As our life expectancy increases, older people are looking to buy and sell houses. Tapping into this demographic is a viable option for real estate agents who understand what seniors want and need. From researching current real estate values to making a connection with boomers, smart strategies help dedicated agents corner this growing market. Discover five innovative ways to market real estate to the senior population.
Give Them the Straight Skinny
Seniors come from a generation that mistrusts colorful language and glowing promises. Older adults want nothing but facts. Agents must do their research before attempting to work with senior clients. Put together a recent list of comparable sales in the area to prove current real estate values. Know the neighborhood to properly advise seniors about purchasing homes near medical facilities, shopping, and other community venues.
Other areas to research include local senior housing, reverse mortgages, shared housing, health advocacy services, and financial planning services. Be prepared to provide a list of connections to help seniors navigate the current market and make the best possible decisions. Align yourself with a team of professionals who know how to serve older adults. Encourage reciprocal referrals to generate more leads in this lucrative niche market.
Prove Your Worth
Seniors are savvy and don’t want to hear inflated claims or colorful promises. After generations of being consumers, older adults want agents to prove their worth. Be prepared to share success stories, reviews, and references who recognize your expertise. Stay on top of senior news about health and housing in the area to become known as a valued resource. Share these updates by sending newsletters – ask if they prefer to receive updates by text, email, or snail mail. Be sensitive to seniors who are not tech-savvy, and offer options to appeal to those who embrace technology.
Another way to prove your ability is to become a Seniors Real Estate Specialist®, a designation offered by the National Association of Realtors®. Agents must take a two-day course and score a minimum of 80 percent on the final exam. And, agents who use this distinctive designation must also become active members of the SRES Council®. Showing seniors these credentials can help agents connect with more buyers.
Talk Their Language
The image of an older person in a rocking chair is nothing like the senior consumers of today – in fact, most don’t like to be called elderly. Active boomers are conscious of their health, appearance, and mindset. They want to work with people who understand their goals, including the serious financial and emotional aspects of a move. Are they looking to downsize? Do they want to move to live closer to the grandkids? Will they want to age-in-place, so they don’t have to stop living independently? Are they affluent seniors looking forward to owning a luxury retirement home?
Know how older people think and feel. Go beyond the surface and talk to each client about their goals. And, be well-versed in common senior concerns. How should seniors approach buying a home when they receive Social Security and Medicare? Will retirement accounts and pensions have an impact on the purchase of a house? Seniors are cautious, knowing the risk of running into fraudsters. Be an authority with information and resources they can trust – and watch the referrals start coming in.
Marketing to the older generation is different than selling to young consumers. Digital marketing is just a portion of the marketing focus. Some seniors do not use computers and prefer simple cell phones. Remember to find ways to stay connected, including old-school options such as telephone calls and snail-mail. Offer to call weekly or mail the latest listings to seniors who don’t want to go online.
Always offer modern communication options to seniors, including email and text updates. Encourage them to go online to view photos and take virtual tours, which saves time and effort. Show patience and understanding when older adults ask questions about how to visit a blog or connect on social media. After the closing, stay in touch with seniors using their preferred method of communication. Send a housewarming gift, holiday cards, and a homeowner first-anniversary gift to maintain the connection. Better Homes and Gardens Real® Estate agents can choose from a variety of branded swag items for client gifts, including golf accessories and apparel.
Be Sensitive to the Senior Situation
Each senior has his or her own unique story. Always be prepared to adapt to the situation and provide the highest level of service. Some seniors might feel sad about leaving their old home behind. Others may have legal representatives or adult children who handle their affairs. Mindful agents earn a coveted spot as senior real estate experts.
Older adults might struggle with finding a home to move some of their favorite belongings. Trying to fit a lot of things into a smaller home becomes a stumbling block. Help seniors plan a garage sale or donate older items to a local charity. Offer contact information for reputable storage facilities, junk removal services, and moving companies. To market real estate to seniors, agents need to provide measurable value and dedicated service. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to real estate values and agent expertise. Senior agents who are attentive to the concerns of this demographic will corner this growing niche.