Answers for Elders Podcasts: Real Estate 55 Plus

Founder and CEO Juli Anne Gibson, of Real Estate 55 Plus, sat down with me to discuss the specializations required to market and sell homes for seniors in transition. While real estate often has cycles and busy seasons, adult children with seniors in crisis means that her team of agents stays busy year-round. Juli Anne has excellent information on what distinguishes this segment of the market, provides seminars to seniors and their families to work through the process of selling the family home, and advises on the right questions to ask real estate agents in order to find the right fit for you.

Selling a family home is emotional, at best. Trying to find the right home for a parent in the middle of a health crisis, financing the move, readying a home that may have been owned by the same person for more than 50 years, and working through the emotional attachments thereof requires a very specialized real estate agentReal Estate 55 Plus is not just another agency. Rather, they look for seasoned agents with specialty markets and areas (real estate is hyperlocal!) and with a passion and background for working with seniors. Then, they provide specialized coaching and consulting to help agents work through the financial, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of a transaction for seniors and their families. Real Estate 55 Plus also works with and recommends contractors who can do roofing, HVAC, painting, staging and other necessary repairs and updates. These are contractors who have worked with them well in the past, offer discounts to seniors, or will allow payment after escrow, realizing some seniors do not have funding up front for the repairs necessary to sell their homes.

Juli Anne and her company also provide workshops to seniors and their families who are wanting to be proactive with their future living arrangements. The three Aging With Choice workshops offered are (1) What’s the Right Sized Home for My Life? (2) What Do I Do with My Stuff? and (3) Embracing the Change!

Another great piece of advice is on the questions to ask when interviewing real estate agents. Some of her top questions to ask include (1) Do you know [your particular] area? Keep in mind, you want an agent who not only knows the comparables in the neighborhood, but also one who has good relationships with buyer’s agents in the area. (2) With how many seniors have you worked? Remember, 90% of homes are sold by 10% of agents. So time in the business does not equal success or experience. (3) How well do you understand the distinct transition and transaction of seniors? (4) Ask for references from past clients! Then call them. Ask previous clients any questions or concerns you have about the entire process and experience. Other people’s testimony tells you more than anything.

For more solid advice and information from Juli Anne, listen to the podcasts.

Contact Real Estate 55 Plus at 1-800-964-1553 or email Juli Anne at Find them online at

For more information and resources for caregiving, go to



Answers for Elders Podcasts: Team Zugel

Jaden and Valicia Zugel graciously joined me to discuss several aspects of realty as it relates to aging and caregiving. Married for more than 10 years, they have two delightful children and live down the road from each set of parents. Jaden has been in realty since  2003, while Valicia joined more recently. Jaden and Valicia have a passion for working with families to help make real estate decisions. This passion is deeply personal for them both, as they each experienced a grandparent who needed care. I sat down with them to discuss some trends and issues in realty and senior living, including multi-generational living, aging in place, and transitioning our senior loved ones effectively and efficiently.

Valicia’s grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s. To honor him, and the sacrifices made both in her family and in Jaden watching his mother invite her own mother into their home to live and care for, Team Zugel donates $100 from every house they sell to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Multi-generational living, aging parents co-habitating with adult children and their families, is a relatively new trend in America, increasing by a whopping 30% from 2007-2014. What started as a financial necessity is now a choice many families are making. And people in the real estate business are taking notice. Some builders are now, essentially, building two homes in one. Features may include dual master suites, doorways and hallways already widened to code for wheelchairs and walkers, ground floor master rooms for the older generation, easy accessibility, and fewer stairs. Assets like this from the beginning make staying or returning home easier as it becomes necessary down the road. Asked when the right time to move into a multi-generational home, Jaden replied, “Before you have to.” Benefits to this living arrangement can include grandparents helping with children, cleaning, or cooking, while adult children are able to manage their parents’ health, go to doctor’s appointments and provide safe transportation. This lifestyle shift, common in other parts of the world, can also bring deeper appreciation for one another.

Aging in Place, staying in your home in your twilight years, is another aspect with which Team Zugel can help. Instead of considering selling the family home as “downsizing,” Jaden prefers to think of it as “right sizing.” Reducing the amount of time and money maintenance takes, lowering property taxes and limiting the square footage to what is actually used makes sense for a lot of families and allows loved ones to live out their remaining years at  home instead of in a facility. There are senior communities which provide single family homes (as opposed to retirement center apartments) but offer therapists, doctors, and transportation all within a small radius. Other ways to age in place include using smart technologies such as monitors, fall sensors, water temperature controls and automatic shut-offs on appliances.

Moving your parent to or from a home can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Selecting the right realtor can help manage tricky aspects of transitioning seniors such as evaluating multiple offers (with the current housing climate.) Determining the buyer with the right financing and the right offer (i.e. making sure the home will appraise) is important. A realtor that can assess and recommend low-cost changes to maximize profits, such as updating fixtures, painting, or replacing worn or dated carpet is so useful. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or feel that an entire gut job is necessary when it may not be needed.

Valicia and Jaden have many excellent tips and ideas. For more, listen to their Answers for Elders podcasts.

To reach them for you or your senior loved one’s realty needs,  contact them at

For more information and resources for caregiving, go to