June 2015 Article

Serving Senior Homebuyers and Sellers
By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor and Real Estate Professional for 35 years

In order to effectively meet the needs of a diverse senior population—which is the fastest growing segment of our real estate market—you’ll need some special skills and knowledge to support seniors in what can be one of their most challenging life transitions.
Helping younger seniors plan
Working with younger seniors who are still working and active is much like working with any other age group. However, they may be anticipating a change in lifestyle as they contemplate retirement, a change in vocation, or perhaps a switch to working part-time. They’ll want to explore new options as they think about what they want their lives to be like going forward.
Older seniors need your patience
Older seniors may be more resistant to change and take a long time in making the decision to move. They might have to move to a different type of housing, but they may not want to leave their current home—or it may be they don’t know where to go next. These folks require much patience on your part, and it may take quite a few visits before your relationship is firmly established. Make time in your schedule for a longer appointment than with younger clients. Many older seniors have not bought or sold a home in a long time, and it may all seem new and overwhelming to them.
Take time to Empathize
Listen carefully when talking to or meeting with potential senior clients. Let them know you understand this move is a major change in their lives. Take your time to help them understand home buying or selling, and don’t make assumptions about their knowledge of the current processes. Be interested in what their needs are, but don’t be pushy or aggressive in your manner. Reassure them that you know it takes time and the careful consideration of all options, and you will not hurry them to make decisions. Let them see you as someone who is there for them when they need help with anything pertaining to a change in housing.
Becoming a senior housing expert
The leading edge of the Baby Boomers has reached retirement age and that generation will be having a major impact on the real estate marketplace for many years to come. It will be to your great advantage if you position yourself to participate in this rapidly growing senior market segment.
This article includes material from the new Continuing Ed Express 2 credit hour CE course: “Serving Senior Homebuyers and Sellers,” written by Ruth Tice.

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