You have heard the old phrase, “If you don’t have an assistant, you are one.” Well, the same holds true for a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) who doesn’t have a move manager.
The fact is that most older adults who are downsizing need a lot of support -- emotional and physical. Sometimes it may seem that they need one more than the other, but in reality the two are intricately connected.
Consider Glenda for a moment. Glenda had 42 years of “stuff” to go through. Some of it she considered important, but much of it was an accumulation of things that held no sentimental or monetary value. Nonetheless, it had to be dealt with in order to sell and ultimately make the move from her 2800 square foot, four bedroom home into an 800 square foot, one bedroom apartment.
Many REALTORS are faced with the same question asked time and time again by clients just like Glenda -- “How am I going to deal with sorting through and getting rid of all this stuff?”
This is where we at SREI say, “If you don’t have a move manager, you are one.” Too many agents find themselves cleaning out closets and digging old Christmas decorations out of the attic when assisting their senior clients. While this is admirable and can give agents that “feel good” sensation about being of assistance, when you have 10 to 15 listings at one time who are all downsizing, it just isn’t practical.
Believe me - I took many a senior client "to raise" (for those of you not from the south, that means I "adopted" them as my own) and it takes a toll on your ability to serve other clients while continuing to grow and operate your regular real estate practice. Below are two recommended paths for working with senior move managers in your seniors real estate specialty.
1. Align yourself with a highly capable and competent professional move manager.
We have found that most real estate agents who specialize in working with older adults go this route. Just as we teach in our Success in Seniors Real Estate courses, it is critical that you, as the fiduciary agent, remain the hub of the transaction including referrals to outside professionals. While many experienced senior move managers are highly capable and can manage the details of the downsizing process, it is imperative that the agent not lose sight of their role as the project supervisor and abdicate timeline and critical tasks to the move manager when making this referral.
2. Hire a move manager as a part of your seniors division.
If you read our series of blogs on how we built our specialty real estate team, you will remember that we chose to hire staff members to manage the downsizing process for our clients. This option is appealing because it allows you as the agent to have better oversight and establish standards around the move process. It also serves as a huge value proposition that truly differentiates you from other agents in your market and gives you the ability to customize the pricing for your senior clients.
Regardless of whether you choose to outsource or hire in-house, having a move manager that you can rely on to assist your clients is a must. Being overwhelmed is one of the top factors affecting the sales and transition process and can be avoided by having capable, competent, and caring move management services in place.
To the agent who says that they aren’t familiar with any senior move managers in their area, we recommend that you begin your search by looking at the site for the National Association of Senior Move Managers or the National Association of Professional Organizers. It isn’t a requirement that they be members of such organizations, however, when starting your search it is a great place to start. Other ways to locate senior move managers is to ask your connections at local senior living communities, aging services networking functions, and people in your personal platform who have recently downsized.
|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.