Our Mission

At Around the Home Maintenance Services, our mission is to relieve the burden of property management, maintenance and organization, allowing you to spend more time with your family when they need you the most.

For a free estimate, call Kurt at (517) 242-9717.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Would your children value your treasures?

Every day we're getting reports of individuals who tell us, "my kids would sell all of this stuff at a garage sale - they have no idea what it is worth!" Asked if the collectibles, antiques, art or sculptures have been inventoried, appraised and insured, the answer is usually "no - we've never taken the time to do that."

While our estate maintenance and organization business at Around the Home was founded on the notion that executors, powers of attorney, conservators and trustees needed assistance with maintaining property, dealing with auctioneers and appraisers, packing, storing and shipping personal property and organization of clutter to prepare estate homes for sale, we're now finding that our expertise is being sought out by individuals as they begin to plan their own estates.

We can help locate appraisers for your treasured items, help create inventories and document your history of family pieces for future generations. Don't let the things you've spent a lifetime accumulating be sold at a garage sale for pennies, or worse... tossed into a dumpster!

Around the Home offers free estimates. Contact us today to begin documenting the history and value of your treasured possessions. Email Kurt or call (517) 242-9717.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Alleviating the Stress of Dividing Personal Items

For many families, cleaning out a loved one's home and personal belongings after a death can be an important part of the grieving and healing process. Holding treasured personal possessions and remembering good times can make this a time to celebrate a beloved family member's life and share family history with younger generations.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for all families. Distrust and jealousy feed claims of dishonesty and selfishness - tearing at families when they need each other the most. Why is it that family members lash out at each other with such bitterness over what appear to be such trivial issues? What leads otherwise honest, caring and compassionate individuals to act with such total disregard for the feelings of those they love?

The stories of family rivalries abound. What was it that tore your family apart? A cookie jar? A candy dish? A hammer, tool belt or hunting rifle? Was it a refrigerator magnet? A lucky penny? A clock?

One potential cause of the problem lies in our time-honored tradition of selecting one person out of the family to have the role of administering the estate, whether as "trustee" of a living trust or as "personal representative" of a will. In years past, it was typically the oldest male of the family who held this role. No matter who is chosen, having chosen someone upsets the balance of power in a family which is already struggling to reorganize its power structure after a death.

Take, for example, the resentment of a younger sibling who might see her older brother's authority as personal representative as an assertion of control and an attempt to replace her deceased father as the "head" of the family. She may object to her brother's otherwise fair and appropriate method of dividing personal property only because she resents his assertion of authority. On the other hand, he may feel unjustly accused of being unfair.

Reverse the situation (having chosen the youngest sibling as personal representative instead) and we now face possible jealousy and resentment from older siblings who believe the "baby" of the family to have been spoiled and/or "loved more" because she was the youngest. Older siblings may object to items she chooses for herself or her children because she always gets her way. Just like her brother in the scenerio above, she may feel unjustly accused of being unfair.

Our predeceasors tried to remedy this situation by naming a bank to serve as what was then commonly called "executor" of the estate. The theory, in part, was that the addition of a wise and neutral third party would help keep emotions and personal attacks in check. Attempts to keep adminstrative costs low have caused the use of banks to fall out of favor as bank fees rose - but the theory of a neutral third party still holds some merit.

In dividing personal property, informal mediation or simply guidance from a professional estate administrator might bring back a level of civility and order to the process while maintaining the status quo in the family power struggle. Depending upon the nature of the issues at hand, an appropriate neutral party might include an attorney, mediator or professional estate organizer.

Also posted at www.itrustee.blogspot.com by Jo Anne Hinds, Attorney/Professional Speaker

Monday, November 3, 2008

Preserving the Family Cottage or Cabin on the Lake

Winterizing the boat and pulling out docks at your family's cottage or cabin on the lake might be something that you always did together as a family - but when health concerns become top priority, it can be hard to tear yourself away from your loved one's needs to take care of your own home, let alone a property located 2 hours north.

Unfortunately, without proper winterization, serious damage can be caused - sometimes costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars to repair. Some might be quick to say "put it up for sale!" But in today's real estate market, you might still have a considerable wait until the burden of maintaining the property is finally relieved.

Family members might hold on to the hope that the cottage or cabin might be saved for future generations to enjoy - so what to do in the meantime?

Are there sufficient resources to continue to pay the property taxes and hire someone to maintain the property until your family can once again enjoy it? At Around the Home, we maintain vacation homes, cabins and cottages for the future use and enjoyment of families just like yours. Winterizing boats, RVs, campers and cottages is just one way we help relieve the burden of property management at at time when your family needs you the most.

For more information, contact Kurt at (517) 242-9717 or by email.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dad's Bobblehead Collection

Have you ever wondered how to get the best value for your loved one's unique treasures? Considered selling Dad's "bobblehead" collection at an online auction like eBay? Did you know that you can donate unique items to Goodwill Industries International for an online auction?

Around the Home can help you with online auctions and donations to ensure your parent's treasures are put to good use. For more information, call Kurt at (517) 242-9717.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Document Management - Get Organized!

Anyone who has administered a probate or trust estate can tell you - you can easily become buried in the paperwork if you're not organized from the very start. Correspondence from attorneys, court documents, appraisals, real estate listings, inventories, claim forms, death beneifits - it can all get very confusing very quickly - especially when administering the estate is not your full-time job!

Around the Home Estate Maintenance and Organization takes the worry and the work out of staying organized so that you can focus on making the important decisions.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


At Around the Home Maintenance Services, we think it's important to keep you informed. If you're serving as executor or trying to maintain a loved one's home while they're in a nursing home, we know that you have many more pressing issues on your mind.

If you choose our e-update option, we'll keep you informed by email or text message each time we check in on the property or perform a service. It's just one more way we offer you peace of mind - and it's available free of charge to all Around the Home customers.

Caretaking of Property Listed for Sale

In today's real estate market, property may be left vacant for months, sometimes years, before the right buyer comes along - and some families don't know where to turn for help in the meantime. Careful maintenance is a must to reduce the risk of loss and retain the property's value.

Exterior maintenance might include lawncare, shrub maintenance and tree trimming. For many city and suburban properties, strict ordinances govern lawncare and snow removal. Installation and maintenance of timed exterior lighting fixtures can help deter thieves and destruction when property sits vacant.

Interior projects might include updating with paint, new flooring and carpets or light fixtures. Checking and replacing batteries in smoke detectors and arranging for furnace or water heater service on a regular basis is also a good idea.

At Around the Home Maintenance Services, we offer maintenance and repair contracts that include periodic checks on estate property or property listed for sale. We work with personal representatives, trustees and guardians to help maintain the estate's valuable assets. We maintain and update property listed for sale and help clean out and stage the property, including inventory, packing, removing and arranging for secure storage of personal or estate property, dumpster rental and trash removal.

For more information, contact Kurt by email or call (517) 242-9717.

Vacant Properties

Here at Around the Home Maintenance Services, we help families maintain property when they can no longer take care of it for themselves. Sometimes that's because the family relocated and left vacant property for sale - sometimes it's because of the death or incapacity of a loved one.

As cold weather approaches, simple maintenance tasks can easily be neglected when a property is vacant. Draining hoses, removing leaves from gutters and arranging for winter snow removal are a few examples.

At Around the Home Maintenance Services, we are currenting accepting fall/winter maintenance contracts and would be happy to offer a free estimate for your project.

Call Kurt at (517) 242-9717.