In the world of real estate, agents frequently make referrals to a variety of professionals in order to help facilitate the successful closing of a home sale or purchase. Most commonly referred are title companies, title attorneys, mortgage lenders, home warranty, repair contractors, home stagers, and insurance providers.
It isn’t uncommon, however, when an older adult homeowner is making a downsizing move, to find it necessary to make additional referrals to service providers such as senior move managers, estate liquidators, and moving companies. When you add up all the various people who could be involved in a home sale or purchase, it can become overwhelming and confusing, especially for older clients.
As a rule of thumb, most real estate agents do not have knowledge of these senior specific resources, much less have reputable providers in their every day toolkit. But Certified Senior Housing Professionals do, and that is what sets them apart from the pack.
When it comes to senior clients, it is critical that the agent remain the hub for all referrals in the transaction to prevent miscommunication, unnecessary up-selling of products or services, and fair business practices. Seniors can be vulnerable simply due to their trusting nature and lack of familiarity of industry norms for pricing and delivery of services.
An example of this was a widow who was selling her home of 40 years when she was told by her agent that she needed to replace the roof in order to complete the sale. A referral to a local roofing company was made by the agent and the client hired them to install the roof. Upon completion, the roofing company convinced her to include new guttering along with leaf guards in order to “increase the value of the home.” She agreed to the addition costing her several thousand dollars - all unnecessary.
By Pen Waggener (Flickr: Economic Landscape) via Wikimedia Commons
Had the agent remained the hub in this situation, they could have informed the client that the additional expense was unnecessary. Additionally, had this agent acted as a true fiduciary for the client and communicated with the roofing company as to the exact nature of what was needed to complete the job, they may have been able to prevent the up-sell.
Sadly, these types of scenarios are not uncommon. Other examples include fees which are unwarranted and charged by lenders or contractors, home warranties with unnecessary add on’s, inflated moving expenses, and unnecessary staging or cosmetic repairs. When serving senior clients, real estate agents play a pivotal role in not only insuring a successful sale, but also in advocating for the clients best interests. Being the hub when it comes to all referrals is one way to insure the best possible outcome for older adult home seller and buyers and vetting each and every referral in advance is another.
Certified Senior Housing Professionals are trained to do just that. CSHPs not only surrounds themselves with highly skilled and senior friendly service providers, but they also maintain the central “hub” position when working with them. This point of difference sets the CSHPs apart from other agents by insuring that older adult clients receive the best possible real estate services, advocacy, and ultimately peace of mind.
|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.