Dick and Kay Biery have long enjoyed life in Kansas City—the arts, the culture and the architecture. Now that they are retired and ready for new adventures, keeping up their large home near the Plaza has become increasingly time-consuming.

However, downsizing, and moving on, is a huge step. Also, this type of move seemed like an overwhelming challenge.

“Our home is definitely more space than we need and was getting to be too much for us,” Kay says. “We have considered this decision to downsize for a while but wanted to stay close to the area. We didn’t know where to start to find something that could meet our needs. Also, the thought of going through a lifetime of treasures, possessions and books seemed daunting.”

For their first step, the Bierys met with Willy and Stacy Nelson, owners of Midwest Heritage Homes, a local real estate team that helps people “right size” their home. They are affiliated with Keller Williams Platinum Partners in Lee’s Summit.

“We weren’t ready to move just yet, but we knew we needed to start somewhere. We met with Willy and Stacy, who asked lots of questions and listened,” she says. “We discussed likes and dislikes, goals and concerns. After our meeting, it was clear that they could help us through this process, one step at a time. And that made it seem easier.”

Kay also started attending the Senior Symposium Series offered by Midwest Heritage Homes. Each month they host educational meetings with expert panelists focusing on the unique and complex housing related issues facing mature homeowners and their families. Some topics covered have been estate liquidation, aging in place and 55+ living options.  

“As we became more comfortable with the idea of moving, Stacy set up appointments and met me at communities to give me an idea of what was available,” Kay says. “Because Willy and Stacy had asked so many questions and paid attention to what we were looking for, she was able to direct me to our next home. This community is in the prebuild stage, so we were able to pick our floor plan and placement.”

Another service offered by Midwest Heritage Homes is a client care manager that helps people with editing, organizing and preparing for the move. They also help get people settled after the move.  

“If we choose this option, by the time the building is built, we will be ready for our new adventure,” Kay says.

“Because a move like this can be daunting, the more we can help, the easier it is for our client and their family,” Stacy, Midwest Heritage Homes co-owner, says. “Many people have lived in the same house for decades. They have raised their families there and made a lifetime of memories. Selling that house can be much more complicated than a basic real estate transaction.

“People considering downsizing can be overwhelmed,” she says. “Overwhelmed individuals often don’t take action or—worse yet—take unnecessary actions. Armed with education and adequate support they become empowered. Empowered people create manageable plans and take action.”

Stacy began serving seniors in 2002 as the developer and director of a senior loyalty program offering education, entertainment and travel. In 2016, she joined her husband, Willy, in his real estate practice, believing she could continue to serve seniors. She now directs the division of the team devoted to helping downsizing homeowners.

“There may be 45 years of memories in the home—that’s a lot of emotional attachments. The house itself has meaning,” she says. “Late-life moves can also affect the entire family. It can be difficult for adult children to see their family home go.

“Many people have adult children who do their best to help, but because they may have limited time, they want to do it fast. Things may get thrown out or sold without regard for their meaning. The families are well-intentioned, but it can leave parents resentful at the end of the move.

“It’s interesting to watch educated professionals who are moving an aging parent. Sometimes these grown professionals become kids again and need emotional support too. Other times, the kids take charge over the parents with little regard, and that is difficult too.”

Navigating a successful late-life move takes expertise that goes beyond the usual real estate transaction scope.

“Most real estate agents are trained to focus only on the sale of the home,” Stacy says.

As certified senior housing professionals, Willy, Stacy and their team take a complete approach.

“We decided to approach our real estate practice by addressing both the emotional and the physical needs of mature clients and their families,” she says. “That meant hiring staff to help manage the tasks with which our clients have difficulty. That’s why we added a client care manager. There is a ministry aspect to it.”

From supporting the clients in their decision-making process to organizing the finer details of the move to prepping and selling the family home, and liquidating remaining personal items, Midwest Heritage Homes is a one-stop solution.

“When a homeowner hires us, they get the support of a whole team for one price,” Stacy says. “We come fully-equipped with both sales and client care experience.”

Many seniors are afraid to be taken advantage of by moving companies, estate liquidation companies or contractors–and in some cases, rightfully so.

“We have vetted a number of reliable local vendors and have arrangements with them so that our clients aren’t overcharged,” Stacy says. “There are some great resources in our community, but many seniors don’t know where to begin to find them.”

The Midwest Heritage Homes team also acts as stewards of their customers’ financial interests. Willy explains that through their Senior Symposium Series they help educate clients, so they make sound sale and purchase decisions.

“They deserve a fair price for their current home and should not overpay for their next one,” he says. “A fair price when selling their home often means not spending money on unnecessary updates or repairs. We don’t want them to spend money they don’t need to spend.”

An important aspect of ensuring a smooth move later in life is being prepared. It’s a discussion for the whole family, and it is never too early to start making a plan.

“It’s important to have these conversations ahead of time, but people seem to want to wait until they have a crisis to start the dialogue,” Willy says. “The earlier you start the process, the more choices you have. It is far better to be able to make an informed decision than to be forced to choose in a crisis.”

To learn more about this division of the team, or to get information about buying or selling any type of real estate, please visit MidwestHeritageHomes.com or give Willy or Stacy a call at 816.820.4342 or 816.536.1526.