Lucy Brunner, a REALTOR® in Mason City, IA, is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®). She talked with SeniorHousingNet.com about what it’s like to bring specialized expertise to her senior clients.
Q: How are you better able to serve your clients with your SRES® training?
A: Relocating, refinancing or selling the family home is a life-changing decision. Earning my SRES®, and staying up-do-date on the latest specialized training, shows I have the necessary knowledge and expertise to counsel my senior clients through these major financial and lifestyle transitions.
I receive updates to my special training by email and newsletter, and I am prepared to walk them through all the information about their options.
Q: What keeps many seniors from putting their homes on the market when they might be better off in a different living situation?
A: There comes a time in the lives of many seniors when staying in their current home is no longer a safe or wise choice. But the decision to move is often delayed—or avoided altogether—because of the myriad emotions surrounding the transition.
When working with seniors, I must be able to recognize situations in which emotions have led to decision-making paralysis and be prepared to guide my clients and customers through a clear, rational assessment of their current living arrangement.
Q: How can a senior decide whether selling their house and moving is the right choice for them?
A: Once I find potential senior sellers, I offer to guide them through the decision-making process. I pose these questions to seniors to help them better assess their situation:
- Does your home provide the best environment for the physical needs you have?
- Have you isolated yourself from friends and family because your inability to maintain your home has left it in disrepair?
- Have you had trouble finding workers to take care of maintenance?
- Is your financial situation keeping you from enjoying the home you’ve loved for so many years?
- Do you feel you have adequate security and access to care where you are?
If seniors can answer “yes” to more than one of these questions, they’re candidates for a change. These are additional steps I recommend to help seniors overcome their fears:
- Visit senior communities and apartments in the area.
- Talked to trusted advisers.
- Make lists of the benefits of and objections to a change.
Q: What do you most enjoy about your specialized line of work?
A: I can help my client or customers make wise decisions about selling the family home, financing, buying rental property, or managing the capital gains and tax implications of owning real estate, among many other issues. With doing so, I am able to be part of their team to work on how their living situation fits into their overall plan. It’s very rewarding!
Q: Can you recount a particularly satisfying experience you had helping a senior client?
A: I was honored to work with a wonderful, mature woman who had financial trouble after losing her husband and could no longer keep her home. I was able to show her that her life was not over. After the sale of her family home, she entered assisted living, and she told me she finally had a new lease on life … another new chapter to be filled.
In conclusion, Brunner says that although any licensed REALTOR® can handle a transaction, seniors have particular considerations and can really benefit from working with someone with experience in the 55-plus marketplace: a Seniors Real Estate Specialist®.
This story is part of a content partnership with CENTURY 21® Real Estate.