the buildings may have security. Most have cameras and lighting to provide a more secure environment.
    7. Progressive living. In our area, many senior apartments are located in communities that also offer other services as needed such as assisted living.

    >>Want to know more? Check out a great article about this subject from SeniorLiving.org.

    If you’re thinking about what’s next, a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is a great first step. If you’d like to speak with us, contact us today.

    Top 5 Homebuyer Turnoffs

    When my clients are considering selling their home and we want to get top dollar, I really encourage them to take a look from a purchaser perspective. Being aware of what things turn off a buyer is essential.

    Opendoor did some research and found the top turnoffs for buyers. If you’re thinking about making any improvements this year and know you’ll be selling at some point in the future, this can be quite helpful.

    1. 54%: Outdated bathrooms
      Think outdated tile, cabinets and countertops. Consider new light fixtures and fresh paint to make the bathroom look bright and clean.
    2. 49%: Old carpet
      Old carpet can be overwhelming and distract from other features in the home. If you can’t afford to replace it, ensure it is clean and stains are treated.
    3. 41%: Outdated kitchen features (countertops, cabinets etc.)
      It’s generally the most used room in the house so it needs to function well. Cabinets can be painted but explore replacing outdated countertops and backsplash.
    4. 32%: Textured ceilings
      It can be costly to have them scraped and painted but some homeowners can do it themselves. Either way, that clean, flat ceiling can make a big impact on a room.
    5. 30%: Outdated appliances
      Old appliances need to go but if you can’t replace them, ensure they’re clean and working. Some sellers are able to turn a quirky, vintage appliance into a selling feature perhaps in a midcentury modern home but it’s rare.

    Also, pay attention to curb appeal. The appearance of your home’s exterior sets the tone for what the buyer will find inside. They’ll start calculating at the curb what they’ll need to spend to make the home livable for them.

    >>Read the full article from Opendoor here and if you’re interested in discussing a home sale or purchase, we’d love to speak with you. Click here to contact us.

    Social Security Rules That May Affect Your Benefits

    Social Security provides benefits to around 1 in 5 citizens but there are some little known rules that can impact their benefits. This often comes up as we speak with seniors as they plan to downsize and relocate. These rules need to be figured into financial planning.

    An article from The Motley Fool looks at two Social Security rules that are particularly relevant today as many seniors are still in or returning to the workforce.

    1. Working After Claiming Social Security Early: A Potential Reduction in Benefits: The first is for those who collect Social Security retirement benefits before reaching their full retirement age (FRA). Shockingly, between 25% and 50% of pre-retirees are unaware that continuing to work after claiming Social Security early can lead to a benefit reduction.

    >If you receive Social Security retirement benefits before your FRA, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above an annual limit. For 2024, this limit is set at $22,320. The rules change in the year you reach your FRA, with a higher threshold of $59,520 and a reduction of $1 for every $3 earned above this limit.

    2. Temporary Reduction: A Social Security Advisory Board report finds that only 30% to 40% of those informed about the reduction understand its temporary nature. The Social Security Administration rules mean benefits will no longer be reduced starting from the month you reach FRA and that your benefit amount will be recalculated to provide credit for any amount previously withheld.

    So many retirees these days are engaging in partial retirement or they move in and out of the workforce before fully retiring and that trend is expected to continue. It’s all the more reason to be aware of the potential benefit reduction and the temporary nature of the reduction. A retirement strategy taking these rules into account will help ensure you make the most of your benefits.

    >>Click here to read the full article from The Motley Fool.

    Understanding Homestead Exemptions

    If you own a home in Georgia, you may be eligible for a valuable property tax relief program known as the Homestead Exemption.

    The Homestead Exemption is a program offered by the state of Georgia to homeowners who use their property as their primary residence. It provides relief from property taxes by exempting a certain amount of a home’s assessed value from taxation, ultimately lowering the homeowner’s property tax bill.

    • Primary Residence Requirement: To qualify for the Homestead Exemption, your property must be your primary residence. This means you live in the home for a significant portion of the year, and it is not used as a rental property or vacation home.
    • Assessed Value Exemption: The exemption applies to a specified amount of the property’s assessed value, reducing the taxable value of your home. This exemption can result in significant savings on your annual property tax bill.
    • Application Process: Homeowners need to apply for the Homestead Exemption through the Tax Assessor’s Office. The application typically requires proof of residency and other documentation. It’s essential to submit the application within the specified timeframe to ensure eligibility for the tax year.
    • Financial Benefits: The financial benefits of the Homestead Exemption can vary based on factors such as property value and local tax rates. However, eligible homeowners can enjoy substantial savings on their property taxes.
    • Additional Exemptions: In addition to the standard Homestead Exemption, your county may offer additional exemptions for seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals. These exemptions provide extra relief for specific qualifying groups.

    If you purchased or owned the home last year and it was occupied on January 1st, the deadline to apply for the Homestead Exemption is April 1st.

    As for the property tax payment process, homeowners will generally receive their valuations, have an opportunity to appeal, then have 60 days from the date of billing to pay the bill.

    It’s crucial to stay informed about the eligibility criteria, application process, and any additional exemptions that may apply to your situation. If you have specific questions or need assistance, reaching out to your local Tax Commissioner’s Office.

    Navigating the decision on when to stop driving.

    Driving today is frightening. There is more traffic on the road than ever, people are driving faster, and with mobile devices being used in the car, there are an increasing number of distractions. The result is often deadly.

    Without a doubt, there are people on the road who shouldn’t be driving. When it comes to the elderly, the tough part is that driving represents independence. Most baby boomers don’t like to rely on others to do something they feel they can do themselves.

    Tough Talk

    Seniors today are active, many are employed, they travel and like being able to get around on their own. Many will make small concessions or minor changes such as limiting night driving and avoiding heavy traffic areas. But having an in-depth conversation with them about when to truly relinquish the car keys and give up driving, is tough.

    The discussion around restricting a senior’s ability to drive is so common that it is the topic of a recent Washington Post article, “Will your older self refuse to give up the car keys? Here’s how to plan.” The article points out that nearly 50 million people 65 and older had driver’s licenses in 2021 and nearly 19 million were 75 or older.

    That’s a lot of people on the road who may have issues putting them at high risk for auto accidents. They may have physical limitations, poor vision, slower response rates, or cognitive loss. The key is having a plan and open conversation about how to proceed when the time comes for them to stop driving.

    Tools to Help

    • A driving advanced directive. It will spell out how the decision is made when the appropriate time comes. How the conversation will take place and who will ultimately make the decisions. Many of the advanced directives are non-binding but do create a healthy framework for the conversation.
    • Driving evaluations. There are companies that will evaluate an individual’s driving ability and make a recommendation on whether they should continue to drive. If you’re not sure where to start, check with your insurance company and senior organizations like AARP.
    • Physician recommendations. Often a physician will flag concerns about a senior driving such as vision changes, reaction time, or memory loss – all of which can be particularly dangerous.

    Use the tools available and have a healthy conversation about how to keep your loved ones safe on the road. For more information and additional resources, check out the complete article from the Washington Post (requires email address).

    2024 Changes Affecting Senior’s Finances

    When families come to Atlanta Seniors Real Estate to discuss selling a home, buying a new home, or searching for a senior living or retirement community, one of the first discussions we have is about finances. That conversation will help guide decisions and illuminate the choices they have.

    2024 has brought with it financial changes that retirees will want to be aware of — changes in Medicare, Social Security, taxes, retirement plan contributions and more.

    AARP looks at some of the changes in a recent article which looks at the points below.

    1. Social Security – The cost-of-living adjustment will raise monthly payments by 3.2% and the average retirement benefit will climb nearly $60 a month. (read more about Social Security changes here)
    2. Medicare – Standard premiums for Medicare Part B are seeing a 6% increase to $174.70 a month and the annual deductible climbs to $240. (read more about Medicare changes here)
    3. Retirement Plans – The contribution limit went up $500 so seniors can now put up to $8,000 into an IRA for 2024 including a $1,000 catch-up contribution.
    4. Required Minimum Distributions – It used to be that Roth IRAs were not subject to the required yearly withdrawals while the owner is alive but now that exception will also apply to Roth 401(k) and 403(b) accounts. The age for RMDs went up to 73 last year.
    5. Standard Tax Deductions – If you or your spouse is 65 or older, he deduction for a single filer or head of household is up $1,000 from 2022 and up $200 for couples filing jointly.
    6. Full Retirement Age – The Social Security full retirement age has been gradually increasing and will reach 66 and 8 months later this year.

    >>Click here to read the article in its entirety on AARP.org.

    Homeowner Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

    As the winter chill sets in, protecting your home’s plumbing from freezing temperatures becomes paramount. Frozen pipes pose a serious risk, potentially leading to costly damages and inconvenient disruptions.

    Here are tips we share with our clients on how to safeguard pipes and keep the water flowing smoothly during these frigid temperatures.

    1. Insulate Exposed Pipes: Start by insulating exposed pipes in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Utilize pipe sleeves or heat tape to add an extra layer of insulation, preventing them from reaching freezing temperatures.

    2. Seal Cracks and Gaps: Inspect your home for any cracks or gaps that allow cold air to penetrate. Seal these openings with caulk or insulation to maintain a warmer environment around the pipes.

    3. Keep Interior Spaces Warm: Ensure that interior spaces, especially those with plumbing, are adequately heated. Maintain a consistent temperature, even if you’re away, to prevent drastic drops that could lead to frozen pipes.

    4. Let Faucets Drip: On extremely cold nights, allow faucets to drip slightly. This helps relieve pressure in the pipes, reducing the likelihood of freezing.

    5. Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Hoses: Disconnect and drain water from outdoor hoses to prevent any residual water from freezing and damaging the connected pipes.

    6. Open Cabinet Doors: For pipes under sinks, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate, providing additional protection against freezing.

    Taking these preventive measures ensures that your home’s plumbing remains resilient against the winter freeze. If you have an issue, many plumbing companies offer emergency response. It may cost an additional couple hundred dollars but will be well worth it to prevent further, and more costly, damage.