Debbie Ruvo, Broker/Owner of Debbie Ruvo & Associates LLC, began her career in real estate in the state of Washington in Fall of 1994. Born and raised in the state, married with 2 children. Later in the year of 2012 – life became a little more demanding with family. Having an aunt and uncle in their upper 80’s/90’s with no children, Debbie was made the executor for their estate if anything were to happen. Debbie’s aunt passed away at the age of 87 in 2012, leaving behind her husband of 69 years and she died without a WILL (intestate).
Debbie’s uncle had Parkinson’s, used a walker, never cooked for himself, and relied on his wife for dressing, bathing, cooking, etc. Debbie knew her uncle could not stay by himself in his home of 45 years. He needed assistance with everyday normal tasks. Debbie had to find a place for him and quickly. Debbie remembered from taking her classes for her Seniors Real Estate Specialist certification (SRES) that there were placement agencies available to with scouting.
Within 3 days, Debbie and her family were able to find a place for her uncle in an adult family home that he could afford with additional assistance of funds from the sale of the home. They knew to ask the question, “What if he runs out of money? Then what?” The adult family home said if he could private-pay for 2 years, they would accept Medicaid. Medicaid is state assistance funding in which you must spend down to $2,000 of your assets.
Her next step was to clean out the house with 69 years’ worth of stuff in a home that they lived in for 45 years, with about 30 of those years deferred maintenance. They needed to clean it out, have a sale for extra income, and get it on the market as fast as possible. Thankfully, Debbie knew a client who had an estate sale business. They were able to assist with sorting, pricing, running the sale, and hauling everything away for Debbie and afterwards; it was a blessing to say the least!
In between all this, Debbie had to see an attorney for lack of a WILL and go through the probate process. This involved ordering death certificates, making funeral arrangements, ensuring Debbie’s uncle was taken care of with proper clothing, bedding, snacks, visits to doctor appointments, etc. Adult family homes usually do not provide anything but the care. She even had to make arrangements to have his toenails clipped by a nurse and pay extra for that!
With very little income and savings, Debbie knew the house needed to be sold and quickly. After the estate sale came the house cleaner. She was able to put the home on the market quickly and sold “As Is” in 3 days, all cash. After most everything was taken care of and she knew that he would have enough money to last at least 2 years – she could breathe again.
After a little over 2 years, Debbie’s uncle ran out of funds and Medicaid took over. Meeting with a social worker filling out more paperwork and having to tell uncle he had run out of money was difficult, but he understood. About 3 months after that, Debbie’s uncle passed away at the age of 93.
Debbie realized that no one should go through all that is involved in working with our love ones and seniors. From 2012 onward, Debbie decided that she would work with 55 and older, assisting them in downsizing with solutions for a smooth transition from leaving the family home to their new home. Debbie knew there were a lot of scammers out there that prey on the elderly. She did not want that to happen to anyone.
Debbie started calling and making appointments to tour assisted living communities and adult family homes in the Pierce County area, having coffee with administrators of senior communities, downsizing seminars to educate families, started a network group of senior providers. Finally, in 2019, Debbie opened her own real estate firm, 55+ Real Estate Services.