Since 2007, the Erickson Realty and Moving Services program has helped thousands of people make seamless transitions to Erickson Living-managed communities across the nation. Understanding that the prospect of moving can be overwhelming, Erickson Living, a national leader in developing and managing continuing care retirement communities, created a network of resources to help future residents simplify their moves. These unique moving resources include everything from selecting a local real estate agent to partnering with a trusted senior move manager.
Erickson Living's Sharon Baksa talks moving resources
Sharon Baksa is Erickson Living's director of talent development programs and national program manager for Erickson Realty and Moving Services. In this interview, Baksa discussed with the Tribune how the senior moving assistance program is adapting to the current situation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, through the use of technology, as well as tried and true personal touches. She also details the current real estate market, which is more robust than many perceive.
Tribune: With various social distancing guidelines in place around the country, how are personal moving consultants assisting people who want to move to an Erickson Living-managed community?
Baksa: By staying connected as people practice social distancing! Some of our personal moving consultants have been sending customers care packages with books, cards, and even tape measures for those who want to stay on track and move soon. Others have been hosting Zoom meetings with reservists and priority list members, for planning discussions or just friendly chats about their day over a cup of coffee.
As always, our sales teams continue to share their expertise on preparing their houses for sale, complete with timelines and to-do lists.
Tribune: How is technology being used as part of the Erickson Realty and Moving Services program?
Baksa: The personal moving consultants utilize their smartphones and tablet devices to conduct virtual tours of available and reserved apartment homes for priority list members and future residents. Because we spend a great deal of time learning about customer preferences, we monitor apartment home availability—they can be reserved over the phone now. This gives incoming residents time to plan accordingly.
Our new residents can use their digital devices as well to give us a tour through their house, so we can learn more about the furniture they would like to bring to their new apartment home. Remotely, we then measure room sizes, "space-plan" their furniture, and send a completed floor plan to them. We even offer 3-D views.
Tribune: Can you provide a few examples of how preferred vendors interact with customers?
Baksa: Our preferred partners—real estate agents, senior move managers, downsizers, and more—are just as eager to communicate with priority list members as we are. They are using social media to share recipes, provide engagement ideas during social distancing, and show houses virtually.
For those who have already reserved an apartment, our network of preferred real estate agents is sharing "Coming Soon" listings on their websites and social media platforms to gain interest and multiple offers.
They also host virtual house parties to showcase a new listing on Zoom. They've even used drones to share full interior and exterior views of properties. We've seen that buyers and sellers need not leave their kitchen tables for a sale to occur. All transactions can be accomplished via drive-through signings or electronic signatures.
Our senior move managers and moving partners are also hard at work, using electronic devices and phones to keep customers on track for scheduled moves. We can accomplish downsizing and move estimates virtually, avoiding needing to be with our customers in their houses until move day.
Tribune: You receive feedback from informed moving and real estate sources across the nation. How would you describe the current housing market?
Baksa: I have spoken with many of our partners, including Maureen Campbell, senior vice president for Premier Transitions Senior Relocation Services. We're learning that projections for real estate sales in 2020 are extremely positive despite the economic challenges we are currently experiencing as a nation.
With a shortage of listing inventory and an explosion of online real estate searches by buyers spending more time at home, there could not be a better opportunity to sell your house.
Vacating homes prior to listing—once thought to be a negative—has now become a tremendous advantage. Because online camera appeal and pricing are so critical in this environment, our team's expertise in market appeal, research, and analytic data is more valuable than ever.
Finally, Millennials looking for their first houses are enjoying low interest rates. The industry expects this to be a seller's market as streamlined processes benefit all parties involved.
Tribune: Why is now a good time to move into an Erickson Living-managed community?
Baksa: Recent months of sheltering in place have given us all the opportunity to ponder our futures. Many seniors have realized the importance of having great neighbors to rely on and vital services at their fingertips. Fortunately, our communities offer both.
People are moving into Erickson Living-managed communities and enjoying creative social interaction, bountiful meals delivered to their doors, and health care that's on campus, if needed, in a safe environment. Residents may have been apart, but they were never alone. I think that's why so many people are already inquiring about how they can become part of one of our close-knit communities, for the tangible convenience of quality amenities and services and the intangible benefits of friendship, support, and peace of mind.
Let Erickson Living's moving services help you!
If you have your heart set on moving to an Erickson Living community, but are worried about what this entails, rest assured. Our moving services provide help with downsizing, help selling your home, and more—making it easy to fulfill your dream of retiring to a safe and welcoming place with world-class amenities. This unique service is just one of the many things that sets Erickson Living apart from the rest!