A good 55+ real estate agent understands the unique needs of senior clients.
Are you considering adding a real estate designation to your list of accomplishments? How about becoming a 55+ real estate agent?
There are about 71 million Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), about 19 million members of the Silent Generation (born between 1928-1945) and a portion of Gen X adults (born between 1965-1979). That means there are lots of older Americans who can use help searching for their new home — and being a 55+ agent can put you at an advantage over other agents with no such designation.
When you work with 55+ homebuyers, it’s important to understand your client’s needs at this stage in life and to understand the needs of buyers at the younger and older sides of this age segment. And, it’s important to understand how new-construction homes fit into the picture: According to the 2023 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, “Baby Boomers, both Younger Boomers and Older Boomers, made up the largest generation of home buyers at 39 percent.” The report indicated that Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are selling to move closer to friends and family or because their home is too large. In addition, “Baby Boomers purchased for an array of reasons, primarily the desire to be closer to friends and family due to retirement and the desire for a smaller home. Eighteen percent of Older Boomers purchased a multi-generational home. Older Boomers typically purchased the newest-built home—one that was built in 1996.”
What to Know About Working with 55+ Homebuyers
The 2023 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends report, “among all generations of home buyers, the first step taken in the home search process was to look online for properties. Younger Boomers contacted a real estate agent as a first step more often than other generations”. Buyers age 58-76 are more likely to use a laptop/desktop to within their home search than younger generations. Ann Willets, a Realtor with Keller Williams says she gained added insight into the special needs of older homebuyers by earning a Seniors Real Estate Specialist Designation from the National Association of Realtors.
Being a 55+ agent means knowing what types of housing these buyers want and needs. For example, knowing the difference between an age-restricted community and an age-targeted community is important for buyers who might want to live in a community that has both older and younger families. You should also know the differences between assisted living facilities and extended care facilities for buyers who might have a disabled spouse. Knowing which new-home communities and which builders in your area cater to this demographic will help you better serve your 55+ clients.
“There are many 55+ communities these days, so learn the differences, as each have varying features,” says Kim Dawson, a broker and immediate past-president of the North Carolina Realtors association. “The 55+ buyer wants a home they can age into: minimal stairs, a main-level master, possibly lawn care.”
Multigenerational Homes as a 55+ Housing Solution
A multigenerational home is built to house more than one generation comfortably. Often, the home has a private suite such as an in-law suite, casita or guest house that is connected to the home, but has a separate entrance for privacy. The private suite can include a dinette and small living room or can simply be a second main suite.
According to the NAR report, older adults make up the majority of homebuyers who purchase a multigenerational home: 14% percent of home buyers purchased a multi-generational home to take care of and spend time with aging parents because children over the age of 18 were moving back and for cost savings. Eighteen percent of Older Boomers purchased a multi-generational home. Gen Xers comprised the second largest share at 17 percent.
Ask clients about their family situation to see if a multigenerational home would suit them. Be sure you know which builders in your area offer these specific types of homes.
“Think The Golden Girls! Another option that is gaining traction is the idea of home-sharing, whether it means a senior sharing their current home with a younger person who can help with daily chores or purchasing a home with other seniors and sharing the costs of living — and of aging in place,” says Dorothy Mazeau, a sales representative for Royal LePage RCR Realty, Brokerage in Bolton, Ontario.
“If seniors choose this option while they are still in good health, there is the potential for strong friendships to develop among the group, which can lead naturally to helping each other deal with the exigencies that life throws their way,” says Mazeau.