The real estate market is changing every day, and part of that is due to the number of Baby Boomers who turn 60 every day. The Census Bureau's information estimates that 7,900 people every day reach that milestone. In the last twenty years, the senior real estate market has doubled in size. The next decade or two will see even more people reaching that mark as the first of the Gen Xers also reach 60. As you can see, this is an up and coming market, with 77 million potential clients.
The National Association of Realtors offers a special designation - the Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES - for people who have taken the time to learn the extra necessary skills to take care of clients over the age of 50. SRES experts are able to help seniors with the unique factors that go into buying and selling a home in one's later years.
An SRES course will help you learn about current market trends for seniors and how to market yourself to them. You will also learn about what features in homes are more desirable for older buyers. There are other legal matters like estate planning and compliance with the Housing for Older Persons Act that have to be considered.
There are different financial concerns for an older person than his or her younger counterpart would face. In some cases the senior will have a much larger disposable income and will be interested in a second wintertime home in a warm area. Currently, over 15% of seniors own two homes.
It's not just the warm areas like Arizona and Florida that are impacted by senior buyers and sellers, though. Wherever anyone over 55 lives, there is your potential new market.
The older homebuyer will also be looking at a different kind of house than a younger person. He or she will either want a small home because the kids have moved out and it's just the two of them, or a big one for all of the grandkids. Livability factors are often different - instead of schools, art centers or museums might be more important. Healthy opportunities like walking trails or volunteer chances are important to know, too.
Another factor to consider is that seniors may have lived in the same home for 30 or even more years. There is a significant emotional attachment to the house and you as an agent will need to be sensitive to that. The SRES courses will help you learn the right kind of financial counseling in selling a beloved home, as well as how to teach seniors what to watch for with scam artists.
To help seniors in your area, you can enroll in SRES courses put on by the NAR to learn more about the process. They won't cost very much, typically, and you can earn a new designation that will let people know you have the right skills needed. You do need to be an active member of the NAR to enroll, however.
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