I recently saw an article out of Ohio reporting the demographics of the state and commenting on the overwhelming number of seniors that will require products and services in the coming years. There is no doubt that the story is similar in every state in the US as well as Canada and abroad.
As a veteran REALTOR of 20+ years, I have always reviewed my database annually and it is clear that as the population at large ages, so does my database. The people that have bought and sold with our team over the years, family members, service providers, our geographic farm areas (neighborhoods) are all getting older. Huh, now that I think about it, so am I.
Having specialized in working with older adult clients for over 10 years, I am confident about the years ahead as they relate to our real estate team serving seniors. On the flip side though, I get really nervous as a seniors housing coach and trainer when I think about all the seniors and family members out there across the country that need REALTORS who can effectively guide them through the home sale, purchase, and downsizing process of a late in life move.
Are there enough?
Are they equipped?
What do we need to do to prepare professionals for the Senior Tsunami?
It isn’t that the real estate transaction itself is different...it isn’t. What is different is all the complexities that often arise during moves involving older clients and frail senior adults.
Many people are choosing to remain living at home well into their 80’s and older because they can. Which is great, by the way. Unfortunately, however, when the move does become necessary (and it often does), seniors are faced with health issues, physical challenges, and quite possibly psychological impairment requiring them to rely heavily on others to help facilitate the move. Family members are key in assisting their parents and older relatives with such moves, however, with more and more families spread all over the continent, it can be a logistical nightmare and huge emotional strain on everyone.
The message is clear as we see our database aging. Professionals in the seniors housing and real estate industries must equip themselves and be prepared to handle the complex issues dealing with senior moves. This will require ongoing education and training on multiple fronts.
- Local resources available to senior homeowners
- Legal and financial matters affecting seniors (this is ever-changing)
- How to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health and physical crises
- Effectively communicating with trusted advisors and adult children
- The diverse and ever growing senior housing options available
Fortunately, we are beginning to see more brokerages as well as independent agents take the necessary training to prepare themselves for serving their aging client bases. With organizations such as the Seniors Real Estate Institute, Certified Senior Advisor, Accredited Senior Agent Society, and National Association of REALTORS making these types of trainings available, senior housing professionals and real estate agents will have a number of opportunities to learn more about how to handle late in life moves going forward.
For nearly two decades Nikki Buckelew, Founder of the Seniors Real Estate Institute, has dedicated herself to bringing together her heart for seniors, her education in counseling psychology and gerontology, and her real estate sales expertise to train, educate, and empower senior adults, caregivers, and senior care professionals in effectively navigating the moving process. Using her own real estate business as a laboratory, Nikki created one of the country's first and most successful senior focused real estate models for mature moves. Having managed over 600 senior related real estate transactions and a team of senior move managers and sales professionals, Nikki now coaches and trains real estate agents, senior professionals, caregivers, and seniors themselves on what it takes to navigate a successful late-in-life move.
About the photo: Chuck was a client who we helped move from the beloved dream home he and his wife had built. His wife passed away and he could just not live happily in the home without her. Although the move was quite emotional, it didn't take Chuck long to regain his sense of passion for life. He passed away a couple of years ago and I remember him most for his ability to make me laugh.
|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.