Many real estate agents have dreams of that big deal, a huge property with thousands of square footage, half a dozen bedrooms and a different bathroom for every day of the week. However, if you are following the real estate trends, you may have recognized that the fastest growing population is senior citizens. This demographic is not interested in buying large homes. Instead, they are looking to downsize.
A couple or individual who is downsizing is not like every other real estate transaction, and it would be a mistake to treat them as such. Moving from a family home, perhaps one they have lived in for decades, is more than trading big for small. It often means letting go of precious possessions and dealing with the heavy emotions of stepping into a new and sometimes difficult phase of life.
Do you have what it takes?
Downsizing clients do not always fall into one category. You may handle moves where money is tight and others where money is no object. Some may be looking for luxury apartments with many amenities, and others may want to build a bungalow or buy a duplex. Nevertheless, the downsizing market is a niche area that requires certain skills and insights from a real estate agent. If you are interested in working with this growing population of clients, you may find yourself doing the following:
- Empathizing and gently moving the process forward when a client is struggling with the psychological aspects of downsizing
- Handling the sometimes overbearing input of family members who become involved in their loved one’s downsizing
- Weighing practical matters for an older client, such as stairs, access to health care, distance from family and whether the property will be appropriate for the client as years pass
- Guiding clients through the difficult process of decluttering, purging and packing
- Discussing the options available for financing a move and how to balance the sale of the old home with the purchase of the new
You may even consider extending your real estate credentials by becoming a Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist, which involves training to work with mature clients and their special concerns. Of course, not everyone who is downsizing is a senior citizen. People from all age groups are seeing the benefits in reducing their footprints and simplifying their lives with smaller homes. This opens up a wide range of potential clients. Setting your sights smaller may reap benefits in a big way.