Armies of boomers aged 55+years are entering and re-entering the housing market at a rate of 10,000 people a day. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ latest survey, the American Community Survey, there are currently 77 million boomers. Many of these 55+ are looking to downsize their housing to accommodate their current lifestyle needs as well as their financial realities.
Single level living with enough space for visiting family members and friends is a top priority for relocating seniors. Energy efficient housing in walkable communities with opportunities for social engagement is also highly desirable. Age restricted communities that provide individual living opportunities as well as transitional and end of life care are equally desirable and on an upswing in new construction nationally. One caution, however…seniors also need affordable age restricted rental housing as all cannot afford to buy.
Realtors can be particularly helpful to this expanding senior population looking to relocate, refinance and/or sell their family home. Since 2007, the National Association of Realtors has officially recognized the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) among its “family” of real estate designations. This dedicated course offers realtors specific training, information, resource networks and a recognized specialty designation to real estate professionals wanting to target senior populations in their business plans.
The benefit to real estate designees is training that is senior specific in terms of lifestyle and housing issues. Key housing options such as age restricted communities, age in place design and assisted living facilities are thoroughly researched and discussed. Topics such as applications for the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOAC); the ins and outs of reverse mortgages; how to use pensions, IRAs, 401Ks in real estate transactions; ways in which Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security affect real estate decisions; and how to recognize and protect clients from mortgage finance and loan schemes/scams that target 55+ borrowers are included in the SRES course.
Benefits to real estate consumers using SRESs are obvious. Clients can be reassured that their SRES professional will deliver a customized approach to fit their specific living situation and needs. Clients can be reassured they will be given choices to help reduce out of pocket expenses, gain cash and/or create or defer a reasonable income stream or to obtain financial assistance. Most importantly, clients can be confident that a SRES professional will both recognize and respect that their home is likely their single largest asset.
Patience and expertise are required for all demographic groups and all real estate markets. Consider expanding your “special knowledge” regarding senior housing trends and markets to capture a “booming” clientele.