business & professional
The Right Moves
Experts' business helps with the whole gamut of moving seniors.
r. Harold Friedman, a Beaumont
hospital cardiologist, was over-
whelmed; but not by his heart
He was trying to move his mother,
Lillian Friedman, from her longtime
Southfield home into assisted living quar-
ters. For years, the home had been filled
with "stuff" from his parents, himself, his
three brothers — and even his two sets of
grandparents, going back to the 1960s.
It was turning out to be a daunting task,
difficult for a busy professional person and
family to handle.
"We didn't know what to keep, what to
give away and what to throw out," said
Friedman, who still had an exasperated
tang in his voice. "Actually, most of it
belonged in a junk truck."
Friedman realized the project was
clearly a case for Right Moves for Seniors,
a Berkley-based, full-service company that
opened last January aimed at easing the
burden of moving. Co-owners are Linda
Hiller Novak of Franklin and Carolyn
Stieger of Bloomfield Hills, who have a
combined 30 years of experience in real
estate and senior move management.
Novak, Lillian Iwrey of Southfield,
Stieger and Muriel Jacobs of Farmington
Hills at Right Moves Consignment and
Estate Sales in Berkley
referring things to each other back and
forth anyway," Stieger explained. "Linda
would list the houses, and then call me if
they needed organizing or staging prior to
"After the sale, many clients still needed
more assistance with the move. Many had
furniture and decorative household items,
and they didn't have the time or ability to
host estate sales."
Neutral Third Party
"Linda and Carolyn took right over and
made it easy for us; they facilitated every
aspect of the move during a month's
period:' Friedman said. "They acted like a
neutral third party in our decisions as to
what to do with everything. It was money
well spent on my part."
For Novak and Stieger, it was just
another "day at the office helping seniors
downsize and keeping them and their fam-
ilies from being afflicted with relocation
stress syndrome. They've turned Right
Moves for Seniors into a "one-stop shop":
selling a home at the best possible price
and supervising all of the tasks involved in
making the transition to a new residence
as seamless as possible.
The service is especially important in
Michigan, which has the second-largest
elderly population in the nation, next to
Florida. Another factor is the growing
number of baby boomers in the nation
who are reaching their senior years.
"We specialize in helping people down-
size to a smaller home, apartment, condo
or senior community," Novak said. "It's an
umbrella of services, starting with an evalu-
ation of the person's current living situation:'
September 20 • 2012
Berkley Retail Store
Linda Hiller Novak and Carolyn Stieger combined their skills to create
Right Moves for Seniors.
"We handle everything, from staging
a client's property for sale to selling the
property, to packing, facilitating consign-
ment or estate sales, relocating, unpacking,
decorating and settling," Steiger added.
Real Estate Expert
Novak, a sister of supermarket mogul Jim
Hiller, is a top-selling associate broker with
Max Brook Realtors in Birmingham, and is
a certified senior real estate specialist. She
graduated from Birmingham Groves High
School and the University of Michigan
before moving to San Francisco where
she was a financial representative, then
launched her real estate career.
Stieger is a transplanted Kansan who
came to Michigan in 1985 to become
president of We Stage Greater Detroit,
specializing in senior move services. She
has won several awards in senior move
management and belongs to a number of
senior move organizations.
After working together on several senior
moves, the women, who refer to them-
selves as certified relocation and transition
specialists, decided to join forces for the
streamlined moving service.
"We realized we both had the same
challenges in relocating families, and were
To insure quality control of the moving
projects, Right Moves opened a retail
store in Berkley called Right Moves
Consignment and Estate Sales. This helps
clients sell belongings they no longer need,
if residents prefer to have their items sold
off-site. But onsite estate sales still are
One of the company's biggest challenges
is handling both elderly and young people
who have become hoarders over the years
— people with "possession anxiety," says
Novak. There are about 20 employees
helping with these projects or working
at the store, "but Carolyn and I often just
jump right in wearing our gloves and sort
out everything," said Novak. "We handle
an awful lot of 'stuff:"
It hasn't been necessary for Right Moves
to market or advertise its services exten-
sively "because our word-of-mouth pub-
licity has been excellent so far," she said.
"There's nothing like referrals. We get calls
from the seniors' children who live out of
town saying they heard about us and want
us to assist their parents. We strive to help
people make the tough decisions and pre-
serve family relationships."