For Americans 54 years of age and older, one of the most dramatic lifestyle changes is selling the family home. Often, they are unfamiliar with the intricacies of today's real estate market and looking for a steady, experienced hand to guide them.
Seniors looking to buy or sell a home should look for agents with the National Association of Realtor's Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES) designation. These Realtors understand the financial goals, family dynamics, and generational nuances of senior buyers and sellers, and are better able to serve them.
For buyers and sellers of this generation, it all comes down to making a strategic plan based on needs and wants.
Younger baby boomers, for instance, might be looking to purchase a property offering multi-generational options. This can include moving in with adult children or grandchildren, or finding a property that will allow them to care for their own parents in the home. For older baby boomers, the sale of the family home might be motivated by the desire to reduce upkeep and maintenance demands, move closer to family or find a community designed around a change of lifestyle (i.e., a golf community, active adult neighborhoods or assisted living facilities).
Once a buyer or sellers’ needs are assessed, the normal list of popular features must be considered. These span the spectrum: two-car garages, modern kitchens or nearby shopping and public transit. Features such as these are universally sought, and typically generation neutral.
However, for seniors, some must-haves are likely focused on lifestyle goals for aging in place. A first-floor master or handicap-accessible bathroom might be priorities, so homeowners can continue living long-term in their homes regardless of mobility issues. Indoor recreational facilities, available in many active adult communities, might also be seen as a way to stay active later in life. Experienced Realtors who specialize in working with senior buyers and sellers know what to look for and how to discuss options with their clients.
Some seniors might also want to rent after the sale of the family home to take time to consider their options and make more strategic, long-term financial plans. A trained agent will take the time to slow down, listen and help these clients work through several scenarios.
As for Realtors who have earned their SRES certification, the work goes beyond merely listing a property or finding that next, perfect home.
SRES certified real estate professionals know, often, the listing of a long-time family home will require additional resources to assist the sellers. These services can run the gamut, including hiring professional organizers to stage the home for sale, auctioneers or antique dealers for assessing and selling long-held family heirlooms, and storage facilities and movers to quickly handle a lifetime of memories ahead of any physical move. Financial planners are often called on as well to help sellers determine how to invest and save any proceeds remaining from a sale.
Whatever the need, SRES-certified Realtors have both the training and network of resources to assist older clients. They also recognize these transactions require a higher level of compassion and empathy than standard purchases or sales. These are major life changes for baby boomers, some of whom might require a little more attention and sensitivity as they navigate the transition from the familiar to the new at this later stage of life. However, it isn’t all about emotion or finances either. SRES agents also recognize sometimes the fine print of an agreement should be a little bigger, and accommodate their clients accordingly. And, having worked with senior buyers and sellers, these Realtors recognize extended family may have perspectives in need of consideration while always keeping the client's wants and needs as top priorities.
If you or a beloved baby boomer you know is looking to buy or sell a home, encourage them to select an SRES-certified Realtor to address all their needs.
Sue-Ann DiVito is a SRES certified Realtor with Addison Wolfe Real Estate in Bucks County. She can be reached at (267) 221-6346 or by email at email@example.com.