Did you know that as many as 1 in 14 home sales involve sellers over the age of 75? According to the National Association of Realtors, it’s true. Many of them have lived in their home for 40 years or more. Not only have they accumulated a life time of possessions, but a life time of memories. Selling their home is an emotionally charged time in their lives and it’s hard for many to let go.
While many seniors have computers and use email, most are not as technically savvy as people in younger age groups, and they move at a slower pace. They are from an era before the old answering machines, much less cell phones. They would just “call back later” if someone’s phone line was busy.
Many real estate professionals love a fast sale and a 30 day escrow, but senior home sellers usually do not. It may take few months to plan and execute a move. They are not just packing up their belongings and moving to the next home. Most likely, they will be liquidating many, if not most, of their possessions. It can be a daunting task. Hopefully, they have family members who will help them with this process. It involves sorting through everything they own and often ending in an estate sale where things they spent a lifetime collecting are sold. Then they have to let go emotionally.
They may be moving in with family, to an Independent Living facility, or even Assisted Care. Their future may not one they planned for or really want.
For a Realtor, the process is different from most others. When I work with my senior clients, I spend a lot of time in their home; they usually do not come to my office. We often do not communicate via email; we talk on the phone or face-to-face. I am prepared to spend extra time with them to discuss their concerns, answer their questions, and even talk about their fears. I let them know I understand how emotional this time is. I take documents to them for their review and signature. I try to anticipate potential challenges and mitigate them so there is no added stress. When appropriate, I communicate frequently with their family members to keep them informed about the process also.
My senior clients usually want to know something about the people who are buying their home. Knowing about them helps with the transition. Is it a family with young children or none? Are they a young family planning on starting a family? Is it a single person or another retiree? They like to know that new memories will be made in the home they loved so much.
Working with seniors may take a little longer, but I love it!