Having settled in my mind what each of the different categories of retirement living offered, it was time to start selecting properties for the “potential” list. Perhaps the two most important factors to consider are price and location. This seemed familiar to me – and after severals years in residential real estate, it should have.
“Location, location, location,” the old real estate saw, has an silent echo, “price, price, price.” Thankfully my parents have been wise stewards over the year. Certainly, price is a consideration, but we do not have to start there. For many people price is the deciding factor, because it is the only factor that matters. Ruth and George have a little more leeway, so I was able to focus first on location.
Since I’m the primary care-giver, if I had my way, I’d move Mom and Dad to one of the properties close to me. There are three very nice ones just moments away from my home. However, that’s not the only consideration. Mother is a nervous driver, but she still likes the independence of hopping into the car to pick up a prescription. She hopes to stay in her neighborhood, so she’ll have familiar streets to navigate on. Also, her church, her friends and my sister, who also goes to her church, are near her current home.
I absolutely understand her desire to stay in her comfort zone, but there’s one fly in that ointment. Her neighborhood, East Dallas, is older and long-established, so properties there are not, shall we say, state of the art. I live in Far North Dallas, close to Plano, where new properties go up every other day. The choices on my side of town are brand new and considerably more upscale than the choices closer to her. If I could do whatever I wanted, I’d pick up one the newest independent living/assisted living facilities in my neighborhood and set it down somewhere equidistant between the church, my sister and the guy that’s been doing Mom’s hair since Noah left the ark, but that’s not possible.
So, I chose my sister’s house and my house as points on the map and then drew a large oval around them. Anything inside that oval is at least a possibility. Mom may reject them out of hand, but I’ve at least made her aware of them. Which led to the next step, discovering which properties did fit in that circle. I chose the best of the best of the apartments, concentrated on properties that offered both independent and assisted living, threw in a few independent living only places and for good measure added all the continuing care properties. I ended up with thirty-five to forty potential properties to research.
Very satisfied with my progress, I put all my potential properties on an Excel worksheet and patted myself on the back. But I didn’t rest on my laurels very long. Now that I had actual realistic targets it was time to move on to the next phase. It was time to call Mom. What do you think happened then?