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Taking the plunge

Tewksbury couple discovers downsizing and moving not nearly as challenging as they imagined

Created date

April 17th, 2018
Ralph and Nancy Bonney pose in their home at Brooksby Village

Ralph and Nancy Bonney sold their home of 50 years in Tewksbury, Mass., and moved to Brooksby Village, an Erickson Living community in Peabody.

For Ralph and Nancy Bonney, the decision to move to Brooksby Village was akin to a day at the beach.

First, they stood on the shoreline and admired the ocean. Then, they dipped their toes in the water before venturing in up to their knees. Finally, they took the plunge.

“With each visit to Brooksby, we felt more comfortable,” says Ralph, a retired electrical engineer. “We started to get the assurance that we could do this. We could downsize and move and start enjoying all that Brooksby has to offer.”

Gathering information

Prior to moving to the Peabody, Mass., Erickson Living community in February 2017, Ralph and Nancy lived in their home in Tewksbury for 50 years.

“We got an invitation in the mail to visit Brooksby for a luncheon,” says Nancy. “A week or two before the luncheon, we did a drive-by of the community to see what it was like. The first thing we noticed is its size. Brooksby is a big campus.”

At the luncheon, Brooksby’s sales team gave guests the opportunity to tour a number of apartment homes.

“As we were walking between apartments, the residents we passed in the halls were just as friendly as they could be,” says Nancy. “Everyone smiled and said ‘hello.’”

When Ralph and Nancy received a second invitation to visit the community a month and a half later, they were eager to accept.

“We were more prepared on our second visit,” says Ralph. “We knew what to expect. We also appreciated the information from the sales team about all the resources that exist to help prospective residents make a move. That second luncheon got us thinking a little more seriously about a move.”

Erickson Realty and Moving Services is one of those resources. The program is designed to assist future community members with all aspects of moving, from downsizing to choosing a real estate agent to helping with furniture placement in their new apartment homes.

Laurie Phillips, personal moving consultant at Brooksby, provides complimentary coordination of moving services for anyone moving to the community.

“I can help you with your move,” says Phillips. “I’ll visit you in your home, and we’ll develop a personalized moving plan to help make your move as seamless as possible.”

Moving ahead

By the time Ralph and Nancy visited Brooksby for the third time in fall 2016, they were ready to join the priority list, which is the first step toward becoming a community member.

Priority list members put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit, plus a $150-per-person nonrefundable processing fee, to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice.

Ralph and Nancy also scheduled a home visit with Phillips, who came to their Tewksbury home to determine how she could best assist them throughout the move.

“By that point, we felt like we could do it,” says Ralph. “Laurie gave us a game plan. After her visit, downsizing didn’t seem nearly as overwhelming. She gave us some great tips to get started.”

Phillips told the couple to first consider the furniture pieces they wanted to bring with them to Brooksby, instead of focusing on what they wanted to throw away. This step helped the couple identify the floor plans that could best accommodate the items they wanted to bring.

“We looked at two-bedroom apartments because we wanted to use the second bedroom as a den,” says Nancy.

Ralph’s wish list also included a balcony.

“Our home in Tewksbury sat on over an acre, and we liked the wooded feeling,” says Ralph. “I wanted to maintain that connection to the outdoors.”

When the couple saw a two-bedroom, one-bath, Kingston-style apartment home with a balcony overlooking an outcropping of rocks and natural landscaping, they knew they’d found the perfect place.

“We felt at home as soon as we walked in the apartment,” says Ralph.

Sold in a day

Ralph and Nancy listed their Tewksbury home with their granddaughter, who was just embarking on a career in real estate, at the beginning of February 2017.

“We had our first open house on a cold and snowy Sunday,” says Nancy. “I didn’t think anyone was going to come, but when Ralph and I returned home after the open house, our granddaughter said the home had been packed with people.”

The couple received five offers that evening and accepted one over their asking price.

“I thought February was going to be a terrible time to list a home, but it sold in less than a day,” says Nancy. “It floored me.”

Once the house sold, Ralph and Nancy’s move started to accelerate.

“Everything moved quickly,” says Ralph. “Once again, Laurie gave us some great pointers. The closet space in our new apartment was just about half of what we had in our home, so Laurie suggested we pair down our clothing by half. We let go of items we hadn’t worn in years and brought the clothes we actually wear.”

Settling in

Now that Ralph and Nancy have lived at Brooksby for a little more than a year, they say their life at the community is everything they had hoped it would be.

“We meet different people every day,” says Nancy. “We feel as though we’ve widened our circle of friends.”

The couple also takes advantage of the community’s amenities. Ralph volunteers in the on-site television studio, which produces more than 50 hours of original programming each month, and Nancy tends flowers and vegetables in her garden space in one of Brooksby’s community gardens.

“Everything fell into place,” says Nancy. “For anyone who’s wondering if they can downsize and move, it’s not nearly as hard as you might imagine.”