As Baby Boomers look to downsize, they want to be assured they can keep many of the amenities they enjoy. Right now, there are two trends benefiting seniors looking to downsize and move into a luxury senior community.
One of the benefits is that the Arizona real estate market is sizzling. The second is that moving into a senior living community like LivGenerations allows seniors to live out the life they have always dreamed of.
LivGenerations offers unique services at its four Valley communities – Agritopia, Ahwatukee, Pinnacle Peak and Mayo – that cater to the lifestyle of which seniors desire.
LivGenerations introduced Liv Life Concierge service in June. This amenity creates a positive experience that assists in creating new memories during the transition of moving. This feature includes resource assistance with downsizing, offering real estate agents that specialize in working with seniors and other resources to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Paula McDowell joined Michigan-based Liv Communities and its senior community team as a Liv Life Concierge partner as the owner of Enrichment on Demand. Previously to starting her own company, Enrichment on Demand, she was part of the Liv Communities family and now it contracts her services. She spent 5 years as Director and then Regional Director of Vibrant Living for LivGenerations.
“I have held many positions with LivGenerations since coming on as a contractor with Liv, but it was through my time as a Regional Director of Vibrant Living that I learned in great detail what challenges our greatest generation face when downsizing into our simplified, resort-style lifestyle,” McDowell says.
Building enjoyable experiences
By minimizing those burdens, she adds, LivGenerations paves the way for an enjoyable experience. In addition to helping with senior-certified realtors, movers and consignment specialists, LivGenerations has also created a unique program that helps with the emotional task of parting with one’s collections.
As part of the Liv Life Concierge program, LivGenerations has enlisted help from technology and the internet to take some of the sting out of saying good-bye to items that have been collected and treasured over decades.
“I recently videotaped a collector of over 100 nutcrackers as she handed down her collection of holiday heirlooms to grandchildren. We streamed the event through video conferencing to family members who could not be in attendance and then archived the video for posterity to enjoy. It was such a fun event and a new memory was created out of what had been a long-dreaded task of downsizing. Whatever the downsizing obstacle to capitalizing on the current real estate market might be, Liv Life Concierge assistance can help remove it,” McDowell says.
To help facilitate Liv Life Concierge program, LivGenerations has taken a list of preferred partners, senior-certified and downsizing specialists and built a digital portal for internal use for the community teams to utilize. It delivers fingertip access to not only Liv Life Concierge, but also to its sales team and move-in coordinators.
“We are constantly evolving this digital database of experts as we get feedback from our residents’ experiences. In this way we protect our list and our resources remain the best in the business,” McDowell says.
The Liv Life Concierge program and accompanying digital infrastructure was launched at a company-wide sales team meeting. The move-in coordinators of each of LivGenerations’ communities are currently being trained to also assist with transition issues as the encounter them.
They are introduced and given fingertip access to preferred partners and experts through its internal transition portal.
“We take assisting LivGenerations’ residents in this difficult task very seriously and continue to grow our abilities through training and digital tools,” McDowell says proudly. “It is an innovative service unlike any we have seen. Especially with the digital memory capturing of heirloom distribution, downsizing and preparing for our simplified resort style living.”
A local Realtor helps make the transition seamless
In 2019, Carol Phillips, a Realtor with EXP Realty, published a book, “Transitions with Dignity,” after helping many of her own relatives, siblings and friends go through the process of transitioning into smaller homes, independent living, assisted living or even memory care.
Every person’s experience was different, she says, but many of the physical, emotional, and financial challenges were similar. The book served as a blueprint for people and their families to help get through the process. Covered in the book was everything from estate planning and financial planning to how to choose your next “forever home” and then making the move.
“I contacted Sheri Simpson at LivGenerations Ahwatukee to see if she would be interested in hosting my seminars monthly,” Phillips recalls. “She recognized the need to educate others about the process, so I began to give monthly live seminars and monthly webinars about the different aspects of that topic. I interviewed experts in their fields – estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, downsizing – with the goal of educating myself and others so that they can make more informed decisions about their future lifestyle goals. If the topic is real estate related, I will do the seminar myself with the same goals in mind.”
Baby Boomers are some of the best educated, hardest working, innovative, generous, and demanding of all generations, Phillips says. It’s a generation that has solved many problems and created many conveniences that have changed their future forever.
“Many of us have had the opportunity to lead active, interesting, and exciting lives and expect these things to continue,” Phillips adds.
Phillips points out there are several advantages for moving into a senior community such as the LivGenerations at an earlier age, instead of waiting.
“Compare what it currently costs you to live in your current home, to the cost of an independent living apartment. Total all your current expenses: house payment, taxes, HOA, gym membership, insurance, pool service, lawn service, house-cleaning service, electricity, water and trash, groceries, and some entertainment,” Phillips points out.
“When it comes to selling your home, right now is a great time to sell if you know where you want to go. Our current Phoenix real estate market is like no other in recent history. Home values have soared and have increased in value more than 30 percent a year for 2 ½ years. To put that in perspective, a home usually appreciates about 4 percent a year over a 25-year period. Homes are also selling at a faster pace than we have seen in the past,” Phillips says.
Metro Phoenix is one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. and home sales are outpacing inventory by quite a bit. Interest rates are still low by industry standards so those who are borrowing will be able to qualify for a more expensive home.
“For those reasons alone, a senior may want to sell in this market so that they receive full equity from their home,” Phillips says. “However, I would not want to sell without a plan. You will need to know where you plan to live once your house sells and there is not a lot of time to figure it out in this market.”
For these reasons, many Boomers are taking advantage of selling their home. They are also selling other rental properties that they might not want to deal with later. The Liv Life Concierge program is a valuable tool in helping with these options.
“Residents of senior living communities are more independent and younger,” Phillips says. “Some of these seniors still have a job and drive to work. LivGenerations offers unique communities with many amenities. I have noticed that there are more younger people moving into independent living earlier to take advantage of these opportunities while they still enjoy them.”