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Too much of a good thing

Severn couple discovers huge house equals huge headaches

Created date

March 22nd, 2011

Three years after buying their dream house, Carlton and Barbara Butler decided their four-bedroom, four-bath, 2,000-plus square foot house was really more space than they needed or wanted. So they began their search for a new home one that better suited their retirement lifestyle. That search started and ended with Charlestown, an Erickson Living community located in the heart of Catonsville, Md.

Supersized to rightsized

We got to talking about how the house was really too big for just the two of us, says Mr. Butler. Our kids are all grown and we were looking ahead to when we would need to start replacing things like the roof or furnace. We decided we just didn t want to spend our time worrying about that stuff anymore, he says. When searching for their next home, the Butlers didn t have to look far. A few years earlier they had visited Charlestown and joined the priority list. After our first visit, we were hooked, says Mr. Butler. The more we heard about Charlestown, the more interested we were. Once we visited the community and saw what they had to offer, it just reinforced our thoughts that it was the right time to move, says Mrs. Butler. We attended an open house and saw how they were combining some of the smaller apartments into larger apartments. We liked what we saw and decided then that we would put the house on the market and see what happens. In August 2010, the Butlers turned to Personal Moving Consultant Vera Ballard and Erickson Realty and Moving Services, a program that combines a variety of moving services and resources into one comprehensive, personalized program for people moving to an Erickson Living community. We met with Vera and she came out to our house, says Mrs. Butler. She looked around and gave us some advice on how we could downsize and get the house ready to go on the market. She also made suggestions on things we could do like decluttering and little tricks to make the house more sellable, she says.

Added incentives

The Butlers also took Ballard s advice when it came time to select a real estate agent. We decided to go with a real estate agent Vera recommended for a couple of reasons one was convenience. We thought it just made sense to choose someone who knew the ins and outs of Charlestown and was already familiar with the community and the moving process, says Mr. Butler. The other reason was the money-back incentive Charlestown offers for using preferred real estate agents and movers. Charlestown s Move On Us program refunds new residents up to $2,000 in expenses for using Erickson Living-preferred real estate professionals. Real estate agents Rob Skudrna and Lou Bivona of Long and Foster s Reisterstown office listed the Butlers home. The Butlers had a few advantages going in, says Skudrna and Bivona. They were situated on a nice corner lot; they staged their home and worked hard to have it ready from day one; and they downsized and decluttered before listing their house, which ultimately helped show the size and quality of their home. In the beginning, they faced low buyer turnout and competition, but the right staging and price put them ahead of their direct competition and they sold their home after only 50 days on the market. I feel like we definitely made the right choice, says Mr. Butler. Our house was so big we never used all of the rooms. Our apartment home on the other hand is just the right size. It s spacious. We don t feel cluttered. We re on the fourth floor with a nice view. And best of all, we don t have to worry about the maintenance. It s just wonderful!