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Housing Slump Hits Some Michigan Downsizers

August 4, 2008

Grand Rapids, MI - Some seniors in the Great Lakes area are feeling the effects of the current housing market slump firsthand. Normally, members of Michigan's retirement set would be ready to downsize, perhaps moving into assisted living or other types of senior communities. But nowadays, they're finding the transition isn't so easy, according to Doug Lachniet. He's the marketing director for Maple Creek, a senior living complex in Grand Rapids run by Lutheran Social Services.

"For many people, their home is their biggest, single asset. So, it's necessary for many of them to have that equity in order to make a significant move into a senior center or assisted-living facility."

Lachniet says he's talking to many retirees who have been trying to sell their homes for months, and others who just feel trapped, afraid to even attempt it. Maple Creek has begun to offer "staging" services to help speed the sale of their homes by making the properties look as desirable as possible.

"It's important that homeowners who are looking to sell receive a professional evaluation, and get recommendations on how to make it more 'sellable' in this depressed housing market."

Lachinet says in some cases, his company has also set up rental situations for people in transition, allowing them to make their move while waiting for buyers to come along for their house. More information is available online, at

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - MI