Choosing housing needs is an intricate process, in the case of older adults and their families the needs can be quite complex. Selling situations may be complicated by issues such as family dynamics, deteriorating health, personal loss, and financial constraints. Whether buying or selling a home, older adults have unique needs.
Despite these unique needs data shows the senior real estate market is expanding. In the most recent Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, the National Association of REALTORS® published these findings:
- Younger Baby Boomers consist of 18 percent of recent buyers, have higher median household incomes and are more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their home.
- Older Baby Boomers consist of 14 percent of recent buyers, move the longest distance at a median of 30 miles and are less likely to make compromises on their home purchase.
- The Silent Generation consist of 6 percent of recent buyers and are least likely to purchase a detached single-family home. Twenty-eight percent purchased in senior-related housing and they tend to purchase the newest homes.
With so many older adults searching for homes, it’s important to be armed with the right questions for any Real Estate professional you work with. We have the top three suggestions from industry experts.
Licensed Realtor and U.S. News contributor Ray Boss Jr. suggests asking:
“Are you equipped to handle my unique situation?”
People with unique scenarios may be frustrated by “an agent who has little to no experience in your specific area.” He suggests asking direct questions about your situation and warns “[d]on’t be fooled by someone who answers the question with, ‘Don’t worry, I’ve dealt with this before.’ Ask the agent what unique issues could arise and how [they] would handle them.”
Daniel Bortz Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC., is a contributor for Realtor.com, Money magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, CNNMoney, and other publications. He suggests asking:
“How long does it typically take buyers you’ve worked with to find and purchase a home?”
Bortz says, “In general it takes an average of 30 to 60 days to shop for a house, and 14 to 60 days to go from contract to closing. However, this number varies widely from area to area” and it's crucial to understand how long the process will take especially when it comes to the needs of older adults. Bortz suggests if an agent responds to this question by saying “it typically takes six months to a year to buy a house, that’s a red flag you could end up frustrated.”
Lastly, industry experts at The Aramco Group suggest older adults should ask:
“Do you have any special certifications?”
The areas of specialization to look for that help ensure the professional you are looking for is qualified are:
- Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR): These agents work with buyer-clients along the entire process.
- Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB): These agents have completed extensive educational and professional requirements. The CRB certification is one of the most respected in the industry.
- Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES): These agents have completed real estate training geared toward serving clients over 50 years of age.
The Aramco Group also states these certifications are not required but “can be helpful if you’re looking for someone who caters more specifically to your requirements.”
Other questions to consider according to senior living experts at Sunrise Senior Living include:
- How many older adults have you helped sell their homes?
- What do you do differently when approaching the sale of a senior’s home, as opposed to that of a younger family?
- Is there an optimal month to try to sell a home in your area?
- Can you offer assistance with staging or make suggestions to help make the most of the sale?
- Do you have experience working with any local move managers or moving companies?
- What will you do to market the home?