While these challenges sometimes surface as either objections (i.e pricing, staging, de-cluttering, repairing deferred maintenance, leaving for showings, etc.) or hours on end of repetitive story telling and procrastination, what is really going on are the workings of two deep-seated developmentally appropriate conflicts.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
2. Place service over sales
3. Offer a turnkey approach
Consider this explanation:
In later phases of life, people begin working to resolve what Erikson proposed as the eighth stage of psychosocial development known as “Integrity versus Despair.” During this stage of life senior adults spend more time reflecting and taking inventory of life’s events. It is during this inventory that they attempt to resolve any unresolved negative emotions (regrets) and establish a sense of satisfaction (integrity) about their life.
Today we often hear people talk of “leaving a legacy” after they die. This is essentially the process mature adults are going through, however, it is not as much about a purposeful outward act of doing insomuch as an inward sense of being. The process requires massive emotional and psychological energy to accomplish, and it requires people to slow down -- literally.
I have heard too many people describe this slowing down as a perceived reduction in cognition, when in reality it is a new way of life that is developmentally necessary and appropriate. It’s not a disease process or a reduction in brain power. It’s the brain’s way of preparing us to leave this life with integrity.
While it typically makes good business sense to assume the sale and to make every attempt to get a contract signed when a buyer or seller is ready, it doesn’t always make sense to “sell” when a senior homeowner isn’t ready. More times than not, older adults are formulating and assessing their options when they call a REALTOR for the first time and they aren’t necessarily ready to sign on the dotted line that day.
What they often need and want from an agent is information. Unfortunately, what they frequently get is a hurried salesperson who has a thirty minute block of time before their next client and who rushes through a series of “must do’s” before heading out the door (iPhone vibrating incessantly).
For those agents out there who have read this far and are raising their hands saying, “Hey, I want to offer turnkey services,” here are a few things you will want to do to better serve your silver sellers.
Estate liquidator (a good one)
Moving company specializing in senior moves
Secondly, you owe it to your senior clients to do two more things. Acquaint yourself with senior living communities in your area -- independent living, assisted living, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC).
And third, learn more about ways to help people age in place. The vast majority of seniors don’t want to move. Many will do what they can to modify their home so that they can stay there as long as possible, so if they choose to do that...help them. Give them resources for home modifications and then stay in touch. The reality is that after the age of about 85 years old, people begin to need more help than they can get from their own home and either decide (or find it necessary) to seek alternative arrangements.
Lastly...if you are an experienced real estate agent looking for a way to make a positive difference in the lives of others AND are attracted to the idea of serving senior adult home sellers, we invite you to join the Seniors Real Estate Community and become a Certified Senior Housing Professional.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.