By Debbie Russo
Looking to expand your clientele and tap into an often ignored segment of the market? The answer is to think older, as in older homeowners, many of whom may be past customers of yours. Since statistics show that elders prefer aging in place in the homes they know and love, this could be an untapped gold mine that you are missing out on. In fact, 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes as they age, according to research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
As a real estate professional, your job is to match sellers to buyers who are motivated to move and purchase. So why should you care about this older segment of the population — including baby boomers, who number 78 million based on 2009 data from the U.S. Census Bureau — when the vast majority of them don’t want to move from their beloved residences?
The answer is that homes age just like people do, and most of the features necessary to ensure a safe and accessible home environment for seniors — including non-slip floors, bathroom grab bars and fewer stairs — don’t currently exist in most seniors’ homes, per the AARP.
Consider the excellent opportunity this presents: You can contact past clients now in their golden years and learn more about their changing needs. If appropriate, you can try to consult with them on the merits of moving into a more accommodating single-family home, condo or assisted living residence — one that will allow them to age in place in comfort, style and independence.
This demographic segment of the market has doubled in the past two years, so there’s never been a better time to prospect this niche customer base. But don’t throw all your darts blindfolded and only cold call seniors you’ve never met. Instead, why not look up those happy homeowners you sold to years ago who may have recently retired or become grandparents or great grandparents?
You can increase your bottom line, provided you approach seniors with dignity and respect, a listening ear, sincere concern for their well-being and plenty of viable choices that genuinely address their needs as they age.
Debbie Russo is the president of Senior Solutions For You, a Wheaton-based agency that caters to seniors in need of assistance and offers a variety of services, including moving assistance, garage and estate sales, financial and legal services, help with insurance claims, in-home health care and more. For more information, e-mail Debbie at [email protected] or visit SeniorSolutionsForYou.com