Seniors: Consider Hiring A Specialist To Answer Your Real Estate Questions

Submitted by Phyllis DuPree, MAC member, Woodbridge Township

Picture This Scenario:

You’ve lived in your home for 30 years. Now, the kids have grown and moved away, the neighborhood is changing and you’d like to move to a smaller home or facility where you can enjoy an active retirement.   The problem is you’re not sure what your house is worth, you’re concerned about tax planning and you don’t know what your options are in terms of what or where to buy.

The Answer:

You might want to consider hiring a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES).

Seniors Real Estate Specialists® are REALTORS® qualified to address the needs of home buyers and sellers who are age 55 and over.   The SRES® Council through the National Association of Realtors or NAR awards the SRES® Designation to those members who have successfully completed its education program.

By earning the SRES® designation, a REALTOR® has demonstrated necessary knowledge and expertise to counsel clients age 55-plus through major financial and lifestyle transitions involved in relocating, refinancing, managing capital gains, or selling the family home. Explaining current trends and opportunities for seniors in the housing market is a value added service of the SRES.  This highly regarded, well-respected and trusted group of Realtors has received special training, gets regular updates, and is prepared to offer the options and information needed in making life changing decisions that can be overwhelming to seniors and their family members.

It’s not unusual for Seniors Real Estate Specialists to take a more hands-on approach with their older clients especially in instances where family members live very far away or are disinterested in the well-being of their elderly family members.  This can be very heartbreaking to both the client and Realtor.  In this instance, handling most of the arrangements on the selling side is not uncommon to the Seniors Real Estate Agent.  They do everything, from arranging for contractors and landscapers to sprucing up the place to bringing in a home stager and then an estate sale specialist.  On moving day, no problem, they are usually there to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

A SRES Realtor cannot give legal or tax advice. However, according to the council, designees are urged to maintain personal referral relationships with accountants, real estate attorneys, lawyers who specialize in “Elder Law,” senior moving companies, etc. so they can refer their clients to those professionals as needed.

The Seniors Advantage Real Estate Council (SAREC) state that it has more than 8,000 SRES designees in all 50 states and Canada and adds hundreds of new members every month.  As clients mature, they have different real estate goals and needs from those of younger consumers. Given the importance of the emerging senior market nationwide, the number of REALTORS® earning the SRES designation is likely to increase dramatically over the next few years.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 7,900 people will turn 60 every single day this year. In addition, real estate is the largest single asset class held by households that are headed by someone who is 65 or older, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Nearly half of senior homebuyers nationwide were at least somewhat familiar with the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation, according to the report. The SRES® designation is the only real estate designation offering the Client Assurance Program, enabling senior homebuyers and sellers to electronically verify the professional and state licensing status of its Seniors Real Estate Specialist® designees before engaging a REALTOR® when buying or selling a home.

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