Buying a home is one of the most significant investments people make in their lifetime. Leaving that home after decades of collecting memories and belongings is one of the most challenging decisions they face when they reach their golden years. Jillynne Fields is a nurturer by nature, and as an agent for Keller Williams Advantage Real Estate, and Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®), she has devoted this chapter of her life to helping clients answer the question, “What does life look like next?”
A former minister’s wife for 20 years who served as a pre-planning specialist for a funeral home before earning her real estate license, Jillynne is a partner with Nathan Back in The Downsize Team, which works with clients who are experiencing a life transition, whether it be for health reasons, or because they are empty-nesters whose home no longer fits their lifestyle.
“Perhaps your children are grown and are no longer at home, and you have reached or are nearing retirement age. Maybe you have a physical limitation, or a sudden health problem, that necessitates moving to a condo or house that is more conducive to your current stage, or an assisted living facility,” Jillynne said. “No matter the reason, downsizing represents a financial decision, but also a powerfully emotional time because, in many cases, people have lived in the home for 30, 40 or 50 years; they raised their families there, and now they are confronted with a life transition that can be overwhelming.”
These reasons, Jillynne explains, are why she is passionate about working with individuals and families enduring this challenge.
“I know first-hand what it means to downsize,” she said. “I lived in a house in Oakwood and raised my children there, and then I decided to sell that home and move to a smaller place in the Oregon District. Whether you are making the decision for yourself, or if you have senior parents you are caring for and must make that decision, it can be stressful, and you might not know where to turn or what to do.”
Jillynne founded The Downsize Team to help her clients beyond just the real estate transaction. She has a network of associates that include professional organizers, estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, handyman service providers, moving companies and senior community locators.
Many people nearing retirement devote an abundance of time and effort into planning for money-related issues, and insurance and long-term care. Deciding on where you’ll live as you age often takes a backseat during retirement planning.
Whether you would like to age in place (remain in your current home), downsize, or move to a senior community, dealing with real estate transactions and choices can be a confusing maze to negotiate, even for experienced home buyers.
An SRES agent understands the need to plan ahead and the challenges that face seniors as they age with regards to balancing finances, mobility, health, and personal needs.
“I consider myself more of a care coordinator than a Realtor alone because I have sympathy and compassion for people who are faced with the realization that the place they have called home for so many years either no longer meets their lifestyle, or is no longer an ideal place to be because of their physical challenges or serious health issues,” Jillynne said. “By devoting the attention to helping clients with their needs beyond the transaction alone, we as a team are able to help the transition proceed more smoothly, which makes the new chapter a more comfortable adjustment.”
For more information about Jillynne and The Downsize Team, visit www.thedownsizeteam.com.