Must You Be a Senior to Serve a Senior?

Posted by: Nikki Buckelew

My instincts and experience over the past decade tell me that the ones who will be caring for our aging seniors will NOT be the youthful workforce proudly graduating from  college.

While we have several successful CSHPs in our organization who are middle-aged, a large percentage of our graduates and students are self-proclaimed seniors or Baby Boomers themselves - m
any of them women, who report the impetus for specializing in seniors real estate and housing was their own personal experience with downsizing parents.

When Chris and I set out to build The Seniors Real Estate Institute and train real estate professionals around the globe, we thought that our target market would be the experienced middle-aged real estate professional looking for a way to bolster their sales while also being of service to an age group they both admired and respected. This couldn’t be more from the truth.

The actual students that SREI has attracted over the years are more times than not, Baby Boomers themselves who recognize the extreme need for caring professionals combined with the immensity of the seniors real estate market ahead.




Do you have to be a senior to serve a senior?

Having been in our late 20’s at the peak of our real estate sales career specializing in the senior market, I can’t say that there is a magic age for specializing in the 55+ niche. My personal belief is that the two requirements for being successful as a seniors real estate and housing professional are a mixture of both compassion and competence. Compassion for clients and families making tough decisions and competence in not only real estate, but issues affecting older adults and caregivers.

While people can be both caring and competent at any age, empathy — true compassion — often evolves as a result of having experienced something similar yourself.

What does this mean for the seniors real estate profession?

At first I was a little disappointed that my cohorts - middle-aged real estate professionals - were not more interested in serving seniors. Ok, frankly I was more than disappointed — I was a bit perturbed. Where were all the people my age who could be making a nice living by making a positive difference in the lives of seniors? The frustration passed.

Then I remembered that everything happens for a reason and I am thrilled!

Along with our aging population, more and more Boomers are working longer and enjoying their careers into their late 60s, 70s and even 80s. The average age of a REALTOR according to NAR is now 43 (men) and 57 (women) years old. At this point in their careers they don’t always need the money (some do and some don’t), but what they do need is purpose in their lives, flexibility, and social connection — and seniors real estate is a perfect way to get all three!



 




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. 


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