5 Tips for REALTORS® Who Want to Specialize in Real Estate for Seniors

An increasing number of aging Baby Boomers and empty nesters are relocating and moving into properties that they expect to live out their retirement in. Adults aged 50+ represent more than 20% of the U.S. population, and for most senior adults, the homes that they live in are their largest asset and account for most of their net worth. Moving for this demographic is often a matter of trading homes, and a Seniors Real Estate Specialist® who is experienced and knowledgeable can make all the difference in the world for seniors looking to move. For REALTORS® working with this demographic there are unique challenges, opportunities and preferences to be aware of. Here are 5 Tips for REALTORS® Who Want to Specialize in Real Estate for Seniors:

Each situation is unique


Many seniors are still in the workforce, and they’re not ready to give up their professional lifestyle. Other seniors might be completely retired and in need of some level of home care. Still others are retired and active, and looking to spend time with their grandchildren. Get to know your client’s lifestyle before putting together a list of properties. What are their priorities? Where do they see themselves in 10 years? Select appropriate listings for each client and don’t assume anything based on age or living situation. Do your homework and your clients will appreciate it.

Seniors don’t necessarily want to decrease size


Seniors want to increase convenience, not necessarily decrease the size of their homes. This is a common misconception that REALTORS® have about Baby Boomers and seniors. Seniors may want to avoid doing too much home maintenance — they want to enjoy their golden years. But seniors also want to retain the size and luxury they’ve grown accustomed to, plus in many cases there’s still a need for space for children and grandchildren, and perhaps a home office. Don’t assume that all seniors are looking to downsize.

Discuss layout options with your client


Even active seniors will appreciate amenities like fewer stairs and main-floor laundry facilities. Remember that even if your client is interested in a more convenient layout, that doesn’t mean they want to trade style for functionality. They probably want both.

Location is everything


For seniors, one of the most important considerations in buying a new home is location. Proximity to family — children and grandchildren — is important. And since many seniors face changing lifestyles and mobility issues, being near good public transportation, medical facilities, and recreation can be a major factor. Keep in mind things like sidewalks, accessibility to parks and recreation, and even something like street plowing. Provide clients with as much year-round information as possible so they can select the right home in the right area for their needs.

Expect emotions to be involved


Moving can be difficult for anyone, but for seniors who may have spent a lifetime in their previous home, leaving memories behind and moving into new, unfamiliar territory and can emotionally difficult, even scary. Be considerate and understanding about the worries of your client. Any moving tips you can offer, especially for things like valuable furniture or pets, will help build trust with your clients. For some seniors this might be only the second house they ever purchase, so make a connection with them and be attuned to their mindset.

Get listed with the Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Council as a preferred and trusted REALTOR® in the industry. Completion of the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) Designation Course is an essential step for REALTORS® in understanding the distinct real estate goals, concerns, and needs of seniors today.

Do you have experience selling property to seniors? What unique challenges and opportunities did you find in the market?

  1. Some of the most challenging buyers I work with are the current homeowners who last bought 20+ years ago. They feel like they’ve done it before and know the process when in reality it’s not even close to what it was like 5 years ago, let alone 20. It’s often less of a challenge to work with first-time buyers than someone who last bought when they could just take a one-page sales contract down to “George at the bank” and he’d draw them up loan papers…