Real Estate Brokers Change Tune to Focus on Older Americans

Real estate agents have shifted their focus when dealing with older adults — becoming part therapist, part housekeeper and part adviser to help these clients with everything from reverse mortgages to selling their belongings, according to a Seattle Times article

“Moving out of a house is overwhelming in general, but it is perhaps even more unnerving later in life, when one is not only shedding the physical objects that are accumulated over the years but also unwinding a lifetime of memories,” Abby Ellin writes. 

So to help with the move, realtors are now specializing in helping older adults whose needs are somewhat different than their younger counterparts. 

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“We’re like a surrogate child,” says Susan Devaney, one of 15,000 brokers in North America who are considered senior real estate specialists, a certification that can be obtained online or in person.

The position has become necessary as family members on’t always live near one another and may be unable to assist with moving, Devaney said. In this case, the agent, or “senior move manager,” takes on many responsibilities traditionally handled by family members or children. 

“It’s hiring junk removal, finding innovative solutions to helping them figure out what’s valuable and what’s not, [and] helping them part with possessions without parting with the memory,” says Jennifer Pickett, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Senior Move Managers. There are about 850 senior move managers in the U.S., up from 22 a decade ago.

Managers typically charge $25 to $60 an hour, with the cost varying depending on the location. The number of senior move managers has spiked in the past decade, from 22 to 850 today. 

“There’s a tolerance that you must have when you’re dealing with someone who’s got their life in four walls,” said Louise Phillips Forbes, a real estate broker with Halstead Property in New York. “So, you hold their hand and you treat them as if they’re your own mother or father.”

Read the full article here

Written by Emily Study

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