How to hire the right estate cleaning service

boxes packed for an estate clearing and move with unpacking after the move

When faced with the departure of a loved one, there is a period of acceptance. During this period, you want the transition to be less stressful and emotionally hard on the rest of the family. However, there are certain legal and financial matters you have to take care of. One of those matters is the obligation to clear the home of the deceased. In such a case, the less emotionally involved you are, the better. If you want to make this transition as painless as possible, opt for estate clearing services that can do the job professionally, with no strings attached. If you think this is the best choice for you but wonder how to hire the right estate cleaning service, we can help with a few valuable tips.

Clearing house estates is a complex process

If you think about the number of things people acquire during a lifetime, you might feel a little bit overwhelmed having to clear the house of all those possessions. Before even deciding to hire professionals, you have to understand the process. Estate clearing should involve a whole team of people who are assigned to different tasks to do a successful job. Sorting through all the personal belongings, making home inventories, packing, transporting, and shipping items are a few of them. There has to be excellent communication between the estate clearing service provider and the client for a complete clear-out. The clients are the ones who ultimately decide on the level of involvement, and the professionals are there to make the process as straightforward as possible.

A proper estate cleaning service can ready a home for sales as part of the estate settlement

Before you can sell the house or apartment, you need to clear it from all personal belongings

Benefits of hiring estate cleaning professionals

One of the advantages of choosing estate cleanout services to assist you is to emotionally detach yourself from the situation. In most cases, people opt for cleanout services after losing an elderly member of the family. Many choose not to get too emotionally involved with the personal belongings left after the person has passed. And with good reason. If you are emotionally involved, you might lose focus and make fewer objective decisions on what to keep, what to donate, and what to sell. As a result, you might find yourself taking not only the family albums and heirlooms but items that don’t even have a sentimental value.

a messy garage means that declutter is needed

Having professional assistance in clearing heavily cluttered rooms is essential

 

In all that clutter, you might feel more stressed than you expected. So, invest some time in finding ways to remove stress from household junk removal.  One of the ways is undoubtedly giving the job to trained professionals who don’t have an emotional bond with the things they need to clear. They will go through the possessions, sort unwanted items, items for donations, items for recycling, something to sell, and things to dispose of. If needed, they will consult with you on valuables and family heirlooms they find, but otherwise will do a quick and efficient home clearing operation, leaving you more time for healing and spending time with your loved ones.

Wondering how to hire the right estate cleaning service is perfectly normal

You might be having trouble deciding on a particular estate clearing service team to partner with, given all the emotional distress you are experiencing. The best way to look for the right people is through word of mouth. If some of your friends, colleagues, or neighbors had the assistance of a reliable and reputable team, be sure to ask them for a referral. You can also search the web for positive reviews and testimonials of satisfied clients. Reading personal stories from people who were once in your situation might seem like something you don’t want to do. However, it may prove to be helpful to get a clear picture of what to expect and what to seek from professional cleanout services. After all, you will be hiring someone to take care of your loved one’s personal belongings, so investing some time in finding the right company for the job is something you ought to do.

Prepare before hiring estate cleaners

To have a successful clearing estate experience, you have to prepare. A good starting point is to go through the documents first. Sort out any legal documents you need to keep and move along to valuable items and items that have sentimental value. When you have acquired all the belongings you deem useful and want to keep, look for a good storage provider where you will keep them. Then, you can locate things you would like to sell and set those aside as well. Pack some of the items you want to keep or sell and transport them to safe storage. Label each box and make sure all boxes are properly sealed. Once in storage, your belongings will be secure and easily reachable if and when you decide to act on your decision to sell or use.

packing and unpacking is an important task of estate clearing with clearly mark boxes to identify content

Once you are sure on how to hire the right cleaning estate service, you can begin the preparations

After you have gone through things you want to keep or sell, you can call estate clearing services and acquire a quote. State the rooms you want to clear and give the estate cleaning service team precise instructions on what to do with the rest of the items. You don’t have to have all the answers. These trained professionals who deal with decluttering and organizing every day will undoubtedly suggest how to deal with electronics, recyclable items, unwanted furniture, and similar.

Time to make the decision

When you feel confident that you know how to hire the right estate cleaning service, you should do it. Use the time to spend with your family and friends, and leave all the daunting tasks to trained specialists. Don’t hesitate to acquire the needed assistance because clearing another person’s house can be more than you can handle. However, if you still feel reluctant to let strangers in your loved one’s house, you can research ways to make the job less stressful for yourself.

 

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Moving Management: Organizational Tips for Staging A Home to Sell

staging a home for sale is part of the tasks a clear path executes through is senior move management processIf selling your home is on the horizon, here are some moving management and organizational tips to help you stage for a quick and successful sale.

Moving can be a stressful process, particularly when it comes to selling a home. With summer on the horizon and so many looking for new homes across the country, staging has become more important than ever. When potential buyers enter a home or virtually tour photos on a real estate listing platform, they not only want to see a future there, but they also want to be sure that the space is clean and organized. A tidy home can make it sell for more money as well as attract more buyers. While hiring a moving manager or home organizing services can take some of the work off your plate, there are ways you can both organize and show off the space yourself, too. 

Organize the exterior 

The first impressions of most homes on the market come from the outside, which makes a neat, attractive exterior all the more important. Any red flags on the outside of the home can send a buyer in the other direction before even entering the house. That said, fresh landscaping, flowers, groomed trees, and any paint touch-ups can make a home look brand new. This will also hint to buyers how dedicated you’ve been in terms of maintenance, inside and out. Outdoor furniture, a freshly sealed driveway, or an updated porch can help the home sell faster and for more money. 

Highlight home office space

to help declutter a home office use the professionals at a clear pathIn this new age of remote work, home offices have become staples to everyday life for many. Creating a designated, productive workspace can help a buyer who works from home see their lifestyle fitting with the house. Keep in mind that professionals prefer certain aspects of a home office, like natural lighting, storage space, and distance from heavily trafficked areas of the house. You can also stage a multifunctional space that can serve as a home office, craft room, laundry room, or spare bedroom. 

Cut back on furniture

Believe it or not, some of a home’s most valued furniture pieces may not be beneficial throughout the staging process. Extra end tables, coffee tables, or chairs can make the space look cluttered and claustrophobic. Remove these to open up the space. Avoid putting furniture in front of focal points like fireplaces or built-ins so they’re easily visible and accessible. When choosing which pieces to keep or stow away, think about buyers walking through the home and how easy the space is to tour. 

Coordinate closet space

Organized closet space is a high priority for many buyers. Before they tour the bedrooms, remove any unnecessary articles of clothing and other clutter to make the closet appear larger. Add shelving where necessary to maximize the space, and stage with storage bins or compartments that show visitors how it can be efficiently organized. Shoe racks, drawers, and over-the-door storage can also help buyers see how much of their belongings they can store in the closet. Don’t forget to keep the home well-ventilated for great air quality and a fresh aroma for in-person tours.

Deep clean

A tidy home isn’t as effective without a deep clean. A major factor that turns buyers away from homes for sale is cleanliness. It indicates how well you tend to the home, and is instrumental in the visitors’ experience. Cleaning every square inch of the home is vital before allowing a home to be photographed or toured in person. Dust or scrub every square inch from the floor to the ceiling so that buyers will have no critiques. Also remember that pets, their toys, or their furniture can store some unpleasant smells that a handful of buyers will disapprove of, so be sure to take those out of the house and eliminate any pesky pet odors.

De-personalize 

While staging, be sure to reduce the amount of personal items in the home. Family photos, mementos, art projects, personal hygiene items, andstaging a home is one of the task that can be handled by A Clear Path as an A+ accredited by NASMM senior move manager clothes can all add to a cluttered home. Not only that, but having these items visible can make it very difficult for buyers to imagine the home as their own and connect to the space. Instead, fill some of the space with neutral decor, books, plants, etc. Arrange any built-in storage, shelving, or wall space with items that illustrate how the space can be used, while leaving it a blank canvas for potential buyers.

Hire a professional

If you’re inexperienced when it comes to moving, thankfully, there are a number of moving and organization experts that can make the transition smoother every step of the way. To make the process easier, here are some examples of professional services you can use:

  • Packing and unpacking services: carefully packing items, trash removal, delivering packing boxes and materials, etc. 
  • Senior moving specialist: guiding your downsizing/transition while catering to the special needs of your senior loved one
  • Estate clearing: providing itemized lists of keepsakes, shipping items to family members, selling valuable pieces, etc.
  • Virtual organizers: online sessions with organization experts to tackle your home one room at a time

Conclusion

Selling your home doesn’t mean simply listing it on the market and hoping for the best. It takes a lot of thought and hard work throughout the staging process. Maintain an organized home, take advantage of experts, and consider some of these organizational tips for an efficient home sale.

How can we help you?

Photo Credits: Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash; Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash; Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Clearing Chaos: Estate Sales

a beautiful estate should be handled carefully by a trusted fiduciary

As a professional fiduciary working on behalf of seniors or persons with mental or physical disabilities, you are legally and ethically bound to put your clients’ interest ahead of your own, with the duty to preserve trust and good faith.

Since the majority of your clients probably don’t have any family members to protect their money or healthcare needs before or after they pass on, you are ultimately responsible for the actions of anyone you hire to assist with managing their needs. And that’s where professional estate clearing services come in handy.

Benefits of Professional Estate Clearing Services for Fiduciaries

If anyone you hire improperly handles your client’s property, you can be surcharged by the court for losses. Fiduciaries are often faced with complicated family dynamics, and you must serve as an independent third-party entity to keep your clients safe and their assets protected.

If you often encounter challenges with estate sales amidst family conflict and stress, a professional estate clearing service provider can help ease the pressure. So, here are a few ways a moving company specializing in estate clearance can help you free up the property for sale while ensuring comfort and peace of mind for your clients.

1. Clearing Chaos

In most cases, you may need to move an elderly person or a person with a mental or physical disability from a home packed to the ceiling with a lifetime of mementos and valuable objects into a one-bedroom condo.

Estate clearing services help you with decluttering, chronic hoarding, and downsizing for seniors and their families. By allowing an experienced moving company to work on comfortably relocating your client, you’ll free up time to focus on your fiduciary duties of bettering the life of your client.

Whether it is an inherited family home that needs clearing or your client is downsizing to a new life, estate clearing services can save you the headache associated with moving seniors or persons with mental incapacitation.

2. Sorting, Organizing, and Categorizing Possessions

Many seniors, and persons with cognitive or mental health issues, often develop emotional attachments with their possessions. An experienced estate clearing agent will handle all your client’s possessions with respect and care, and assist with sorting, organizing, and categorizing items that your client wishes to keep from the stuff that needs to be donated, sold, or disposed of.

A trusted professional will go through every envelope, file, box, book, bag, and clothes to find treasurers, stocks and bonds, money, titles, checks, and insurance papers.

Depending on your preference and availability, an estate clearing agency can run an estate sale or set up a consignment shop or online auction for items too valuable to donate. Alternatively, estate clearing can help you arrange for pick-up of certain valuables by a charity of your choice.

find a sr. move manager for organizing and de-cluttering to complete a senior downsizing3. Preparation of a Home for Sale

Allow a professional estate clearing service provider to free you from the burden and stress of decluttering a home for sale, so you can function better, feel better, and enjoy life fully. The process often begins with a free assessment meeting to discuss your goals and establish a viable plan of action.

With your approval, the company will provide a written estimate and start the process. Full disclosure, honesty, and confidentiality are the cornerstones of a reliable estate moving company.

Ultimately, a clean, clutter-free house is relatively easier to sell. Estate clearing services can help you de-clutter, thoroughly clean, and re-arrange the furniture to enhance traffic flow. The shift in energy from dark, stagnant, and stuffy space to a bright, clean, and clear space will automatically attract buyers.

4. Relocation and Downsizing with a Touch of Love

Moving, especially for seniors and persons with disabilities, is one of the top three stress factors in life. Relocating from a home you have lived in for a lifetime can be traumatizing. Memories and emotions can keep you and your loved ones from making sound decisions. Whether your client is moving to a smaller home, hospice, retirement community, nursing care center, condo, or even another family member’s home, an estate clearing company can help.

Save yourself the stress, time, and money by hiring an estate clearing company to declutter and sell all the things your client no longer needs, so you can focus on your fiduciary responsibilities.

Contact A Clear Path for a One-call Process!

At A Clear Path, we take full responsibility for sorting, organizing, cleaning, disposing, and selling all the property in your client’s home. We also offer services to address trash, e-waste, shredding, and even toxic waste.

If you need to sell tangible personal property, ask about our online Estate Sale Auctions. Our goal is to alleviate any stress associated with choosing the right vendor for such detailed and delicate tasks. We can also help you settle the estate expediently for clients who have either passed on or are in the midst of a transition from their regular homes into assisted living facilities.

We are able to roll our fees into Escrow to pack, organize, and unpack your client’s possessions and manage the entire moving process. Contact us today for more information about estate clearing services and how we can help you clear chaos as you focus on overseeing the health care or finances of your clients.

 

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Moving Management: 6 Common Selling Mistakes

Deciding to sell your home is a significant decision requiring time, energy, and considerable financial preparation. When one decides to put their home on the market, there are many considerations and sometimes tough decisions to make but remember there are certain ways to make the selling process a bit more smooth. Here are a few moving management tips and common mistakes to avoid when listing and selling a home. 

1. Incorrectly pricing your home

Arguably the most important part of the sales process when selling your home is determining a price point. The price you set for your home can depend on a variety of different factors such as timing, location, neighborhood comps, and interest rates. Pricing your home too high is risky, even if you are selling in a favorable market. For example, pricing much higher than the true market value could lead to problems during the appraisal process or could send a red flag to buyers if it sits on the market too long. Conversely, you may consider pricing lower than market value to draw attention to your home or to start a bidding war. While this can work in some cases, remember that this strategy could end up backfiring if not done properly, so always do your research ahead of time to yield the best outcome.

2. Not having the correct paperwork in order

There is a significant amount of preparation involved when selling, so getting organized and preparing all necessary paperwork ahead of time can lead to a more smooth process when it comes time to sell. Here’s some paperwork to have prepared ahead of time:

  • Loan information 
  • The deed
  • Your original sales contract
  • The title report
  • Your homeowners’ insurance policy
  • Maintenance and repair records
  • Property tax information
  • Utility bills

Additionally, it could be helpful to have a copy of the survey, especially if you have a large piece of property or if you have fencing or obscure boundaries on your land. Also, if you are including appliances in the sale of your home, try to look for any warranties or user manuals to serve as a resource for potential buyers.

3. Being inadequately insured

When you are preparing to sell your home, don’t overlook the importance of carrying adequate insurance policies. Even though evaluating your current coverage might seem like a daunting task when you inevitably have a significant amount of other items on your to-do list, it is nonetheless an important piece in guaranteeing that you are adequately protected. For example, if you have made significant improvements to your home leading up to putting it on the market, look back into your homeowners’ coverage to ensure the policy is sufficient. For instance, if you installed a new gourmet kitchen to attract buyers but only have builder’s grade coverage in your current policy, consider updating this amount to reflect your home’s improved value while you are still an owner.

Whether you are downsizing or upgrading your home after you sell, it can be helpful to re-evaluate your financial situation to determine if your needs are going to be changing. For example, some may consider updating their life insurance coverage if selling their home will significantly change their new obligations. This is why it can be helpful to use a cost calculator to have a better understanding of how costs could change should you consider obtaining a new policy when entering this new chapter. Term life insurance tends to be a more affordable option and provides your chosen beneficiary with a lump sum of funds if you were to unexpectedly pass away. If you are moving to a home with a higher monthly mortgage payment, this could be an added consideration. 

4. Not budgeting for moving management costs

While you most likely have a grasp on the price point you are looking for in a new home and have a general idea of what you are hoping to sell your current home for, remember not to overlook some of the additional costs associated with moving. In addition to the standard costs of selling a home such as lawyer fees and realtor commissions, there are also additional fees to account for when selling your home. These could include the cost of using a reputable organizing company, cleaning fees, scheduling movers, and repairs that need to be made after the inspection. 

5. Not showcasing your home’s features

When you’re ready to put your home on the market, take some extra time to ensure that you are highlighting and displaying your home’s features. For example, making sure that you have quality pictures taken of your home can make a difference when attracting potential buyers. Depending on your situation, staging your home or virtually staging your home could also be a wise investment if you already have moved out all of your furniture. Having a staged home helps potential buyers take mental ownership during their showing because seeing furniture helps them picture what their life could be like living in your home. Additionally, consider making certain upgrades to your home such as painting the walls a neutral color or enhancing the curb appeal to appeal to a wide audience of buyers. 

6. Not having a moving management backup plan

When selling your home, having a backup plan is key to save you from any potential headaches during the process. In particular, buying and selling a home at the same time can be a challenge, so having a solid plan is critical. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • If you sell sooner than expected, where will you stay while you look for a new home for yourself? 
  • Is it possible to have a contingency in your potential deal to allow for time for you to find a new home? 
  • Are there short-term housing opportunities in your area and will you need a storage solution if you are in between housing? 

These are all things to think about when selling your home but also looking for a new residence as well. 

When selling your home, it can be helpful to prepare for the unexpected. Each situation is different, so being both mentally and financially equipped to handle any surprise situations that may come up can help you during this time. 

 

My Kids Don’t Want It- Now What?
Estate Settlement: Tangible Personal Property

By: Regina Lark, Sheri Samotin, Noelle Valentino

When downsizing, there are many precious items that need to be organized with great care

There are many challenges to dismantling an estate – from recovering important documents and hopefully avoiding probate, to deciding what to do with elegant (but worthless) tchotchkes and table linens. The size and scope of some projects can be daunting, even for the most dedicated of adult children, who likely have too much stuff in their own homes to tackle the clear-out of their parents’ household. There are so many moving parts, and often requires a team of experienced, dedicated professionals who work together to settle the estate and get the home ready for sale. An estate attorney, a realtor, and a good handyperson ought to be part of the team. 

Dealing with the contents of the property is a different matter. Three professionals: a private fiduciary, an appraiser/valuator of tangible personal property, and a company that specializes in de-cluttering and downsizing, walk us a through their process to dismantle an estate, and the considerations that must be made when helping a family going through this process. 

How to Get Started: Build Your Team

Sheri Samotin, Private Professional Fiduciary, LifeBridge Solutions

One of the most frequent comments I hear in my first conversation with a prospective client is, “I’m overwhelmed.” If the prospect is the family member indecluttering and organizing means that everything will be put into a proper place and can be easily found. charge of administering a trust or estate, they have many unfamiliar tasks to handle. Sometimes, I am my ownDocuments need to be organized professionally uasing a checklist to insure all are in place “client” if I am serving as a designated trustee or administrator. I must make the magic happen regarding clearing and distributing the personal property in accordance with the trust and/or will.

After I have reviewed the relevant documents, it’s time to lay out my strategy. Typically, the first step is to go through the home to locate any valuable items that could “grow feet” and disappear. Those items need to be secured. In addition, we search every nook and cranny for any papers that might be needed to support prior tax returns or to help us file a return. In one recent case, we

thought the decedent was a single man. In fact, when going through his papers, we learned that he had been briefly married as a young man and that the marriage was annulled. Sometimes we are looking for information related to the “family tree” to make sure everyone who is legally entitled to notice receives it. At the same time we are going through the paper, we make “shred” bags for documents that don’t need to be saved but require proper disposal.

Once the paper monster has been tamed, it is time to get an idea of the value of the personal property. 

Valuing Tangible Personal Property, Appraisal and Disposition at Auction

Noelle Valentino, Fine and decorative arts specialist; household contents appraiser, John Moran Auctioneers & Appraisals

More often than not, the bulk of the value of an estate’s tangible personal property can be found in just a handful of items. It is important to engage a specialist early in the process to identify the items of significance before they are claimed by relatives, given away, donated, or worse. A qualified tangible appraiser will produce an inventory of household contents, or a formal appraisal report, depending on the needs of the estate. The intended use of the document must be disclosed in the report: equitable distribution, charitable donation, estate tax filing, or something else. 

A Clear Path can coordinate the valuation and selling of collections as part of their organizing serviceFor IRS purposes, estates approaching the exemption limit will require a household contents appraisal. The IRS defines art broadly: jewelry, paintings, silver, rugs, decorative objects and more. Outside of tax regulation, there are often issues that arise due to family reasons and an estate appraisal may be recommended to avoid later conflict. For the purposes of distribution among beneficiaries, it is helpful to discuss a minimum value threshold with the appraiser. A fair market value of several hundred dollars is often a good starting point for an object’s inclusion in the report.

Appraisals are considered legal documents and can be relied upon by an attorney, the court, or the IRS. Selecting a personal property appraiser who is USPAP compliant, with membership in one of the three preeminent appraisal organizations, is imperative. Qualified appraisers in your area can be located on the websites of the Appraisers Association of America, International Society of Appraisers, or American Society of Appraisers.  

When considering the eventual disposition of assets from an estate, an auction house can also be helpful in identifying the items of greatest value in the home. With the intent to secure new consignments, they will provide free auction estimates. With that said, auction houses are likely to include only the items valued over $1,000 and appealing for bidders in today’s market. Note well that an auction estimate does not take the place of an appraisal. It is however, an advisable sale venue for estate property due to its the broad reach and rapid mode of sale, together ensuring fair market value has been achieved.

When the ‘good stuff’ is gone… Now what? 

Regina F. Lark, Ph.D., downsizing and organizational specialist, A Clear Path, LLC

The typical household contains thousands of pieces of tangible personal property. Every room has stuff – some rooms have more stuff than other rooms. Drawers and cupboard and closets are filled with flatware, dishes and clothes. Even if considerable downsizing had already happened, there’s no getting around this fact: we all have to deal with our clients’ stuff.  

To get the job done in an efficient and timely way, look for a professional organizing/downsizing company with access to a broad range of resources to complete the dismantling of an estate. Find out what they know, and who they know, when you ask these questions: 

  • What does your business liability cover? 
  • Do you have a project management fee? 
  • Are you able to ship items across, or out of, the country? 
  • Have you encountered a hoarding situation? If so, how do you handle the massive volume of ‘stuff?’
  • Do you have the ability to sell what the auction house doesn’t want? 

After the auction house reviews and removes what I call the “big ticket” items, the remainder of the household contents can be photographed (to attach to donation receipt), packed-up, and hauled to the nearest non-profit. If removal is all that’s required, a good downsizing company can have the estate cleared and ready for the realtor to put on the market.

Another option is working with a traditional estate sale company. They usually spend two weeks tagging everything in the house, around the yard, and in every kitchen drawer.  Many estate sale companies charge a percentage of the sale’s gross profits. For example, if the company charges 40% of gross profits and the sale yields $10,000 then you will owe the company $4,000. Be sure to ask about any additional services such as trash removal, post-sale clean-up, etc. If the estate is thick with clutter, does the estate sale company address that, too? 

Over the past couples of years, online estate sale auctions have become wildly popular, and MaxSold, a Canadian company with a robust platform, has generated a large footprint in the United States. The concept is simple – an organizing team catalogs every item in the house into what are known as “lots,” distinct groupings of one or more items sold at auction– creating lots of lots! The sale is live online for 7-10 days and every lot begins at $1 (yes, one dollar). The bidding is particularly fast and furious on the final day of bidding. The ultimate split is 70% to the estate and 30% to Max Sold. If a fiduciary hires a team of professionals to dismantle an estate, it will likely come close, break-even, or make money on the sale of the remaining tangible personal property, and quite often, offset the cost of their service.

Conclusion: 

Due diligence regarding the estate’s personal property is an important aspect of fiduciary duties. Sentiments tend to run high when it comes to the “stuff.” Suspend bias and remain objective with assets you are unfamiliar with, calling in experts where appropriate. Moreover, encouraging your clients to update their estate plans ahead of time, including a review of existing appraisals with personal property assets, as this can prevent later confusion. Proactive steps in identifying items of value and having a working plan for the disposition of tangible personal property can mitigate the risks and avoid family conflict, or a professional headache.

Using a Checklist before downsizing will create an easier less stressful move