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Signs Pointing Toward Improvement in Senior Housing Market Throughout Country and in Pennsylvania

April 13, 2012

Ann's Choice Active Retirement Community One Example, Which Shows Sales Increases in Several Key Areas - Including Settlements and Occupancy Rates 

WARMINSTER, PA - As the real estate market looks to rebound throughout the country, parts of the northeast and even here in Bucks County, there appears to be one bright spot that is illuminating positive growth - the senior housing market.
As Baby Boomers and seniors search for housing, there is a true boon in rental rates at senior communities throughout the region.
According to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry the year over year rental rate percentage climbed 1.2% from 2011 over 2010 for senior housing, and is currently at 88.2%, which is encouraging.  However, right here in Bucks County, at the Ann's Choice active continuing care retirement community in Warminster, the current occupancy rate far exceeds this national average.
For example, after the first quarter of last year, the occupancy rate was 95.5%.  Now, it is even higher one year later at 97.7%.
There are several factors that contribute to this spike in number, namely, there are more older adults selling their houses in the Bucks County region in an effort to move into senior communities.  Also, they are aided in the selling process with incentive-driven programs offered to them like the ones offered by Ann's Choice.
"Ann's Choice provides its clients with many different opportunities that assist them in making a transition from a house to a home," said Deborah Olcese, the community's sales director.  "We have several programs that give our customers the competitive edge by helping them sell that house that they have lived in for many years.  One such incentive features our popular Erickson Realty & Moving Services program, which is led by Colleen Rosica, our personal moving consultant.  Colleen visits with clients, offers them advice on how to sell, connects them with preferred realtors who know the market, refers clients to home stagers, downsizers, 'de-clutterers', movers and other moving professionals.  She literally holds the customer's hand throughout the entire process."
"Many older adults are finding they no longer own their home, but rather their home owns them," Colleen said.  "Staging, downsizing and de-cluttering offers seniors a chance to begin anew and position their home in a positive light where they can receive fabulous responses from the real estate market."
On Thursday, Ann's Choice held a "staging" event where client members of the public witnessed first-hand strategies on how best to prepare a home for sale.
Real estate professionals setup a mock room on stage that contained "gaudy" furniture that could resemble what someone's house may look like, who has lived in it for 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years.  A professional "stager" then closed a curtain and did some magic
After approximately 20 minutes, the mock "room" was transformed into a beautifully designed space that would appeal to a buyer's eye in today's market.  Tips were given to the audience on what they can do to sell their home.
Some tips offered to those trying to sell, include:
• Start Small.  Don't overwhelm yourself.  Downsize small spaces first, like closets and guest rooms.  Slowly work your way up to larger, more time consuming projects, like basements and garages. This will give you the chance to organize, de-clutter and depersonalize prior to your big move.
• Stick To a Schedule.  Write down your goals on your calendar along with the dates you plan to complete them.  As simple as it sounds, putting your goals in writing will make you twice as likely to complete them.
• De-clutter closets to make them appear larger.
• Remove unnecessary personal items from countertops.
• Re-arrange or store furniture to accentuate space.
• Organize Your Items Into Five Categories:
1. Keep your keepsakes.
2. Throwaway the junk.
3. Donate unwanted items.
4. Sell unwanted items.
5. Not Sure- You can always come back
• Follow The One Year Rule.  If you're not sure about an item, ask yourself when was the last time you used it?  If you haven't worn it, used it, or thought about it in more than a year, it is probably time to say goodbye.
• Make a Clean Break!  Don't let your "throwaway" and "donated" items sit around in the house for more than two weeks.  You may be tempted to revisit them.
"This is a very exciting time for us," said Joseph LoCascio, Ann's Choice's executive director.  "We have not just created homes, but living experiences for seniors so that they can enjoy their freedom years.  Our community is based on providing its residents with financial freedom, an active and engaged lifestyle and a multitude of health and wellness opportunities.  We are encouraged by the rebound in the real estate market, which may offer more and more seniors with plenty of positive housing options so that they may live life to the fullest."
More than 2,000 people live at Ann's Choice, an Erickson Living full-service retirement community that promotes a vibrant lifestyle.  Erickson Living develops and manages 16 full-service retirement communities that provide worry-free living for America's seniors - the country's fastest-growing population segment.  Erickson Living's refundable entrance deposit and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind. Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into every community, lead to demonstrated resident benefits.  For more information, visit