Glenn Shelhamer the founder of Senior Sales Expert and broker of Shelhamer Group, Inc
Glenn Shelhamer

Senior Real Estate Specialist ®

Team Lead SG

William was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease a few months after Carol, his wife of forty-six years, passed away.

Their adult children knew this day would come but didn’t imagine it would be today.

Carol, the family glue, advocated getting family affairs in order. Years ago, an estate planner attorney drafted a trust and end-of-life instructions naming their eldest daughter Kimberly the executor and beneficiary.

On paper, everything was clear, no rock was left unturned. Kimberly knew her responsibilities, but simultaneously, it was as if a glass vase shattered into a million pieces, seemingly impossible to put back together. 

Nothing could be said to make it all the better, but I did manage to offer peace of mind. We formulated a plan that took shape and ultimately became a guiding light, not an oncoming train.

The following day we met on a Zoom video conference with her two siblings, Josh and Sean. They had plenty of questions and concerns we managed to rationalize. Josh and Kimberly have families of their own - emotions were high. The conversation hopscotched between logistics and stories about their parent's youth. 

"Kimberly decided to book the next flight to L.A."

If you or a loved one is considering senior living communities can help guide you through the process.

The SRES® designation is specifically designed for REALTORS® who are committed to serving the unique needs of older Americans. With this certification, our professionals are equipped with the knowledge and expertise needed to effectively navigate the real estate market when dealing with the sale, purchase, relocation, or refinancing of residential or investment properties.

By obtaining the SRES® designation, REALTORS® are well-prepared to provide mature clients with the most relevant and up-to-date information, empowering them to make informed decisions that can greatly impact their lives.

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"Once William was safe and settled, our focus shifted to selling the family home. The plan was to aim for top market value by following our proven systems and plan. This begins with a SRES® Senior Real Estate Specialist. "

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"They aren't that bad at all." - William

We learned about a reverse mortgage on the family home. This was a practical financial solution when Carol was alive. The loan product allowed them to convert part of the equity in the home into cash without having to sell the house or pay additional monthly bills out of pocket.

The conversation kept circling back to William requiring extra care since the Alzheimer's diagnosis, but is it too soon for a memory care community? 

“Dad is an ornery, opinionated old man better left on his own,” mumbled Sean, loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

The kids moved away from home years ago—a noticeable tension brewing between Josh and Sean, a bit more than typical brother rivalry. There was an air of disapproval I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Carol had been William’s caretaker and did a fine job filling in the necessary blanks throughout his day. William cannot tell you his address, telephone number, or what was on the menu for breakfast. Still, he can articulate in grave detail what it was like cutting through the Atlantic Ocean on a battleship, the smell of his wife’s perfume, or how he took his children to the same park nearly every Sunday for years after church.

Kimberly decided to book the next flight to L.A. 

The following morning I met her at the family home. Thick leaves and brush covered most signs, so if you didn’t know where you were going, you wouldn’t have been able to find it. A traditional house perched up on a soggy Los Feliz hill. It was overwhelming to think about all the packing and sorting that had to be done before the move even took place, let alone getting her father on board with a memory care community. Everything, all of the tasks seemed like moving targets.

This was a larger house with a lot going on. Maintaining a spacious property is a challenging task. Imagine doing it in your old age.

Retirement is supposed to be a period in a person’s life when they can finally step away from all responsibilities and enjoy peace. However, that might not be as easy as it sounds if you have a large house to upkeep – especially if your children are long moved out, and you have little or no help. 

Shipping boxes collecting dust in tall stacks and the smell of wet dogs and mothballs. We were touring the dining room when creaking floorboards announced William’s arrival.“Hello,” William said as if framed as a question. His hand was warm and rough - firm grip—a petite-framed man. 

Piercing grey eyes hid unsuccessfully behind dirty lenses. “You see that picture over there,” he had said, waving his arm around like an air traffic controller. “That one right there.” Suddenly it was as if we were old pals. 

We toured the rest of the property with William in tow. Taking story breaks when appropriate or reintroducing myself when necessary. We learned about William’s time serving on a BB-56 Navy battleship in WW2 and later when he was introduced to Carol, who became his loving and devoted wife and mother to his children. 

By the end of the meeting, we decided a garage sale was smart. Getting rid of the items and clutter that no longer serve William will create space for clarity and focus.

Phase 1 

Find William a loving new home

William has Alzheimer's disease and deserves a customized therapeutic activity plan based on his unique needs and interests. Experiences can quickly switch from mundane to memory-making if you are in the right environment.

Here is a checklist of what we did next:

  1. Our cleaning crew - prepared items for sale, donation, or disposal.
  2. Introduced estate sales 
  3. Review Family Trust
  4. Schedule Senior Community tours
  5. Hire relocation services
  6. Relocate William 
  7. Fix-it items at the family house
  8. Garage sale + donations to religious and sober living
  9. Junk & haul away
  10. Handyman work
  11. Staging and landscaping
  12. Marketing 
  13. Showings/negotiations
  14. Inspections
  15. Escrow process
  16. Closing/sale

We scheduled a half dozen senior community tours providing for those living with Alzheimer's and dementia in Los Angeles, including exclusive memory care communities.

William decided Silverado was the best fit. They offer an innovative concept in memory care called Nexus. It supports an active, brain-healthy lifestyle for individuals with early stages of dementia.

At the end of the day, older adults experience joy and purpose when engaging in meaningful activities designed to support a quality of life. 

Phase 2 

Preparing the family home for sale

Once William was safe and settled, our focus shifted to selling the family home. The plan was to aim for top market value by following our proven systems and plan. This begins with a SRES® Senior Real Estate Specialist. 

Like in phase 1, we manage logistics, including moving parts which may be complex. Selling real property isn’t easy, and we can make it simple. 

Several retrofitting items must comply with the government point-of-sale requirements before a sale can occur. Kimberly’s folks had their affairs in order, so delays or additional legal document filings with building and safety or the superior courts weren’t necessary to sell the house.

Most realtors need to be made aware of these steps. As a result, escrow can be delayed on the closing day, and the title transfer or other problems can arise that cost the seller money and time.

Once we understood the budget, we put each dollar invested in a renovation for the highest return. This time we whitewashed the interior of the home with a fresh coat of paint. Painting is an inexpensive choice that commands a bang for the buck.

Next, we changed light fixtures, pulls, and knobs. Curb appeal jewelry go a long way when it's done tastefully. We make smart neutral choices that seem to disappear. The property and house should talk to you and tell a cohesive story that’s easy to understand. Individual elements should work together telling that same story.

To stay on top of things Kimberly, Josh, and Sean shared a private Drive folder in the cloud. I updated the message board when there was an Event or Action. There weren’t any surprises. 

After the renovations were finished Kimberly completed the seller disclosure package including the (TDS) Transfer Disclosure Statement and (SPQ) Seller Property Questionnaire. In addition to the (CAR) forms California Association of Realtors Shelhamer Group proprietary document (MFRI) puts the buyers on notice to everything you know to be true and correct about the property including improvements. 

We now had a clear understanding of the property condition and have organized our findings in a simple disclosures package with a Report for Receipts - a checklist for individual reports and disclosures in the folder. This strategy makes it difficult for buyers to return with their hand out for a credit or a price reduction. 

Next, we oversee lifestyle staging and a professional magazine-quality photoshoot. We track a twenty-day marketing blitz, including three public open house weekends and two broker open houses. Private toured showings for individual pre-approved or cash buyers. Everyone curious or interested in the real estate market will see your property for sale and have an opportunity to tour. 

In a nutshell, this marketing process gives you as a seller leverage and ensures we get into escrow with the right buyer. We understand your loved ones need every nickel out of the sale. Rest assured Shelhamer Group will not leave money on the table.