As the Baby Boomer generation ages, more and more seniors are moving out of their family homes and into alternate living situations. Whether they are downsizing to a smaller independent home, living in a senior community, transferring to assisted living, or moving in with family members, it can be difficult and emotional for a retiree to leave their home. Helping baby boomers sell their homes can be challenging. But we are here to help you navigate this process.
Why Seniors are Selling
The Baby Boomer generation is getting older. Many now need long-term care or simply cannot live safely on their own. Others are deliberately downsizing, choosing to live in smaller spaces that require less maintenance, allowing them to “age in place” rather than move into assisted living.
Some seniors choose to move, recognizing their mobility restrictions. Others want to be closer to children and grandchildren. And still others want to spend more time traveling and enjoying retirement and less time mowing a yard, pulling weeds, or checking off honey-do lists.
Sometimes, selling a home is necessary. When it’s no longer feasible for an aging adult to live independently, offloading the house becomes a financial and logistical necessity.
The reasons for selling are as varied as the Boomers themselves. However, one thing is clear: as retirees age, more and more homes will be hitting the market. Helping Baby Boomers sell their homes is a challenge for family members and real estate agents alike.
Challenges for Boomers Selling Their Homes
In previous decades, it was easy for retirees to sell their homes. Young couples and families would purchase these older houses, looking for more space at an affordable price. Seniors could then scoop up one of the many condos, townhomes, or other low-maintenance housing options.
However, younger homebuyers aren’t looking for big houses with large yards and ongoing maintenance. Instead, millennials and Boomers are vying for the same thing: smaller homes that are maintenance-free. While there are many reasons for this trend (namely lower wages and higher rents, making it difficult for millennials to save up a down payment), it still leads to challenges for retirees looking to downsize.
Furthermore, many Baby Boomers have lived in the same home for decades. Younger buyers want updated décor, and suffice it to say Boomers and millennials don’t exactly agree on what’s “in style.” Therefore, older homes may require significant upgrades if they’re going to appeal to younger buyers.
Special Considerations and Challenges for Real Estate Agents
For real estate agents, working with seniors presents unique challenges. Helping Baby Boomers sell their homes isn’t always easy work, but it is a rewarding experience.
First, Baby Boomers have lived a lot of life – and they have a lot of stuff. Keep in mind that many of these possessions have sentimental value for your sellers. However, it’s crucial to have a conversation about clearing out the clutter. Eliminating or storing these items will help the house show better and prepare these sellers for moving into a smaller space with less storage.
Downsizing can feel like an overwhelming task. Therefore, talk about this issue early on in the selling process. You might suggest having family members help organize and sort through items or recommend hiring a professional organizer team. However it happens, removing the clutter is vital to a quick home sale.
Furthermore, many seniors might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of leaving their homes, particularly if that means moving into an assisted living community. These homes have seen years of family dinners, family functions, and they hold a lifetime of memories. Therefore, be mindful and understanding that it might take time for seniors to finally decide to sell. It’s not uncommon for seniors to get cold feet and want to back out of the deal. Be patient.
Marketing to Seniors: Helping Baby Boomers Sell Their Homes
Helping Baby Boomers sell their homes can be a rewarding experience. One of the best ways to market to seniors is to become a licensed Seniors Real Estate Specialist. This designation, offered through the National Association of Realtors, signals to older adults that you have the training and expertise to meet their specific needs.
Once you’ve established yourself as a go-to real estate agent for seniors, you can begin effectively marketing yourself in that niche. Unlike marketing to younger buyers, you’ll want to spend less time advertising online and more time connecting with senior communities, active adult centers, and catering to senior-specific living communities.
You can learn more about marketing to seniors in this article.