HOW IT ALL BEGAN
One of my first clients was an elderly lady who not only had a happy experience but who gave me a heads-up on the future.
Year: 2003. I had just established Waterman &Waterman because I saw a need for people who wanted their hands held while buying a house. It can be scary.
"Violet" had a house full of lovely memories after 40 years of bringing up a family in Athelstone.
She was a complete novice, and there were so many distractions.
All she really wanted was to move into independent living so she had a new life with people to enjoy it with and she was really looking forward to moving into a life which looked after her and which she could be more involved.
"What will I do with all of this stuff? The gardens a mess. Agents are knocking on my door. The man down the road wants to buy the place. Should I fix that crack. My daughter got married here. It was such a lovely day".
Waterman: I thought Violet was about to cry.
She was totally overwhelmed and confused on what to do and where to start. Remember, this happens a lot these days with all the millions of Baby Boomers and so much changing regulation that effects the bottom line.
So, without her personally incurring extra cost, I came on board as an adjunct to the selling agent, who paid me a referral fee. I took all the pressure off "Violet", ensuring a professional presentation of her home – which sold very quickly and for 20 percent more cash than she had hoped for. Not only that, but she went on to spend the rest of her days very happily in the new facility. That innovation (thank you, Violet!) became the basis for our Seller Advocacy and Property Clearance services.
Our 4 services are:
• Buyer Agency (doing all the hard work finding and securing properties)
• Seller Advocacy (selecting agents to manage home sales)
• Property & Estate Clearances
• Property Management (taking charge on behalf of Landlords)
Chris Waterman has enjoyed a long career in real estate, starting out with a highly regarded and venerable company, Barrett & Barrett.
His next move was a turning point. Chris rose to become a general manger of a real estate firm, and within a couple of years had built the business from a staff of 22 to 55, including 2 new branches and a rural and commercial arm.
These days, Chris fully understands how to deal with the bouncing ball of downsizing, independent living, aged care and superannuation regulation. And he realizes that many Baby Boomers have very high stakes in property.
Everything – their pensions, their super, savings, health, wellbeing, family – is connected to their homes.
Downsizing looks and sounds easy.
But it can be complicated and wealth destroying.
That is where firms like Waterman Property Advocates can make a positive difference.
We can handle the sale of a house through our Seller Advocacy service. We've fine tuned our methods over a long period of time.
It's been extremely successful, so much that the courts are using our services, as are lawyers, executors of estates, couples divorcing and everyday people who are overwhelmed by it all.
There are lots of traps. Does the money total work out? You can go to areas like Somerton – where my mother lived – and what she would get for her house probably wouldn't buy a replacement with half the amount of land and a new one being built. So, how do you downsize?
You've grown up and lived in an area and sometimes you realise you can't afford to stay in that suburb.
Then there's the emotional part of the family involvement in properties, the emotional part of the gardens and lifestyle, so may factors close to your heart and family.
In fact, people who downsize usually have to change suburbs.
We give people an overview – from selling, to what and where they are able to buy or what they can afford.
I have a fairly wealthy client who's finally come to terms with him and his wife rattling around a big house in an old suburb, after three years of pondering.
We've effectively counselled them though that process, enabling them to confidently buy a smaller home plus a beach house.
Beneficiaries are often in the picture too. That old saying "where there's a will, there's family"
So, we navigate these troubled waters.
In the end, the big demand we see is for downsizing, the clearing up of the house for sale and the managing of the move into the various stages of aged care.
Aged care is a significantly different step to moving into a smaller place or into independent living. I mean, you are actually giving up your independence, you're going into a glorified hospital, and it doesn't matter what they call it.
I have just been through this whole process with my mother who died last year aged 97
When looking after my mum, she was in her 90's, she was legally blind could not hear or swallow. There were many difficult issues.
That elderly lady I helped way back in the genesis of our business did need a lot of help.
What pleased her:
• I did what I said I would do
• I achieved the figures I'd predicted.
The extra money made her life easier – she got much more than expected.
And the fact that I was there to facilitate the whole, rigorous process, made her feel much better about things.
We removed the workload and relieved the stress and enabled her to start her new life.
One of the hiccups of real estate transaction is that many otherwise successful owners can't think straight through the memories and the connections in these circumstances.
What I really did was grab her by the hand and walked her through the pros and cons.
She was very happy in the end, and I remember that to his day.
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