A hoarder’s estate can yield treasures and Cash
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Daniel Allen stared in shock after opening the door to his grandmother’s closet. Books, clothing and years of unused Christmas presents filled every inch. Another room was packed floor to ceiling with personal items such as books, photos and news clippings.
“She was a packrat,” said Allen, who was helping his family clean his 92-year-old grandmother’s Waterloo, Indiana, farmhouse after she passed away in March. “It was overwhelming.”
Fortunately, Allen was more prepared than most. As a manager within Wells Fargo’s Estates Services group, he works with families and executors to take an inventory, appraise and dispose of items after a death, so he was able to work through his initial disbelief.
Allen helped relatives sort through numerous items that had either monetary or nostalgic value, such as Polaroid cameras, mixing bowls and costume jewelry. Family members selected what they wanted and other items were packed off to a charity. Farm equipment that had belonged to Allen’s grandmother was sold to offset some of the estate settlement costs.
Like Allen, relatives of extreme collectors or hoarders can be stunned when they enter a loved one’s home after a death. When every surface is piled high with what appears to be rubbish, families are tempted to throw everything away.
That can be a bad idea.
“In the clutter of an extreme collector or hoarder, about 99 percent of the time there’s something there, underneath a pile or hidden in the clutter, that will bring value to the estate when sold,” Allen said.
Kristin Bergfeld, founder of New York-based Bergfeld’s Estate Clearance Service that helps families sort through complex estates, confirmed that. She said she has found jewels sewn into the hems of garments, raw diamonds wrapped up in tissues and at least one rare, valuable book hidden under towels at the bottom of a linen closet.
HARD AND HEARTBREAKING WORK
Television shows like the A&E network’s “Hoarders” and TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” may make it seem like compulsive hoarding – in which people accumulate so much stuff that it clogs their living spaces and impedes their ability to function – is on the rise.
But the disorder has remained fairly constant, affecting between 2 percent and 5 percent of the population, according to Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College who has studied the behavior.
Many other people exhibit borderline behavior – collecting one or a few categories of items to excess, but not actually blocking the pathways in their homes. Informally called “extreme collectors” or “packrats,” they do not fall under the clinically recognized term of “hoarder.”
But that distinction means little to a person pained by the overflowing estate of someone with either proclivity. The psychological pain of deciding what to sell, keep, or give away and what to toss can be worse than the cost.
“It felt like a bit of her memory was being lost,” Allen said of watching his grandmother’s possessions being thrown away.
The financial cost of cleaning a hoarder’s or packrat’s estate can be significant. A professional helper like Bergfeld may charge $100 or more an hour to help sort and sell.
Heirs should also give themselves time to prepare for the psychological aspects of the task and then streamline it as much as possible. There are effective ways to do that:
– Look for valuables. Check in unlikely places, like the backs of picture frames, inside books, throughout closets and in refrigerators and freezers for hidden cash or valuables.
– Document cash and any possible valuables such as jewelry or art that you find. It will have to be itemized and the value declared, said Roland Sabates, manager of tax research at The Tax Institute, a research arm of H&R Block. Objects worth more than $3000 must be appraised by a certified professional, he said, and there are significant penalties for undervaluing an estate and underpaying estate taxes.
– To determine values, check the free online database of 750,000 items at Kovels.com and online listings at eBay.com. You can also hire an appraiser to do an aggregate valuation of all of the personal property in the home. That can cost about $1,000 at $100 an hour, according to Patricia Atwood, a Chicago-area accredited appraiser specializing in antiques and decorative arts.
– Charge expenses back to the estate; that reduces it and can cut estate taxes. (While federal estate taxes do not apply to estates of less than $5.12 million for people who die in 2012, state estate taxes can kick in at much lower levels.)
Executor commissions are deductible, as well as fees for attorneys, tax professionals, appraisers and estate sale experts.
Consider donating items worth less than $100 to a certified 501(c)(3) charity; that can lower the gross value of the estate, and those items may not be worth the time it would take to sell them.
If the estate falls under the estate-tax level, it makes more sense to inherit the household goods first and then donate them yourself. That way you can use the charitable tax deduction to limit your own
KEEP, SELL OR DONATE?
Now comes the hard part: Disposing of the assets.
Ebay Inc’s online auction site is one option, but not for those crunched for time. Plan to spend about two hours per item to photograph it, write the listing, answer questions, package and finally, send it. You also need to factor in fees paid to eBay and PayPal, which vary depending on the how much you reap from the auction.
If you’re selling specialized items, look for other people devoted to the same specialty. There are websites for collectors of everything from model trains to snow globes and Pez candy dispensers.
Keep careful records of the proceeds – remembering to deduct fees – as they add to the value of the estate.
Some charities will agree to take almost everything left in a home, such as cooking supplies and furniture. When using this option, make sure it is a 501(c)(3) charity, and get a receipt.
Another option: Outsource everything. Companies such as Bergfeld’s can clean the house, find appraisers, handle charitable donations and ship treasured items to family members. Fees vary, ranging from about $40 per hour, per worker to pack materials, and increasing along with the duties.
Some banks, such as Wells Fargo, have departments that can handle the same chores. On average, bank departments charge a one-time fee, plus a charge (typically about 3 percent) based on the gross value of the entire estate, a Wells Fargo spokesman said.
The more cluttered the estate, the more worthwhile using a trained professional with a keen eye might be.
“There will always be surprises,” Bergfeld said. Like diamonds in the debris.
Editing by Linda Stern and Maureen Bavdek
“More with Less,” a winning entry by Palette Architecture
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) announced on Tuesday the selection of five New York City-based firms as finalists in the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC design competition for small-scale, urban infill housing. As 6sqft previously reported, the program was organized by HPD and AIANY as a way to address the challenges associated with the design and construction of affordable housing on 23 lots of underutilized city-owned land. First announced by the city last year, the program falls under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan. The winning proposals were selected by a panel of nine jurors and evaluated on their design, replicability, and construction feasibility. The finalists will advance to the final stage of the program.
The city hopes to develop affordable housing on this lot at 829 Freeman Street in the Bronx; via Google Street View
Part of the HNY 2.0 plan involves creating affordable housing on city-owned land that is vacant or underutilized. Last February, the city announced it would hire nine development teams to build 490 affordable homes on 87 vacant lots through its New Infill Homeownership Opportunities Program and Neighborhood Construction Program.
Design entries addressed this tiny lot in Harlem; via HPD
For the first stage of the competition, entrants were presented with the challenge of a vacant lot at West 136th Street in Harlem that measures just over 1,660 square feet with a mere 17 feet of frontage; they were directed to create a design for residential use that can be replicated across various sites.
The five selected designs were chosen from 444 proposals from 36 countries across five continents. HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll said in a statement, “Out of the hundreds of proposals that we received from teams around the world, these five were unparalleled in their use of innovative design to solve for the challenges that have left these lots underutilized.” Below are the five finalists’ designs.
“Mass Green Living” by Anawan/101 + Kane AUD
“Mass Green Living” by Anawan/101 + Kane AUD“Mass Green Living” features five units in an approximately 5,900 square-foot building that includes a multi-use, ground-level common area referred to as the “urban garage.” The submission was selected based on its mix of unit types, its adaptability and the enhanced living experience for residents through smart design features.
The proposal is a collaboration between the principals of two architecture firms: Jeremiah Joseph of Anawan/101 and Ted Kane of Kane AUD. Jeremiah Joseph of Anawan/101 said, “Our idea of the Urban Garage creates an extension of each apartment into shared areas, combining and elevating everyday uses with more dynamic social gatherings, making a place where everyone is included, and everyone shares.”
“Greenfill House as Garden” by Michael Sorkin Studio
“Greenfill House as Garden” by Michael Sorkin StudioThe design features seven units in an approximately 4,430 square-foot building with a stepped-back façade creating a terraced effect. The submission was selected based on its ability to provide plentiful outdoor spaces that contribute to residents’ experience, its clever use of space and its comprehensive use of sustainable features to minimize the building’s environmental footprint.
Michael Sorkin Studio is a New York City-based global design practice that specializes in both urbanism and green architecture. Principal and Founder Michael Sorkin said, “‘House As Garden’ investigates from scratch a typical situation in New York: the evolution of the row house into a multiple dwelling, a conversion full of problems. Our proposal offers the most advanced – Net Zero – environmental performance, a habitat for new and shared life-styles, greatly enhanced daylighting, new and economical construction techniques and materials, and active community involvement – via employment and training – in filling these waiting gaps in the fabric of the city.”
“Fold and Stack” by OBJ
“Fold and Stack” by OBJ“Fold and Stack” features five units in an approximately 5,540 square-foot building organized around an interior courtyard. The submission was selected based on the design’s intelligent use of modular construction, its successful use of double-height spaces within a compact footprint to create a vertical community, and its successful integration of design techniques that address light and ventilation through an interior courtyard that also encourages social interaction.
OBJ is a collection of four architects that currently work for Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in New York City and Olson Kundig in Seattle, Washington. The team members have a combined 25 years of experience working on a variety of projects internationally including the recently constructed The Shed in Hudson Yards.
“We’re excited to be participating in the future of NYC housing,” said Merica May Jensen, Partner at OBJ. “As New Yorkers, we asked ourselves, ‘what do you do when you have limited space?’ You fold and stack! The double-height ‘stacked’ unit is easy to reconfigure on a variety of sites – meaning the small lots are no longer design obstacles, but design opportunities.”
“Only If” by Only If Architecture
“Only If” by Only If Architecture“Only If” features seven units in an approximately 4,900 square-foot building. The submission was selected based on its use of innovative built-ins to produce compact yet functional appealing spaces, its ability to provide seven units that range in size from micro to two-bedrooms within a small footprint, its variable façade treatments, and its ability to exemplify how intentional design can elevate a traditional row house in a familiar yet unique manner.
Only If is a New York City-based design practice for architecture and urbanism founded in 2013 and led by Adam Snow Frampton, AIA, and Karolina Czeczek. “For the past several years we’ve been examining the specific and cumulative potential for housing on New York City’s irregular, narrow, and leftover land, both through our exhibited research, but also through a 13’-4” wide house now under construction in Brooklyn. Our proposal draws on this expertise and, to ensure its feasibility, strategically avoids the infrastructure of larger buildings,” said Only If Principal Adam Frampton.
“More with Less” by Palette Architecture
“More with Less” by Palette Architecture“More with Less” is a 3,700 square-foot building that features two units, one of which is a co-living space with four individual rooming units. The submission was selected based on its ability to provide a model for co-living that demonstrates intelligent consolidation and organization of different types of spaces, the way public and private spaces intersect, and for serving as a good example of how a small lot can accommodate modern housing trends.
Palette Architecture is a full-service, New York City-based design and architecture practice founded in 2010. “Our proposal seeks to economically house residents in contextually scaled developments. By promoting shared resources and flexible spaces, we strengthen community, maximize the number of residents we can serve, and minimize construction costs. The result is an alternate form of living that can help the city address the ongoing need for housing,” said Partner at Palette Architecture Peter Miller.
The selected finalists will receive a $3,000 stipend, get the chance to participate in workshops and be featured in an exhibition hosted by AIA New York at the Center for Architecture that will be open from August 1st through the Fall of 2019. HPD and AIANY will help form development teams and aid finalists in developing their submissions into site-specific proposals. HPD will then choose one or more stage II development proposals to be developed for affordable housing on city-owned land. Sites designated for development will be announced in November of 2019. You can find out more about the finalists and their designs here.
Tags : affordable housing, Big Ideas for Small Lots, Center for Architecture (AIANY), housing new york 2.0, HPD, New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development
There is no doubting Hong Kong’s reputation as the world’s most expensive city to own a house in. But halfway across the world in the town of Mussomeli, in central Sicily, residents are selling abandoned houses for €1 (US$1.12) each.
People may see it as a cruel joke, but Valeria Sorce, a property agent in Mussomeli told the Post that more than 100 houses in the town’s old quarter were indeed being sold as advertised on the website, www.case1euro.it.
“All houses – big and small – are on sale for €1,” Sorce said, adding that some of the houses were as large as 300 square meters (3,229 square feet).
According to a Demographia International Housing Affordability Study from January, a family would on average need to save up for 21 years without spending a single dollar to afford a home in Hong Kong.
Source said that the owners had moved to a newer part of town and did not wish to pay annual property taxes for the abandoned homes that could top €350 (US$392) for a 100 square meter 1,076 square foot) abode.
Many small towns in Italy are emptying out rapidly as residents move to work and settle in cities.
Because of this growing phenomenon, many of them have adopted measures to attract more residents.
China’s millennials look to pool savings as property soars even further out of reach
Gangi, another Sicilian town, began giving away homes for free in 2015, on the condition that buyers redevelop the property within three years.
The actual cost of owning a house in Mussomeli, a predominantly Catholic town, will eventually rise as the buyer will also have to pay other fees, which may range between US$4,000 and US$6,450, according to reports.
There are other riders too. Reports say that anyone buying these abandoned homes has to renovate it within three years or lose their deposit of some US$8,000.
According to Sorce, the town’s municipality has yet to decide whether any deposit was required to buy a house. But she did say that buyers would have to bear the cost of refurbishing homes, which could range anywhere between €20,000 and €100,000 (US$22,398 and US$111,989).
Chinese property buyers flock to Thailand during condominium glut
“It is not a ghost town; we have hospitals, schools and even a big Lidl supermarket here,” she said. “There are pubs and restaurants; you can find a lot of things to do. This is a peaceful and quiet town. You can relax here.”
The agent said many foreigners already own houses in Mussomeli, including Americans, Britons, French, Belgians and Australians.
“We have a Chinese resident here, but he’s a long-time resident because he works here,” Sorce said, adding that she does not typically receive many inquiries from Chinese buyers.
“We once had South Koreans visiting our town and taking a look at the houses but they did not buy in the end.”
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Ways to Develop Multiple Streams of Income
There are many wealth management professionals who encourage people to have at least seven streams of income. When you’re able to maintain a certain level of financial freedom, it changes your whole life. It can also change your family’s financial experience in the future. If you’d like to transform your family’s financial experience into an extremely positive one, consider the following ways you can develop multiple streams of income.
If you’re trying to invest money into a side hustle without another consistent stream of income, it’s going to be very difficult. This is why it’s important to have a consistent flow of active income. A full-time or a part-time job can fall in the category of active income. If you’re working consistently to trade time for money, this is considered active income. It’s also best to put a lot of effort into working on active income streams when you’re younger and have the energy. You’re not going to work well into your old age. At some point, you’re going to want to retire. This is why it’s wise to set up systems of passive income when you’re younger. They’ll work for you over the years.
Stock Market There is a lot to consider when you’re looking at developing an income stream through the stock market. You’ll want to make educated decisions. You can use the stock market to increase your income, but it’s wise to remember that the stock market isn’t the same as a slot machine. When you’re well-versed in the stock market and do the necessary research, you can make calculated decisions based on facts versus chance. The same concept applies to the foreign exchange market, mutual funds and bonds. Read a lot of books related to the types of investments you’d like to make. Take courses. Gain wisdom from trusted professionals who have demonstrated their expertise. Businesses
If you’d like to develop more income streams or generate an unlimited amount of income, you’ll need to take a closer look at what businesses can provide for you. If you choose to invest in a business as a silent partner, you’ll get the benefits of earning money without having to do a lot of decision-making or daily tasks. If you’d like to start a company as an entrepreneur, you’ll probably work a lot more. However, there’s no salary when it comes to being an entrepreneur. You get to decide how much you earn. It’s your job to focus on making sure you provide an excellent product to the marketplace. As a result of fair pricing and genuine interest, you’ll be able to earn a large income. As you develop strategies that work within your business, you’ll also want to consider multiple avenues of income within your business. Affiliate income is one example
Affiliate Income When you generate affiliate income, this happens when you recommend a specific product and earn a commission when someone makes a purchase. Truthfully, most retailers have an affiliate program. When you sign up to become a part of the company’s affiliate program, you’ll get a code. This code will be embedded within the affiliate links you share with various people. As they make the purchases, you’ll earn the commission. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a business owner to utilize this option. You might decide to start a blog and recommend specific products within your blog. As your readers check out the links and make purchases, you’ll benefit. At first, the idea might sound pretty minuscule. However, those commission checks add up over a period of time. When you’re consistently sharing value with your audience on a blog, social media or in person, it’ll benefit your bottom line in a major way.
Real EstateThere are so many interesting avenues to consider when you’re looking into real estate. You can choose the wholesale option. You can also become a real estate investor. When you purchase your first home, you can keep as a rental when you move to the next home. If you choose to keep your first home, you can fix it up to make it attractive to potential renters. As your tenants take care of your mortgage, they’ll end up paying it off for you. Once the mortgage is paid off, the home serves as an asset that can be passed down within the family. At this point, any rental income is going straight to other assets or expenses.
Truthfully, when you look at some of the best side hustle ideas, they’re birthed out of passions people had or needs people wanted to fill. When you’re able to connect your calling or passion with a need in the marketplace, you’ll fill a gap and provide value. In business, the one with solutions will always stand out. If you want to earn multiple streams of income, make sure you do what it takes to stand out from the crowd and get the results.