Understanding senior buyers

By Bette McTamney | Aug. 12, 2013 | 2 min. read

PAR President Bette McTamney
PAR President Bette McTamney

Buying or selling a home is complicated for anyone, but especially for seniors who often have a more complicated set of needs than their younger counterparts when it comes to real estate. It is important for Realtors® to understand these unique needs.

While it may be easier for people over 40 to buy a house because they’re more established in their careers, they have different considerations that must be addressed. Seniors are buying and selling for a variety of reasons that include being closer to family, living out post-retirement dreams and addressing health concerns.

The Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation educates Realtors® on how to best serve the real estate needs of Americans over the age of 50. A SRES can help senior sellers, buyers, or renters navigate these issues.

A common challenge faced by many seniors who are selling their family home is that they haven’t updated in many years. Outdated kitchens and baths, carpet and wallpaper that are out of style, and other similar issues can be overwhelming and hard for the prospective senior seller to understand. A knowledgeable SRES can guide them through making wise financial decisions about the cost to upgrade versus simply pricing the property to sell “as is.”

Additionally, many senior homeowners continue to struggle and face foreclosure. According to a 2012 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report, more than 1.5 million Americans over the age of 50 have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2007.

When someone loses his or her home to foreclosure, the housing market and our economy all suffer. It’s important for us to work hard to keep more people, especially older Americans in their homes. As Realtors®, we care as much about keeping families in their homes as helping them find the home of their dreams.

Understanding the life circumstances and motivating factors for why seniors move and having the ability to counsel these clients is a distinction that sets a Realtor® apart from the pack. Buying and selling a home can be an emotional process, and Realtors® can be trusted to stay focused on the issues that are most important to our clients.

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