Bettina Sandford shared a beautiful Richmond home with her husband for nearly 15 years. Nestled just blocks away from Bryan Park, it’s where her late husband, Rob, had pursued his love of gardening before his unexpected passing in August at age 80.

Tending to the garden was one of the former pastor’s many passions – which included fishing, traveling, and spending time with his grandchildren. After all, Bettina and Rob first came to the area to be closer to family. In Richmond, they made a welcoming home.

“It was hard to leave the house where we had watched grandchildren and babies during the daytime when their mothers were working, for several years. I just felt that it was too much to keep up the big yard and all the flowers and everything that he worked constantly in and loved to do. I couldn't do that,” Bettina says.

“Thank goodness we had a plan.”

In 2022, Bettina and Rob decided to join the waitlist at Lakewood, a retirement community in Henrico County’s West End. Committed to eventually selling their home and moving to senior living, Bettina was at church one day and turned to a fellow parishioner to ask a few questions about the complex process.

That parishioner was Mark Cipolletti. “I just got this impulse to go up and ask him a couple of questions around all we needed to do in order to sell,” she recalls.

Later, following Rob’s passing, Bettina knew exactly who to call when she was ready to take those difficult next steps.

“He was immediately the first person I thought of calling,” Bettina said. “Mark was so patient, so helpful, and just took it step by step with me — way above and beyond the call of duty.”

With Mark’s support and expertise, Bettina listed her home for sale. All it took was a single open house to land 10 offers. The home was on the market for just three days.

“Mark was so patient, so helpful and just took it step by step with me way above and beyond the call of duty. He was immediately the first person I thought of calling. I can’t begin to say enough good things about him.”
– Bettina Sandford

With a deal locked in, Mark’s support didn’t stop there.

He arranged estimates for specialized move management and moving companies.

Senior move managers cater to the unique needs of older adults as they prepare a home for listing, packing, and moving. This can include special training to prepare staff to help those who may be grieving the loss of a loved one. Home Matters of VA, a senior move management company, and Stewart Moving & Storage, which offers the specialized moving services, were chosen by Bettina.

“It all went incredibly smoothly,” Bettina says. “Mark has just been a wonderful friend, and he continues to be. I'm just so grateful that he just made it all so much easier – what was a very, very difficult time for me.”

“Buying or selling a home isn’t ever a one-size-fits all. You have to listen to your clients and understand their needs, and for this one, we were able to bring Bettina and her family the specialized support and expertise they needed,” Mark says. “We are committed to helping older adults and their families, and we hope to offer these services to more people in the area looking to move to a new home or retirement community.”

Moving day in mid-October 2023 still marked a bittersweet 76th birthday for Bettina. Now settled in and enjoying time with new friends at Lakewood, she reflects on the first night in her new home – and the team that made it all possible. It moves her to tears.

“I climbed into bed. Of course, it was the bed my husband and I shared for years. I just had this real sense of peace, you know, that this was right, this is what I should do,” Bettina says. “I am just very grateful.”


Are you ready to talk about selling your home? Contact Mark today at 804-349-6463 or email him at