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Anatomy of a home visit

The first step to a stress-free move

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January 4th, 2016
PMC Beth Brandenburg (right) with Wilma DeBoer
PMC Beth Brandenburg (right) with Wilma DeBoer

Beth Brandenburg has one of the most fulfilling jobs on the planet. She has turned moving into a manageable process for the more than 1,100 retirees who now live at Wind Crest, the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

“Beth helps people take baby sips instead of drinking from a fire hydrant when it comes to downsizing and moving,” says Brandenburg’s counterpart, Sales Counselor Molly Thorne-Dhieux. 

You see, Thorne-Dhieux says, “Most people see the benefits of an active, continuing care retirement community like Wind Crest. But they say they can’t move yet because of all their ‘stuff.’ That’s where Beth comes in.”

As a personal moving consultant, Brandenburg doesn’t just facilitate all the steps of a move (she does that, too), she becomes a trusted friend who understands the difficulties and emotions of downsizing. She develops a plan of action and walks hand-in-hand with each person moving to Wind Crest to remove the daunting hurdles that often surround a move.

And she starts with a home visit—a personal house call to get to know the situation of each priority list member. Priority list membership is a risk-free way to hold your place in line for the apartment home of your choice. Membership requires a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a nonrefundable $150 application fee per person. 

Here’s what to expect during your first home visit.

Q: What is the main purpose of a home visit?

A: The main goal is to start moving forward—to help you visualize and plan how to get from here (you or the house) to there (Wind Crest). 

Moving is tough. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting. And I understand that. That’s why I’m here. I understand the challenges and hurdles, and I know how to defuse them in a manageable way. I have moved over 1,100 people through the same process. I have the resources and the experience to get you through it—one step at a time. 

Starting early and taking small steps is the best way to manage a stress-free move. Many people have said this was the easiest move they have ever made because of our process, which starts with a home visit.

Q: At what point in a person’s priority list status do you conduct the initial home visit? 

A: Once you join the priority list, my coordination services are complimentary. That allows me to schedule a home visit, but it’s always up to the customer. Some people want me to come out right away, and others want to wait. 

It’s never too early for a home visit. Whether you want to move in five days or five years, I can come up with a game plan that suits your needs. 

Q: How long does an initial home visit take? 

A: I usually plan for a two-hour visit. Sometimes I have to go back a second time. I see some people two or three times before they move in, and that is completely okay.

Q: What is a typical response from a priority list member after you conduct a home visit?

A: They’re typically really thankful for my advice. It starts a great relationship. They feel more connected to the Wind Crest community and our team because they have another resource in the office to call with specific questions. They feel like I wrap my arms around them, and I do. I really care. 

The home visit is always a very positive experience and the first step in a very positive move to Wind Crest.


Home visit 101: Beth Brandenburg provides your step-by-step guide

Step 1: A conversation

First, we sit down and talk for a bit. I want to get to know you. I truly believe my job is to build a relationship and earn your trust. 

We talk about when you want to move and what’s important as far as choosing an apartment. 

We discuss your concerns. These can be all over the board: selling the house, leaving your neighbors, telling your children, making new friends, fitting in. I love to get those out in the open because I can talk about those concerns. And when we can laugh about concerns, it diffuses any tension or apprehension you may be feeling.

Step 2: House tour

When we tour the house, I’m not looking at how clean it is. I want to see what you’re dealing with so I can help you. I look for collectibles, antiques, and items you want to take with you. This way I know which resources to recommend when it comes time to sort these items.

As we tour the house, I’ll give you advice. For example, when you put your house on the market, remember that you’re selling space, so the real estate agent might advise you to remove furniture pieces from a room. But you also want to think about closet space. Get things off the floor, remove a few coats—create space.

Step 3: Recap

After the house tour, we sit back down to review some of the points we might need to discuss in more detail. That’s when I might suggest a senior move manager, or we might start a game plan for downsizing on your own. It all depends on your needs, your timeline, and your capabilities.

At this point, we may also look at available floor plans so we can start a furniture plan, but this step can come later. Regardless of whether we do it at the initial home visit, I always do a furniture plan once you choose and reserve a Wind Crest apartment home so you know exactly what furniture to bring and where it will sit in your new home.

Step 4: Stay engaged

After the home visit, it’s important to stay engaged with the community. Priority list members have access to exclusive, members-only events. You can meet other people going through the same process. You can meet our moving vendors and see new buildings and apartments. Our priority list members get to see everything first and also have the first choice of floor plans as they become available. It’s an exclusive list of people we hold in high regard.

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