Marketing to Seniors in the Real Estate Market

by : Carol Freyer

If you are a real estate agent and have a senior citizen for a client, there are a few things to keep in mind when helping them buy a home. Seniors are our connection to the past, and they should be honored as such. Unfortunately, many predators target seniors with financial scams of various kinds, which can leave them broke and humiliated. Keep this in mind when working with a senior for the first time. Buying a home is a major investment, so be sensitive to the fact that they might be hesitant in the beginning to work with you. They are just trying to avoid being taken advantage of, and seeing their years of hard work go up in smoke.

Remember that seniors are just like you. They want to be treated with respect and consideration, not with condescension. Be patient and work hard; they will respect and trust you more if you do.

Look for homes that will accommodate the special needs that some seniors may have. Stairs can be trying on tired knees and hips, so be sure to find a property with as few stairs as possible (both inside and outside the home). You also want the home to be in close proximity to shops, medical services, and to family and friends. If your client is unable to walk long distances, be sure to find a property that has local transit nearby so that they can maintain their independence and mobility. You don't want to sell them a house in a neighborhood where they can't access the things they need on a daily basis.

You also want the area to be a safe one. Seniors are often the target of crime, so keep this in mind when selecting neighborhoods. A home in a crime-ridden area will not do your client any good, so do your research!

Another thing to remember is that many of today's seniors are more active than the seniors of yesteryear. People are living longer and leading healthier lives, so these home buyers likely want to be close to recreation centers and parks, so they can continue to enjoy an active lifestyle.

The Baby Boomer generation is heading into their senior years, but many still feel young and vibrant. When highlighting the accessibility features of a home, try to advertise them as being great for visiting friends and family, or as adding to the resale value of the house.

When marketing to seniors, make sure that you focus on their individual needs, both now and in the future. Many people today want to "age-in-place," which means that they want to be able to live out the rest of their lives comfortably and independently in their current homes, rather than have to renovate later in order to accommodate mobility-friendly features, or have to move to an entirely new house or nursing home. Be patient and kind, and always treat your clients with respect -not just the seniors, but all of them.