Elaine Gustafson Scheelk has been there.
And she's still there now.
Not every real estate agent who chooses to grow their business and specialize in serving seniors claims personal experience in the trials of caring for an older parent. And, certainly it is not necessary. A heart to help is the most vital factor.
But that personal experience surely can be a big plus and it allows an agent to truly empathize and better serve a senior, boomer, or family caregiver.
As a result, a significant number of the agents who become Certified Senior Housing Professionals or who are in training or working with our courses and materials have some sort of background or experience in what an individual or family goes through when the time to downsize is imminent.
Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Elaine is making a difference in Kansas City as part of the Coldwell Banker Good Life Real Estate Group.
Like I said, Elaine Gustafson Scheelk has been there.
At the incredibly young age of 62, Elaine's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
"Moving my parents twice in the last nine years is what really inspired me to focus on serving seniors,” says Elaine. “We thought their first move would be to a new home where they would stay for a long time. But then came Mom's Alzheimer's diagnosis and a second move. Going through the process of downsizing and simplifying with my parents and siblings made me think 'Hey, I should help others in similar situations.”
Not only did Elaine roll through the challenge of achieving her Certified Senior Housing Professional designation, it quickly became apparent that she was a senior real estate rock star. So, when the time came for us to add trainers to our repertoire, she was a natural fit!
I don't select Trainers casually for the Seniors Real Estate Institute. It takes a quick mind, drive, determination, and, above all, a desire to serve.
Elaine once said, "For me, the heartbreak of watching my intelligent, articulate mom deteriorate in front of my eyes over the past eight years has inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others, and to hopefully help them make proactive choices rather than reactive choices as they turn pages into new chapters in their lives.” I knew when she said those words that she was destined to make a difference in a lot of lives!
Of course, that service comes in two forms; a compassionate, helping hand to seniors and caregiver families in Kansas City who desperately need an understanding and knowledgeable Realtor. Then, there's the service that comes from training other agents and senior housing professionals in how to better serve seniors and - simultaneously – expand their own real estate business.
"If I can assist other agents in specializing in the senior niche and they can learn from my successes and failures, then we can do a better job of helping an under-served population group,” declares Elaine. “It inspires me to think that I could give a senior client in another area a well trained, passionate agent to assist them with their move in the same way that I would."
Obviously, for Elaine, this time in her career is very personal. I appreciate anyone who has both a heart to serve and make a difference, coupled with the entrepreneurial drive to grow a thriving seniors real estate business in their city.
And when they're also a vibrant and dedicated Trainer of the Seniors Real Estate Institute? Oh yeah, I love that too!
"SREI offers a training and coaching program based on caring for senior clients. My experience has been that you can have all the 'book knowledge' in the world, but if you don't care about people, none of that matters,” Elaine reminds us. “Agents who are passionate about working with seniors receive hands on, practical and applicable methods to become a seniors real estate expert in their area through the CSHP instruction.”
Now that's a great “elevator pitch!”
Are you ready Kansas City? You ain't seen nothin' yet!
|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.